The Sugar Rollercoaster

28 Mar

Hello, old friend.

Time and time again I’ve blogged about my relationship with sugar, which is a constant up and down journey. It doesn’t necessarily directly correlate with stress; it is just bloody wonderful and I get real pleasure from the feel and taste of sugary goods.

Two years on from quitting booze my weight is good: no bloat, nice slim face and limbs, nice body. I look in the mirror and wonder whether I’d be fitter and stronger without the skim layer of chocolate fat. Or whether that’s bad body talk.

Either way, I’m starting to wonder how I would feel without the sugar hit coursing through my body daily. Would my energy be more stable? Would I feel more in control of my life? Would I feel sad and deprived? 

I’ve tried to quit sugar a few times in my sobriety, but perhaps when I wasn’t mature enough in handing life without the booze-haze. I’m feeling fairly strong in my sobriety at the moment, so maybe this is a good time to try.

I’ll set a defined period (21 days, 1 month? What sounds most sensible?) and try and go for it. I’m finding habit forming much easier thanks to Prim’s recommendations for apps (my personal fave is called “Streaks”- I can’t link to it here, but it’s on the App Store.) I’m hoping the “one day at a time approach” will work.

What are people’s experiences of ditching sugar? How hard is it? What tools did you use?  What benefits did you feel?

Happy Monday, FFF x

17 Responses to “The Sugar Rollercoaster”

  1. K March 28, 2016 at 9:31 am #

    I’ve been eating lots of sugar since I got sober just over 6 months ago. Without sugar I have no vice at all, and I know that in my nature I need one, but I feel bad for the effects that lots of refined sugar has on the body. Not sure what to do here but I might start at just allowing a little in the evenings, but not during the day where it can mess with my energy and get in the way of what I’m doing. Good luck to you!

    • FitFatFood March 28, 2016 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks K. It sounds like it’s very common for those in early sobriety to eat more sugar- I certainly did. I ate it for as long as I needed to to stay on the wagon, but now it’s not necessary in the same way.

      And I’m like you- it’s my only vice! But all good things must come to an end…

  2. ainsobriety March 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    I know I have probably commented on this before…this is just my experience…

    I was religiously anti sugar for years. It was the devil and I read every label to avoid it. I drank vodka water to comply. I did not eat fruit for years. Years.

    It became obsessive compulsive . I would be physically ill and starve if I didn’t know exactly what I was eating. Sugar was the devil and the root of my problems. (I couldn’t quite comprehend it was my behaviour, or the vodka).

    I eat sugar now. I feel good. I’m fit, but no longer at 15% body fat, which is where I was. I also eat a lot of vegetables, protein, etc.

    What do I think? I think we are all different. I think focusing on eating healthier foods first and then having some sugar if you still want it is an emotionally supportive way to eat. I think all or nothing behaviour is risky, especially for a person in recovery.

    I still flirt with diets. I am going to do a 10 day Ayurvedic detox to try to reduce some joint pain. I have celiac disease, so I am gluten free.

    Whatever you choose to do, pay attention to your emotional health. It’s important.


    • FitFatFood March 30, 2016 at 7:48 am #

      We have touched on this before and I really value your advice because I know we’ve had similar food and weight fixations in the past.

      Here’s the thing: for the past 2 years I’ve known there is a problem with sugar and have let myself off the hook so many times. As I’ve just commented to Prim, I think drastic action will help me work out what’s making me want the sweet stuff. Habit? Emotional emptiness? Not eating enough carbs?

      My only rule is no refined sugar in the obvious sense- chocolate, cake, pastries. I’m having fruit and smoothies and good stuff, otherwise I know I’d fall off spectacularly. No honey though, honey makes me crave chocolate…

      Will post about how I progress

      • ainsobriety March 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

        That sounds good. Preparation is the key. Know what you are having for dinner before the chocolate eggs are consumed!

  3. Phoenix @ March 29, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    When I quit drinking two years ago I unknowingly picked up sugar. I’d never really been one for sweet treats and always opted for savoury snacks instead (chips, cucumber with salt and pepper, etc). I began drinking coffee when hanging out with drinking friends and of course, a spoonful of sugar went into those cups of coffee. Flash forward two months and this really great sushi place not far from my home began selling affordable and yummy take-out sushi. Out went my preference for sashimi and in came rolls and rolls of sushi. Little did I know those the sushi sticky rice was made with sugar and vinegar. Within six months, I was buying carrot cake slices on my way home, the “healthy” alternative to chocolate cake – yeah right, they were full of carrot bits and sugar with a sweet frosting to die for. My fridge was stocked with snickers bars instead of my usual extra dark plain chocolate bars. And worst of all, I started adding honey to my green tea on mornings, kickstarting the sugar craving for the day. The week I ate 8 mini éclairs before bed every night was the week I said enough was enough.
    I quit cold turkey like I did with alcohol and cigarettes. The moderation thing never worked for me.
    So I stopped. No more desserts. No more sugar in my coffee (helped me cut back on coffee too).
    I still eat fruits and get my healthy sugars there whenever I get a craving. And I’ve cut out honey too.
    There are several foods that help too, like tea made from fresh slices of ginger. I can post some more foods here as I have a list somewhere. When I find it I’ll post. Wishing you well.

