Living a Sugar Free Life


Is sugar toxic? Well, there is a lot of debate out there. Earlier this year, Paul and I read this article in the NY times and decided that we needed to cut down our sugar consumption.

That effort wasn't very productive for us. We made a couple of small changes, mostly around buying processed foods (specifically granola bars). But, offer us a cookie and we were all yours.

Fast forward a few months.

I had been steadily gaining weight the last three years - averaging about 10lbs a year. At first it didn't feel like a big deal because I figured the weight was manageable. But, then I hit an all time high and the weight gain didn't feel manageable anymore. I felt imprisoned because I felt powerless. I tried counting calories and lost 3lbs and then gave up.

Well, it was June and I was unhappy with my weight, but more unhappy about the power I had given food. Enter Elyse!

Elyse and her husband showed up one evening to our community group. As soon as she mentioned that she did nutrition and personal training I wanted as far away from her as possible, and yet at the same time was absolutely intrigued.

In July, Paul and I decided we would go to Europe with no hindrances, but I knew when I came home, I needed to get serious about my weight.

Elyse took one look at my food journal and said adios to sugar. On Saturday July 23, no sugar seemed very doable. I mean, how much sugar could I possibly intake? By July 26, the jury was in. I felt HORRIBLE! It was like caffeine withdrawals to the 10th degree. Finally, on the following Sunday, I began feeling human again. How Paul lived through that week, still baffles me.

What does life without sugar look like? Well, first take a look in your cupboards - I bet you don't know just how much sugar you consume! One serving of milk typically has 12 grams of sugar. Natural Peanut Butter typically has 1-2 grams of sugar per serving. Spaghetti Sauce can start around 4 grams per serving and then climbs drastically per brand. Salad dressing? Often more sugar than anything else! Then there is the cabinet full of sugar I had (and you may too): white cane, light brown, dark brown, honey, powdered, agave etc. Basically there is a lot of sugar lurking in our home.

I think a sugar free life is pretty impossible. But I am living a drastically less-sugar life. I drink unsweetened soy milk, I limit most servings of foods to 2-3 grams of sugar, and typically no more than 2 servings of fruit a day.

And you know what? I've lost weight, 15lbs to be exact. But there is more to it. I have more energy. Paul is always commenting that I am less cranky in general. He would also love for me to point out that my headaches/migraines have all but disappeared. Generally, I have a better quality of life.

So is sugar toxic? I don't know! I'm not a doctor! But, reducing it drastically in my life has been significant.

And as a side note, if you're in the Seattle area and looking to jump start eating changes or weight loss - Elyse is your gal!