Are you a sugar addict? I am. In 2005 I vowed to quit and began blogging about life without sweets. This site contains a forum, my journal, product reviews, Sugar-Free Challenges, and the self-published Stop Being Sweet ebook.

Sugar Challenge: Holidays 2006

Last night I dreamed that I was watching a television commercial with chocolate bars dancing and spinning before my eyes. Next to the television (I was in a hotel at the beach) was a stack of Kit Kat bars and other assorted chocolate candy. I told myself I’d eat them, until they were gone, and my excuse was that it would give me something to write about on this site! I remember thinking, “It’s so hard to not eat sweets on holiday.”

Please join in the…

Holiday Sugar Challenge:

No sweets, sugary foods from today until December 25th. Eat whatever you want from December 25th through the 31st, but be ready for the next challenge beginning January 1st.

For those of you who will be celebrating Christmas Eve, this will be a tough one. See if you can make it through the evening saying no to sweet desserts. It should be a little easier knowing that you can eat whatever you want the next day. Perhaps even save something for the next day, if need be, and just say no!

Christmas Eve abstinence (and avoiding cookies at work related parties) should produce some interesting reactions from friends and coworkers.

Let us know how you do!

Sugar Challenge: Halloween 2006

Can you make if from Halloween (not Halloween day, but the day after starting at midnight Halloween eve) until Thanksgiving day? That means you can eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving! It’s 22 days.

If you arrive at this site in the middle of that time, start now and see how long you can last.

Candy Before

Candy After

How’s it going? It seems like a good deal of people are visiting the site, but it’s hard to tell how many of you have joined the Thanksgiving Challenge.

Some of you have emailed me about it (thanks) but it would be most interesting for people to hear about each other’s struggles.

If you’re just arriving and finding the site, especially if you’ve linked here from a sugar search, I urge you to join us and Stop Being Sweet until Thanksgiving day!

In fact, I’m going to leave this post up until then. That means it’s up to you, temporary unsweeties, to put something interesting up here. So, using the comment link below the pictures, tell us how you’re doing!

Summary of Super Sugar Binge ‘06

Midnight, October 3

I willingly ate my first sweet of the year: several hand-made chocolates imported from France. As soon as I bit into them my tooth ached and, after having a few, my teeth felt coated with sugar.

Daytime, Tuesday, October 3, Halloween

For breakfast I ate 4 Pop Tarts. After class I ate an entire box of Flipz brand Chocolate Covered Pretzels. The first four or five tasted fine but after about ten they made me feel sick. It was as if I’d eaten a brick and it was passing through my system. My stomach felt tense and twisty.

Later in the day Gwenn “forced” me to eat something “real” so I had a slice of wheat bread with melted cheese and some carrot salad. After that we hit the streets to go Trick-or-Treating and collect candy.

We sampled our sweets later that evening and ate things I hadn’t eaten in over a year or more. The main thing I noticed was tension in my muscles and a slight sense of hyperactivity. Gwenn kept telling me I should videotape myself so that I could watch my behavior later.

Wednesday, November 1st

The day after Halloween I devoured 4 Pop Tarts, a box of chocolate covered Digestive brand cookies, and about half of my Halloween candy. Overall I felt depressed, slow, and wanted to go to sleep. If my schedule were empty, I would’ve stayed in and eaten more cookies and candy. I procrastinated on every single activity that needed to get done.

After class I went back home to eat more. I felt antisocial and wanted to be left alone. In the early evening I attended a Tai Chi class and was in a daze. Physical exertion resulted in my fingers and hands shaking.

Thursday, November 2nd

Depressed. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to eat anything and was looking forward to the week being OVER! It was raining and I complained the whole way to work without eating breakfast before. Half way through class I again got the shakes.

After class I came home to eat 4 more Pop Tarts. It took everything to stop myself from lying down and going to sleep. “Leave me alone,” was my overall paradigm.

After eating the remainder of my Halloween candy, Gwenn came by and made me eat a tuna melt. I felt gross and bloated. Still, after eating the remainder of my Halloween candy, I still wanted chocolaty sweets.

That night Gwenn and I went out for First Thursday. For those of you outside the Portland area, First Thursday is a monthy happening where art galleries and store fronts in Portland’s downtown Pearl District open their doors and show new art. There are many openings and lots of fanfare. It’s a fun event and Gwenn and I always attend.

For the first time in a year I could sample the sweets that galleris put out during their opening. Funny thing was that I didn’t want to! At that point I was so full, sweets weren’t appealing to me. However, toward the end of the night I did eat some cookies and began talking to David K., a First Thursday acquaintance we see each month.

David K. says that he strives for sugar moderation by focusing on quality and not quantity. To satisfy his sweet tooth he only eats fine confections which keeps him from indulging in cheap manufactured products. It sounded like a great idea to me.

Albina Bank put out cookies and vegetables. Instinctively I went and filled a plate with sliced carrots, broccoli, and pepper slices—all dipped in humus. It was so delicious and my body screamed, “thank you!”

Still, I ate a few chocolate dipped cookies.