    • FitFatFood March 30, 2016 at 7:36 am #

      I love this! Thank you.

      Same for me in terms of cold turkey- I had a slow creep to eating shit loads of sugar last week in a way that was feeding something else.

      I’ve tried to moderate but like alcohol, I think a cold turkey/taking the decision away from me approach is the way to do it. I’d love to hear more receipts and ideas x

      • cozzarella March 31, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

        I really get this!
        I gave up sugar after about 4 years sobriety (first time round, long story) as I was experiencing horrible mood swings. I found and followed the program (eating enough protein, complex carbs at regular times) moving sugar to meals and then finally cutting it out. I just went cold turkey. I think for me that when my blood sugar is stable with eating lots of protein and some carbs (very low carbs=crazy lady for me!), I don’t physically crave sugar. If I’m uncomfortable or stressed, then I do!

        At the moment I’m in early days (Day 65) again but I am still keeping chocolate to meal times and that has been really helpful as I still get a hit without a sugar crash. My favourite is a Twirl bar too Primrose! I’m not sure if I’ll go sugar free again – too soon to say but I did feel more energetic, balanced and stable without it. I was also quite a bit thinner…!

  4. Primrose March 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    FFF vs Sugar, round gazillion, ding ding ding 😉

    this post made me think of what Gretchen Rubin says about starting habits – one way is to start small (like me with my fifteen minutes of paperwork a day) but another different way is what you’re suggesting here, which Gretchen calls the ‘Blast Start’. she says that the intensity of it can energise a habit and give it momentum, and adds that it’s also very important to plan specifically how to shift from the intensity of the Blast Start into the habit that will continue indefinitely. have you had any thoughts on that?

    I’ve never tried completely giving up sugar, as I don’t have as big an issue with it as you’re describing – there are certainly other things for me – eg online time – where I could see that this sort of approach could work well for me. I don’t think that there’s a right way or a wrong way to start a new habit – the right way is what works for YOU, yes?

    btw when I do have a chocolate treat it is very often a Twirl, in your honour… lots of love! PS hurrah for apps 🙂 xxx

    • FitFatFood March 30, 2016 at 7:45 am #

      This made me snort!!!! It’s Fight Night babe.

      And those endless bouts is precisely what is making me need to stop.

      I love the Blast Start idea. I have a niggling feeling that for me, the blast is what I need to reset and I will learn to moderate from there. This sounds bold, but I’m getting to know my patterns very well and extreme action often is the only way to get my balance back. I hope I’m not kidding myself.

      Where does Rubin write about this? I’d love to read more

      • Primrose March 30, 2016 at 8:10 am #

        Fight Night 🙂

        Rubin writes about this in her book Better Than Before which I heartily recommend – great for a habits junkie like me! the section in which she talks about Blast Start is reproduced in its entirety here if you’d like to see the extract:

        big (entirely sugar-free) hugs to you! xxx

      • FitFatFood March 30, 2016 at 8:14 am #

        This is great- thank yoh

  5. teresa June 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm #


  6. Jenni July 18, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m a little late to the party, but had to chime in on the sobriety and sugar issue. I’m also one of those folks that can’t moderate sugar. I use it just like I used to use alcohol. If there was ever any doubt before whether I am an addict, there’s certainly no denying it now that I’m in full blown sugar abuse. And I don’t take the sugar addict label lightly. My quality of life is taking a hit because of it. It’s a serious problem for me. I’ve been inspired here and feeling less alone after reading the comments. Think ill give the streaks app another whirl for sugar. It worked once for me with booze, hopefully there’s a little magic left in it for this sugar monkey on my back. Wondering FFF, how you’re doing with sugar lately? Has anything been working for you since you posted this entry?

    • FitFatFood November 7, 2016 at 1:54 am #

      Hey Jenni!

      I’m late responding to this comment

    • FitFatFood November 7, 2016 at 1:56 am #

      Whoops- sent too early.

      I tried a new thing where I just have lots of sugar available all the time (in the house in particular) and can eat it whenever I want, and of course crave it less and eat less.

      It’s simple but it’s worked for me…

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