Viewing Category: My Personal Journal

Sugar, Website, Halloween, Oh my!

Candy Corn

Happy Halloween 2014!

Stop Being Sweet is still alive. This year I took a break from blogging that lasted way longer than expected.

Last year ended with getting married and eating sugar during the holidays. Then in June, I went to the East coast with my wife to celebrate our marriage & my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I ate cake and some other junk food on that trip.

On the way home—thanks to lightening storms and Spirit Airlines—Gwenn and I got stuck in Chicago for three days. We ate Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes in Chicago. After we left, we promised each other that next time we’re in a new city we will continue to eat healthy foods. We figured that would force us to search out the hidden gems instead of falling into the sweetened tourist traps.

Over the summer we celebrated my father-in-law’s 90th birthday with a three day trip to Washington. As you might have guessed, I ate some some ice cream (and some Nutella) but didn’t get too crazy.

Despite breaking my annual pattern of only eating sweets four days out of every year, I avoided sugary foods in between the above mentioned transgressions.

I craved sugar shortly after eating the junk but the cravings weren’t as strong (or didn’t seem to be) as in the past. Also, having written about sugar for years means I am better equipped to deal with the cravings now more than ever.

Unstuck and On Track

My break from blogging ended up lasting a lot longer than I ever expected. What happened is that I ended up going down the rabbit hole that is redesigning my website. I’ve mentioned before that I have a tendency toward obsessive/compulsive behaviors and this year was pretty sticky.

For some reason the endless color choices, layout options, and interactive possibilities draw me in and take over my brain. Next thing I know, days, weeks, and months have passed and I’m still trying to find the perfect font.

Talking about this is not comfortable but it doesn’t help to pretend it’s not there. Being honest and up front about it seems to make a positive difference. It’s a bit like how when you write down or tell your story you can then see it as something that is outside of you—something you can manipulate rather than letting it manipulate you.

How to Break Through a Block

The way I broke out of my spiraling cycle was to follow the principles of minimalism. You can cut out sugar in the very same way. Here are some of my lessons:

  • Take things one day at a time. Many little positive actions consecutively add up to a successful and rewarding practice.
  • You don’t come out fully formed. Life is an imperfect process that is not all or nothing.
  • Get things rolling by starting with something small. Celebrate the little successes.
  • Focus on the most important thing until you make it a habit and that you don’t have to think about anymore.
  • If you get hung up on something, think of it like a bump in the wood. Sand it away and get rid of it.
  • Your goal is part of a process that will never be perfect. It can only be more or less efficient.
  • Open up and talk about it! Find someone or somewhere and discuss it. You can’t get help you if pretend you don’t need help.

For the next four days I’ll have some chocolate covered pretzels and peanuts, some ice cream, and probably whatever comes my way serendipitously. I don’t want to overdo it because I already feel gross just from eating a little candy today.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll be pouring my energy back into this site. Thanks for reading and do check back!

Stop Being Sweet at Spark Weekend

Spark Weekend Portland 2014 is two packed days of TED-style talks, experiential workshops, and the latest in lifestyle change technologies. The event is designed to measurably improve your health, productivity, and relationships in the shortest period of time possible.

I am a speaker and I will be talking about how to Stop Being Sweet. If you’d like to register, contact me for a discount code valid for 20% off.

More Information and Registration:

Many of the talks are recorded and posted to the web so hopefully those of you who are far from Portland, Oregon will get a chance to see and hear the presentations.

End of 2013: How I Got Married and Jumped Off the Sugar-Free Wagon


Gwenn and I got married! Though we had a simple civil ceremony, the past few months had us preoccupied with planning our wedding. Knowing that we’d be out of town to celebrate, I chose to indulge.

It started with a little bit of wedding cake. After that I decided to have dessert when we ate dinner out. That led to some ice cream. Then there were free chocolate chip and M&M cookies in the hotel lobby. Two days into my debauchery, I was craving my trigger foods and planning where to buy the next day’s sweets.

