I recently decided to quit eating sugar. That's as much thought as I put into the decision. I didn't give an end date or a goal or parameters or even a "definition of sugar." But I did regularly post daily How Shitty I Feel updates on Facebook and my Facebook friends, being the sort of clever people that they are, wanted me to be more specific. They asked me what was my plan. (I didn't have a plan.) They asked me, "What's the point?" "When does it end?" And "Why are you doing this again?" So here, below, are my answers to those questions.

Let's start with...

One. WHY: I gave up sugar for an as yet undefined period of time:

  1. I don't know. I only know that I somehow slid down the slippery slope from, "I'm at a nice dinner and the chef sent out this dessert so let me have a bite," to, "What's the difference between an oatmeal cookie for breakfast and oatmeal?" Even in my sugar-induced stupor and with an addict's skill at rationalizing, I knew something wasn't right.
  2. I heard that sugar is bad for you, that it feeds viruses and can cause cancer and that it has aging affects and that it makes you tired. Whether or not it's true, it seems obvious enough to me that sugar isn't exactly what was intended to nourish the holy temple that is my body that I don't even want to waste my time reading a book about it.
  3. Call me a Puritan but, it must be a good thing to give up anything that is as hard to give up as sugar is
  4. Any substance that makes me feel (in addition to foggy headed and tired and achy and sick),  so agitated that I get angry at Rufus for having to smell yet one more effin' shrub cannot be a good thing.

AND TWO. DEFINE SUGAR, PLEASE:

  1. Giving up sugar, for me, means not eating things with sugar in them. And by sugar, what I mean is sugar and date sugar and palm sugar and maple syrup and honey and agave and any of the things that you (that means me) will try to convince yourself aren't really sugar because you are so addicted to sugar you are willing to forego all logic just to get your grubby little sugar addicted paws on the stuff.
  2. I will eat sugar as it occurs in nature: dates, raisins, those little heirloom seedless tangerine things that go by 47 different names but I can't tell the difference. And to anyone who says, "Well, it's the same thing; it's still sugar," A) you are wrong. No amount of dates has ever left me wanting to kick my dog. And B) Argofuckyourself.

THIRD AND LAST. THE GOAL? THE POINT OF IT ALL? FOR HOW LONG?

The day I decided to call it quits (for an undefined period of time and with no specific motive other than I didn't want to feel crappy all the time or even ever, and without actually defining sugar other than to say, If you think it's sugar, then it is), I had two bags of Trader Joe's cookies in my cupboard. I'd bought them the day before and they were gluten-free, not because I am gluten-free but because, for reasons having to do with rice flour, I thought they'd be crispier. I contemplated waiting until I'd eaten all the cookies to start not eating any more cookies, but I've lived long enough, I've woken up enough times with achey shoulders and a foggy head (Thanks, Sugar! You're welcome, Sweetheart!) to know that this was, for lack of a better word, a retarded idea. I didn't tell myself, Self, you can go back to chocolate chip cookies for breakfast if you only abstain long enough to suffer, to prove you can, say you did, and then do it again. I just gave it up. For now.

One thing I know for sure: I will eat sugar again. But in the future, I would like to keep it to, "It's my birthday, I can have a bite of this homemade cake if I want to!" And not, "Chocolate chip cookies are a completely sensible breakfast because the French eat chocolate croissants and Italians start their day with cookies which they refer to as 'biscuits.'"

So there, in a three-step nutshell, is my plan. My rules. My goal. My initiative.

Join me in the pursuit of nothingness if you want, but whatever you do, pass the dates.

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6 Comments
  1. dreamama
    March 5, 2014 -
    Reply

    Fascinating. I, too, started something this week. I'm calling it a cleanse, but I also didn't have much of a plan before launching. I just know I feel fat and my skin is worse than it was when I was a teenager. So far my so-called cleanse has involved not eating white flour and white sugar. I'm still allowing honey, maple syrup,vanilla yogurt, etc., only cutting out actual dessert foods, but this might evolve. I wanted to go easy at first so I could stick to it, so I'm eating lots more vegetables, lots less protein and no starch or sweets at all. Maybe I'll toughen the rules as I go, if I find I am able to stick to the easy version. It's not an easy thing to do, especially when you are people who love cookies the way you and I do. Best of luck with it!

  2. carolynncarreno
    March 5, 2014 -
    Reply

    … you mean who love cookies the way WE do! I was buying sleeves of Fig Newtons for my afternoon snacks. Today is Day 7 and I'm doing a lot better, though now that I think about them, Fig Newtons do sound awfully good! #notgoingtodoit Let me know how it goes! Are you getting headaches?

  3. March 6, 2014 -
    Reply

    This sounds interesting Carolynn...I hope you find all the hidden sugar in your cabinets!!! By the way, Welcome to 42nd Street, 1969! Jay

    • carolynncarreno
      March 8, 2014 -
      Reply

      Ha! Still 42nd Street 2014. With Christy living over there it's all fresh in my mind. Do you remember my first bike fall that led to stitches? You were there. I have a scar on my left thigh that won't let me ever forget you!

  4. March 7, 2014 -
    Reply

    so, so hard. I say I'm going to quit eating sugar all the time, and then I bite into my York peppermint patties after dinner despite that morning's promise. Your story is making me think seriously about it … we shall see!

    • carolynncarreno
      March 8, 2014 -
      Reply

      One thing I've learned from this is just how many people try to quit sugar, have quit sugar, or think they should. I'm glad I did. I went to a tennis tournament yesterday. There was an ice cream vendor with cones big enough for a family (or an American!) and I wasn't even tempted! Good luck if you do try!

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