The No Diet Challenge: Step 5 Stop the Sugar Addiction

"Sugar In Glass" by audfriday13 via

If you don't think sugar is addicting, listen to a story from my house:

Just prior to Christmas, my youngest child began acting out of the ordinary. I considered it Christmas excitement. No big deal right? He'll straighten out and get back to normal on the 26th.

Unbeknownst to me, my son was confiscating candy canes off the Christmas Tree (lesson learned- don't decorate with candy canes). He was caught with one in his room. I don't tolerate theft or lying (of course he had a great story for why his breath smelled minty), so I banned him from candy for a month.The punishment extended to school candy rewards, no ice cream, no chocolate milk, no gum, no anything- which I could rightfully confirm had sugar in.

Fast forward a few weeks later.

A normally talkative kid, but one with a decent ability to sit still and focus on a variety of things, for a variety of reasons, at any given time, he was off.

Off-the-wall was more like it.

The holiday's were over and I was still trying to figure it out. As I went down the list of things history proved could make him like this, there were only three that would:

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Medication: steroids in his asthma inhalant
  3. Sugar

Something was up and I just couldn't put my finger on it.
He'd been grounded, so he was getting to bed early.
He had not been sick in such a long time, so wasn't currently taking any medication.

The last thing on the list was sugar...

Well, knowing what it did to him I'd always kept it to a minimum. Now he was grounded and couldn't have any at all, so what gives?

His attitude was horrible, his energy level was up and then down, and he was zooming  through everything. His homework and his behavior were stuck in a ditch somewhere.

One day after school mom hit pay-dirt.
In his backpack I found the stash. It was chock full of empty wrappers, and was clear he was consuming more sugar daily than he ever had in any given month!

My candy ban bombed… and he was addicted...

He was taking anything he could get his hands on that had sugar in it (or that he thought might).
I was thinking, 'this is like an addict trying to score drugs, he was going against everything he stood for just to get another high:
  • Candy from our reward bowl (which was high up in a cabinet)
  • A pack of gum
  • Mints
  • Caramels
  • Mom's breakfast bars that had a little icing on the top of them (he'd never even had one before)
  • He'd also made a connection at school: a little girl who felt bad for him because he was grounded and banned from having candy was bringing him candy daily
I can't even recall all the different kinds of wrappers I found in there.

I've only seen this type of behavior out of him once before…and it revolved around a hand held video game he was too young to have, but received as a gift. He became addicted to using it and his behavior tanked, his attitude was terrible, and he didn't focus on anything but lying and stealing to get that thing back.

As young as he was then, he would admit to you it was a problem and that he was better off without it. He actually one day made a wish that it would disappear (and it did because we accidentally lost it for a year). I think it was meant to be, because without it his behavior improved and disposition was pleasant.

Through that experiences, he began to realize the reason for technology limits...

And now, he has learned the same about sugar.

Here is Step 5 of the No Diet Challenge: Throw Out Your Junk Food.

The more you have of it, the more you'll want (and the more problems it leads to).

If you've been with us since Step 1, you might have already thought about doing this because you realized that when your food/mood log had sugar AND crankiness (plus exhaustion) in common, it had to do with the junk food - and you might have decided that you're better off without it.

If you're just joining us, click here to here to get on board; it's never too late, to do anything.

Will I throw out my own sugar canister? No way. 
I love it too much- it's cobalt blue glass and matches my blue willow motif in my kitchen. And, I won't throw out my sugar either.

Why? Because I don't add sugar (or salt) to everything and I admit that it's addicting and practice balance. Knowledge is power.

So, this week, if you can, cut back or ditch the truly unnecessary things that you know have sugar:
  • Desserts after dinner
  • Fancy cookies/cakes in your lunch box-don't pack 'em.
  • Soda, dump it out-Don't buy it.
  • Candy drawer- Empty it.
Figure out what you can cut out of that junk food cabinet or fridge.

But, don't get crazy. I wouldn't recommend ditching your ice-cream, or the sugar in your coffee, unless of course you sit down with Haggan Daas every night with tub and spoon, or your coffee is more sugar than java. (Only you know what your excess is… but when you admit it could be a problem, that's the key).

Remember the No Diet Challenge is all about balance and NOT about deprivation.

Take some time to find out why you should care about what you eat and what you feed your family.

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