From December 23rd through December 31st I ate whatever I wanted, which included a few packages of chocolate covered pretzels. How quickly I digressed into old habits! My parents were in from out of town so we went out for some ice cream. I went back a few days later.

Eating an ice cream cookie.

On New Year’s Eve, I planned to purchase and eat chocolate covered pretzels but they were out of stock when I visited my local supermarket. That left me standing in the candy aisle staring at an array of other junk foods, many of which I hadn’t considered in years.

The new Wild Berry flavor of Pop Tarts contain eight pastries in a box instead of the six I remember from my youth. There were also $10 bags of assorted chocolates that contained 50 individually wrapped pieces. I walked to the cookie aisle and considered buying some Lorna Doone cookies, which used to be one of my favorite snacks back when I’d eat sugar daily.

While standing there trying to decide what to eat instead of chocolate covered pretzels, it happened that some people smiled as they passed me. It seemed as if they were laughing directly at my misfortune, smugly mocking me because they knew the “Stop Being Sweet guy” had fallen from grace. Maybe they were chuckling at my expression, or more than likely something else entirely. Clearly I was feeling out of place in the sweet section of the store.

The sugar-free-for-the-majority-of-the-year part of me won out. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything other than the chocolate covered pretzels that were out of stock, so I left the store empty handed and planned to find them someplace else. By eight o’clock that night I left Gwenn waiting in the car as I ran into various convenience stores to search for chocolate covered pretzels. That was after we had a delicious dinner with dessert at Blossoming Lotus restaurant here in Portland. At midnight I was so full it was a thrill to go back to a sugar-free lifestyle and stay there. Goodbye sugar. See you next Halloween!

Stop Being Sweet on KATU News

Thank you to Valerie Hurst from KATU for coming by sugar-free headquarters to talk with me about Stop Being Sweet! It was so fun to be able to show her where I write these blog posts, answer questions about sugar abstinence, and offer her and Mike the cameraman some low and no refined sugar cookies.

See the full broadcast here.

We have one more Stop Being Sweet meeting before the end of the year and then we’ll start right back up again in 2014. I look forward to seeing you!

Attend Our Last Meeting Before the Holidays

Our final meeting for 2013 is this coming Friday, December 20th from 6-7 pm.

Vibrant Studios
1532 SW Jefferson St‎.
Portland, OR 97201 (Map)

Meetings Start Right Back Up in 2014

Starting January 1, we’ll be meeting every Wednesday night from 7-8 pm.

Complete details are on the meeting page.

5 Things People Will Say To You When You Stop Being Sweet

It can be difficult to abstain from sugar but it does get easier with practice. Below are five things people will say to you at some point or another…

1. You’re No Fun

We tend to equate sugar with happiness. When you let people know you’ve opted to avoid the sweet stuff, they will assume that means you also gave up laughter, smiles, and petting puppies. Certainly that’s not true. What they’re really saying is, “Your sugar abstinence is making me feel self-conscious.”

2. Oh, You’re Trying to Lose Weight

The popular assumption is that people only change their diet “in order to” reach some end. Weight loss goals are common, so people understand why you might want to abstain from sweets to reach your ideal weight. However, if you simply want to feel better and live a healthier lifestyle, most people will think you’re being a little extreme for excluding refined sugars from your diet.

3. But You’re Not Fat

Our culture condemns large people and rewards folks who are thin or skinny, even if they’re unhealthy. That’s why many people can’t fathom how someone who is not trying to lose weight would care or dare to go off sweets.

4. Still Doing Your Little Sugar Thing?

To many people, your struggle with sweets appears to be a “little thing.” I try not to take it personally when someone says this to me. However, I can’t help but wonder how they’d feel if I asked them, “You still doing your little [hobby, pastime, health program] thing?”

5. I Wish I Could Do That

This is the best compliment you can receive. The person who says this understands that abstaining from sweets is a major undertaking and they either have thought about doing it or tried it themselves.

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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.