A few weeks ago, I got some unfortunate news from my doctor. I have pre-diabetes. This is not the first time I have had sugar problems, and in the past, knowing the problem, I’d cut sugar out of my diet and the issue would solve itself. So of course, I vowed this time to cut out all treats that were made with sugar, while still allowing myself a little dark chocolate with high cocoa content, because I don’t binge on it and it’s healthy.

Shortly after making that promise to myself, I went out to lunch with a friend and ate the two free warm chocolate chip cookies that came with our meal. I didn’t eat them so much as inhale them. My friend Donna had one cookie, ate it slowly, and took the other home. So sensible. So not me.

I’ve been trying to beat my sugar addiction forever. Well, since I stopped smoking in 1987 and food started tasting good. Before 1987 I could care less about candy, cake, bread, chips. Eating was an annoying necessity. I was all about the nicotine. Pack a day for 15 years, except for the two times I was pregnant and the 10-20 times I tried to quit. But finally to my utter amazement I was able to quit nicotine. Harder to get off than heroin! So how come I can’t quit sugar?

I really don’t know the answer. I just know that I can’t quit trying to quit. I’m hoping Judy Smith, who has a chapter on indulging in her book “Good Self, Bad Self” will give me clues. She does have a method, it’s a little complicated, you really have to read the book, but I’m trying to put it into action. Today I figured out that I can actually work The Plan (a healthy lifestyle eating habit my friend Lisa came up with to successfully lose 30 lbs.) and exercise.  Instead of saying “well I’m shopping later so that’s exercise” I got on my treadmill and then hit the yoga mat.

And I’m still going shopping:) Will I be able to give up sugar with the same ease that I have incorporated exercise into my life? It seems so stupid to keep eating cakes and candies and cookies when I am headed on a fast train to giving myself shots of insulin. But I’m not stupid, just a sugar junkie.

I was able to add exercise because it makes me feel so better afterward. Yoga is a must for my back. I hurt if I don’t do some yoga every day. And walking helps cheer me up. I’ve been depressed, I admit it. I hate admitting that. But what I noticed when I started walking was that I am not depressed after 30 minutes on a treadmill. A little exercise gets me through a 24 hour day in a much better mood. Amazing!

Giving up sugar doesn’t have that same gratification. Sugar tastes good. It’s an instant hit of wonderful. I don’t feel a sugar crash like some people do. There is nothing tangible to keep me from indulging. Well, except my health, and I value it as much as my mood. Except when I am confronted with a delicious something full of sugar and slip into sweet denial.

I am motivated to quit sugar. Now I just need to get some practice with “no thanks” under my belt. I need a few successes. The next three days’ social events will all be sugar-rich opportunities. If I say no three times, I’ll have those successes to lean on during the coming holiday sugar rush. Wish me luck. And determination.


  1. Supposedly if you can kick the habit for a while you start to appreciate the nature sugars in foods – particularly fruit – and the cravings for the refined stuff diminishes. But it is certainly a challenge. I must admit I usually end up with two teaspoons of sugar in my coffee alone. Best of luck!


  2. Thanks John. I made a fruit compote for a breakfast with friends this morning. I used wine, fruit, and agave nectar. It tasted pretty good and only natural sugars!


  3. I ate a lot less last week when I wasn’t feeling well. I am feeling better and wondered what I would be hungry for: Twizzlers and potato chips. I finally figured out that if I don’t start eating them, the craving passes. It sounds like you are on the right track with the changes you are making. Good luck!


    1. Sharon, it is so human, I think, to reach for comfort when we are not feeling well. And thanks for the Christmas movie list. With my right eye out of commission, I couldn’t read, so watched a lot of movies!


  4. You can SO do this. Sugar acts on exactly the same neurotransmitters in exactly the same way that cocaine or alcohol does — and it’s just as addictive. Some of your depression may stem from the decimation of dopamine (the self-control and reward messenger) and serotonin (the messenger of calm and well-being) in your brain.

    If I may, I suggest reading Dr. Pam Peeke’s THE HUNGER FIX, which addresses all the new science of food addiction and the kinds of foods, exercise (you got that one!) and emotional work that will help you feel the pleasure you used to take in those warm chocolate chip cookies.

    Keep at it.


      1. Wow Marie, that was the email that I need to read. I have been obsessing about this. I need to type out that advice and hang it above my desk. I have also read books like the toast example (LOL) and you’re right–they are a big fat bore. Thank you!


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