Friday, November 3rd

I woke up with my muscles tense, feeling heavy, and wanting to sleep more. During class I had trouble focusing and I wasn’t “into” exercising. My antisocial and depressed feelings were stronger and I really looked forward to going home to be alone and eat more sweets.

My friend Jason took me out for a birthday lunch. He seemed unnerved that I only ordered a chocolate mousse and tried to persuade me to eat some “real food.” I would’ve eaten two chocolate mousses (or would that be “two chocolate meese”?) but felt too embarrassed to ask for a second one. Jason wasn’t satisfied and wants to take me to lunch again, “for real”.

By night, eating sweets had lost its appeal. After baking chocolate chip cookies, Gwenn and I sat down to watch a movie. I carved a large bowl of Tillamook Mud Slide ice cream into a bowl (creamy chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate shavings) and was surprised at how salty the chocolate chunks tasted. Gwenn didn’t notice the saltiness.

As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t stomach the remainder of the cookies. Ice cream was a fitting end to my sugar binge since it was a bowl of Tillamook ice cream that started me on this whole journey.

Sunday, November 5th

Frances and I have similar birth dates so she, Marty, Ruth, Jason, Summer, Gwenn, and I had a nice dinner downtown. Of course the waiter brought us candle lit ice cream which I did not eat. There was a huge, rich looking chocolate cake on the menu which I really wanted and for the first time it hit me that I was about to go another year without eating sweets.

For a moment I really regretted having made that choice and wondered if I could try moderation. Maybe someday in the future…

Monday, November 6th

I woke up tired, rode my bike to class, and sweat like mad! My body seems to be ridding itself of the sugary foods from days before. It feels good to be “getting clean” and to know that I’m not going to binge like that next year.

Perhaps you should try it!

Instead of avoiding sugar for a month, try eating nothing but sugar for a week. I think it will change your sugary sweet ways.

It certainly helped to make me want to Stop Being Sweet and stay that way!

Connecting to a Sense of Community

Unwritten rules imply that candy is the blood of Halloween.

Unwritten rules imply that adults cannot return to the act of Trick-or-Treating, yet adults can return to the product of Trick-or-Treating.

Those of us who eat sweets to find happiness once found comfort where sweets were present. 

People return to where they find happiness.

For some people, when we’re alone and down, sweets act as a connection to good times gone past when the world was innocently wondrous and full of amazing possibility.

Somehow and somewhere in our life, sweets were dropped in the middle of our happy moments.

Getting an ice cream sundae as a reward was less about an ice cream cone and all about being positively accepted and spending time with our parents. Ice cream was how our parents showed love.

But we interpret the ice cream as love, mistaking sweets for happiness.

Imagine that.

Imagine if your spouse gave you a box of candy instead of saying they loved you.

Imagine if your boss praised you for a job well done with free cookies at the office.

Imagine if you couldn’t make it to work for a week but you sent individually wrapped company manufactured candy to show that you value your job and will certainly be back.

Look back at the positive times where you associated sweets with a person (or people) in a positive way and realize it was not the sweets you shared that made you feel happy but rather the people with whom and situation in which you shared the sweets that made the moment.

How can we connect to our community sans-sweets? That is the question.

It’s My Birthday

At midnight tonight I will again Stop Being Sweet. I was going to allow myself one ice cream cone in 2007 (when the new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream store opens in The Pearl District near my home) but after eating sweets for the past four days I don’t want B&J’s ice cream.

However, there is one sweet thing I will eat this year. My grandmother taught me how to make biscotti years ago. I asked her if they were healthy and she said, “Sure, you could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Now I don’t recall my grandmother to be facetious, but it’s possible I was too young to recognize sarcasm. In any case, I long ago decided to take her word for it and will give myself one caveat by modifying the sugar portion of the recipe (perhaps with small does of honey) and allow myself to eat the “treat” of biscotti only if I bake them by hand myself—the process takes all day.

Consider this my resolution manifesto for 2007:

1. Stop Being Sweet
To Stop Being Sweet means to cut out all refined and processed sugars. It also means to avoid food products with a long shelf-life and to stand up for myself.

2. A Disciplined Daily Practice.
Every single day I will do (at least some form of) Tai Chi, Qigong, and/or Yoga.

3. Help People to Stop Being Sweet
By creating this site, facilitating meetings, and creating a venue for people to find a supportive sugar-free community, I will help those who want to change their lives for the better.

4. Create not Destroy
I will not binge on sweets next year between Halloween and my Birthday. Instead of breaking myself down (someone said it’s like an alcoholic celebrating a year of sobriety by getting drunk) I will do something positive for myself and the community.

5. Allow this discipline to spill into all areas of my life.
I will be more productive and make a positive difference in the world by creating and telling stories.

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About David

After a weekend-long sugar binge in 2003, I realized my problem was very real. It took some time but I finally figured out a way to stay off sweet junk food for good! Read more.

Quit Sugar?

Don’t quit sugar. Stop Being Sweet instead! Questions? Please ask.