One Year of Sugar-Free Life

One year ago I stopped eating sugar. And somehow (by the grace of God) I made it one whole year without eating it again.

I'd love to tell you that I decided "No sugar for me anymore!" and I made an ironclad commitment that began from that day forward. The reality is that this was probably my eleventy-sixth thousand attempt to stop eating sugar. In fact, let's be really honest, this attempt came on the back end of a deep dive into cake, the really good kind of cake, the kind that dreams are made of. And nightmares too.

I'd love to be flippant and cool and act like it was NBD (no big deal). But while I can sometimes pull off an NBD attitude, I have never gotten the hang of flippant or cool. This kind of thing is often so serious for me that I have trouble writing about it at all because it feels like THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER and THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE. It is so close and so personal for me that I have trouble taking a step back or articulating it without frontloading it with as much gravitas and emotion as I can wring out of my text.

Thus, you've been warned.

I have done the no-sugar life before, most notably for two years when I was in my early twenties. That was one of the best decisions of my life. Changed the whole trajectory and course of my life and led to a chance to live on the East coast for 18 months as a missionary for my church. I have also gone sugar-free at other times in my life for several months and for a year at a time. But I would get tired of it, or it was hard work, or I would only have a little slice or piece of something with sugar. No matter what, there was no middle ground for me. I couldn't have just a "little bit" because that soon led to a lot of it and then I was back in it so deep and so thick that it felt like I had never been out of it.

So, this time, I knew I needed support and help. There are several 12-step groups for food. I joined one of them and surrounded myself with other people who were living this no-sugar life. I have been deeply grateful all year for these friends and for their support.

How do I feel? My brain feels good. My body feels better. I am down about 70 pounds from my highest weight and almost 50 pounds this year. I have so much more clarity and focus. My energy has quadrupled, and my energy level is always the first sign for me if what I am eating is helping or hurting me. There are lots of good things about this year and this decision.

In my magical thinking, I would love for all of my problems to be gone. Poof! My life is without blemish. But this is real life and I am still in it so there are challenges and problems and growth. But now I have the presence and clarity to face my challenges more readily--and hopefully with more grace--because I have my wits about me. The stifling brain fog is gone. The crippling fatigue has exited. I feel more hope and more joy.

And let's not mince words here, this year has been about WORK. The nitty gritty of living daily without sugar includes: cooking mostly from scratch; having a food plan Every. Single. Day.; journaling; meetings, phone calls; dealing with resentment, anger, fear, and anxiety in some way other than a diving head first into a vat of chocolate.

I am certainly of the mind that I would like to be an expert full of wisdom and insight before I share this story. But here I am in the messy middle of my story. I can't foretell the future of my path and I can't predict what is next. But I can say that the lessons I have learned have been so costly that I hold the pearls they gave me very close to my heart. Living life without sugar? Definitely a pearl, my friends. Definitely a pearl.


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