A Sour Life Turned Sweet
My 14 years without sugar.
Published: June 5, 2012
Living beyond sugar shock.
Late last century—on April 15, 1998, to be specific—I accomplished a feat that once felt completely impossible to me: I quit sugar, sweeteners, and refined carbs. Now, nearly 15 years later, I happily, joyfully, emphatically declare that letting go of my sugar addiction was the most life-changing thing I’ve ever done.
I’m now so much better, sweeter, kinder, nobler, gentler, happier, more soulful, and even (so I’m told) funnier and sexier—all because I made that one important dietary change. And, of course, I’m slimmer, too, although I wasn’t really overweight. (More about that another time.)
Thankfully, in the decade-plus since I became liberated from sugar, it’s finally become fashionable to decry the overconsumption of America’s sweetheart (sugar and its sweet siblings like high fructose corn syrup).
Indeed, 60 Minutes, other news outlets, and even highly respected doctors like Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Christiane Northrup now tell us that sugar in excess can be downright toxic.
But back in 1998, when I decided to confront my demon, being anti-sugar was decidedly not in vogue.
To be truthful, it was never even my idea to bid farewell to sugar. My savvy physician—who was far ahead of his medical colleagues—insisted that I kick sweets and refined carbs to regain my health and resolve my out-of-control blood sugar fluctuations and hypoglycemic reactions. My M.D.—whom I’ll call Dr. Right—warned me: “Connie, quit sugar, or you’ll die young of cancer, heart disease or type 2 diabetes.” (In desperation, I’d gone to this doctor—one of many I’d seen over the years—for answers as to why I was riddled with ailments galore—44 in all.)
Let me set the scene. On any given day, perplexing brain fog, scary heart palpitations, nagging PMS, horrific headaches, unsettling anxiety, over-the-top cravings, and unpredictable mood swings might batter me into submission. In fact, they came to rule me. By the time I consulted Dr. Right, I’d hit rock bottom.
Quickly, Dr. Right connected the dots and found that my debilitating symptoms were caused by all the nutrient-deprived non-foods I was frequently shoving into my body.
Despite the multiple malaises triggered by my poor diet, my sugar habit felt like a vital, necessary part of my life. Sound familiar?
Like all addicts, the sugar-obsessed Connie of 1998 absolutely abhorred the idea of leaving behind her cherished “fixes”: things like red licorice sticks, chocolate molasses chips, and innocent-looking wheat crackers.
Indeed, back then, sweet “treats” were my salvation—or so it seemed. In fact, this “Ex-Sugar Shrew” (as I now playfully dub the former Connie) desperately needed—or so she thought—frequent sugary “treats” and processed-carb non-foods just to keep functioning and to continue to churn out articles. (My first profession was as a journalist—before I also became a health coach, life coach, author, and speaker.)
Suffice it to say that before quitting in 1998, my reliance on sugar and its sweet sisters was way over the top. Am I now talking about you, too?
In 1998, I was finally forced to admit that my options were severely limited: Face an increasingly miserable future of sickness, sadness, and an early death—or take drastic action and likely feel better and live a longer, happier life.
Reluctantly, I followed my doctor’s orders to quit sugar. Much to my surprise, my physician’s prediction came true. Because I kicked sweets and processed carbohydrates (what I now call “quickie carbs” or “pseudo foods”), I was reborn. All 44 symptoms vanished.
I’ll be upfront with you. Quitting sugar wasn’t easy. It took imagination, ingenuity and self-compassion. And I wasn’t instantly successful. Far from it. But each time I slipped, I righted myself by creating and fine-tuning a variety of simple, cool techniques that I now teach. Because kicking a sugar addiction can be so tough, I’ve now made it my mission to help you too. It would be my honor to be here for you even if you’re resistant or reluctant to quit your sugar or carb addiction as I once was.
You see, you may be fooling yourself as I once did. Indeed, I’m willing to bet that many of you reading this are over-attached—if not outright addicted—to sweets or refined carb non-foods, even so-called “healthy-for-you” honey, agave, and dried fruit.
No matter how hooked you are on sugar and sweet snacks, I’m convinced I can help you.
To begin our adventure together, let me issue a challenge to you. Don’t worry. You don’t even need to think about quitting sweets for now.
Just do what I call “Sugary Soul Searching.” Take a look at how often you indulge. At what times of day does sugar “call out” to you? When do you cave in to those cravings? And what kinds of “fixes” do you choose?
Then, share your insights with us on Facebook—either on my fan page (www.Facebook.com/SmartHabitsFans) or on the Heal Your Life fan page. That’s all you need to do for now. But trust me, that’s more than enough to begin your life-changing journey. And rest assured. A joyous, sweet, uplifting, enriching sugar-free life awaits you.
A charismatic former sugar addict, Connie Bennett, CHHC, CPC, ACC is a sought-after transformational speaker, certified health coach, certified life coach, journalist, host of the Gab with the Gurus Radio Show, and creator of the popular Sugar Freedom Now Course.