After stunning myself with the amount and variety of natural and processed sugar in my pantry, and after a few particularly stressful weeks at work where I ate, among other things, the better part of a full batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, I came across this while listing to 60 minutes (recorded).
Well -- that is a wake up call.
I know that sugar is toxic to my body. I know how much better I feel when I don't eat it. I know these things and still I get trapped into stupid thinking along the lines of "that cookie after lunch will help pick me up for the afternoon," or, into some out of control binge eating related to stress (consume all the Halloween candy in less than 2 days anyone?). So, I stopped. I am an abstainer, not a moderator; so stopping pretty much cold turkey is what works for me.*
Stopping sugar is like (I imagine) any detox; you do not feel better right away. Right away you feel worse. But after a little while (for me about 12 days) you feel amazingly better. I sleep better. My energy and concentration are better. I know when the "no sugar thing" has really taken hold because I actually want to exercise.
In the first week especially it helped me to think of sugar as an addictive substance, as in: "Well, if I thought I had an alcohol problem and I was feeling stressed at work I would not go out and get a drink, would I?" Or, "If they happened to sell small bottles of vodka at Target (which I'm guessing they will soon here since Washington State just deregulated liquor sales) I wouldn't pick one up to drink on the way home, would I?" No, of course not. Sugar is the same, I really think. I know small amounts are fine, and humans are meant to eat fruit and all that, but I believe that, for my body, sugar is just not right.
So that's my story. Of course I'll eat some sugar again someday -- but I plan for it to be much, much less. For now, I have a few rules (no sugar at work ever, a small dessert on the weekend is okay) and I've scheduled a set of check-ins with myself, as in, on April 28 I'll reassess and see how I feel. Maybe I'll have waffles with syrup. But probably not. After that I'll pick some date in May to bring my attention to how I'm feeling about sugar. At the end of June I imagine I will definitely eat a piece of Liam's birthday cake. That feels like enough of a plan for now.
*Luckily for me, this is pretty straightforward. I don't drink soda, never have. I don't sweeten my coffee or tea, never have. I don't eat ketchup or mayonnaise or things like that, never liked them. I don't drink milk. For me, giving up sugar basically means no cookies/sweet rolls/muffins from the bakery, and no candy. That's really all there is to it.