Q&A: On Giving Up Sugar

Happy Thursday! As I work to limit sugar and work on my healthy eating habits, I thought it would be great for someone who has eliminated sugar/desserts from her diet to share her journey with you! You may remember my mentioning Karen, my wonderful, fearless boss and friend, from our trip to Utah (we went zip lining together!). Karen is now 12 weeks strong on not eating sugar – it’s amazing and a huge inspiration! I hope you enjoy hearing about her journey! After you do, you should head on over to her blog where she explores topics on creativity, spirituality and life transitions.

Hi Everyone –

Karen Kohn here. Among many other things, I’m a mixed media artist and a self-diagnosed sugar addict in recovery (I just celebrated my 12 weeks anniversary….YAY!). I’m super excited that Kim has asked me to share my story. Perhaps some of you can relate to this particular addiction or another and sharing our stories is so important for our own recovery and perhaps to inspire the recovery in others. I don’t know what it is but it’s such a relief to know we are not alone in our struggles, therefore, I will try to be as open and honest with you as possible.

What led you to decide to give up sugar?

It seems like I’ve been trying to give up sugar for 17+ years. Mostly because that’s about the amount of time that I have seen my weight fluctuate. Gain 10 pounds, lose 10 pounds, gain 20 pounds, lose 20 pounds and I have always considered sugar the culprit. Over the last year or so, I started to understand that my issues with sugar go much deeper. Always planning the dessert menu, always volunteering to bake so I could eat it too, cookies calling to me in the middle of the night, couldn’t stop at just one, eating smaller amounts of healthy food to save calories for dessert, etc. I realized I needed to start looking at it like an addiction to understand how much control it had over me.

What have been the biggest challenges?

Once I finally decided to give dessert up once and for all, I surprisingly did not struggle with physical cravings for more than a week or so. The biggest challenge has been learning to have fun without sweets. I have always associated weekend fun, vacation fun, and holiday fun with all the special treats that go along with it. My husband and I would go to a bakery every Saturday as part of our regular routine. Now what will we do for fun on Saturdays? We went to an amusement park and I have never realized until I couldn’t eat it anymore how inundated we are with ice cream, snow cones, funnel cakes, etc. Anyhow, I needed to retrain myself that there are things beyond sweets. The holidays are my next been challenge but it’s been long enough now that I think I’ll be okay.

In what ways do you feel better? Have you noticed any physical or mental changes?

The major difference is that I don’t experience hunger pains anymore. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself to eat.

Has not eating sugar impacted your diet in other ways?

Yes. I’m way more interested in eating healthy food. I can’t believe how great good food can be when you’re not focused on what is for dessert. I also slow down during my meals because I know there’s nothing coming to ‘top off the meal.’

Do you find it’s hard to not eat sugar/dessert in social settings? Do you feel pressure from people about your decision?

It definitely was at first as I explained above. I don’t feel too much pressure except that people think it’s sometimes funny to try and tempt me. That’s okay though. I’m tough, I can handle it J. One interesting experience was how I felt I needed to make sure others were comfortable eating dessert around me. I found myself ‘giving permission’ to friends just in case it was awkward for them. Not sure if it was but that was one of my coping mechanisms in social settings.

What advice would you have for someone who would like to limit or cut out sugar in their life?

If you can find balance with sugar than that’s wonderful. My issue was not being able to find the balance so it was better to cut it off altogether. I personally think balancing everything to the best of our abilities is better but sometimes the psychological aspects don’t allow for that.

Want to know more about Karen?

Check out her blog where she explores topics on creativity, spirituality and life transitions.

As a special thank you to all you Racing Banana followers for inviting Karen into your space, she set-up a discount in her Etsy Shop just for you. Please enjoy 25% off your entire purchase until December 31, 2013 (just in time for the holidays) by entering the coupon code – RACINGBANANAS upon checkout.

Your Turn!

  • Do you battle with a food addiction? How have you tried to overcome it?


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  1. Great interview! I don’t like sweets all that much, so I don’t think I’d have TOO hard of a time cutting down on them significantly, but other things would definitely be hard to cut out. I do have a question, though. When you say “sugar” do you mean added sugar? Processed/refined sugar? It seems like it would be REALLY difficult to design a diet that has absolutely no sugar without cutting fruits, carbs, dairy..so many things! But I think what you’re doing is trying to cut down on sweets, things that contain lots of added sugar, etc…in which case I think that’s amazing and I can’t wait to read about your journey! We always tell people at work that if they only did one SINGLE thing to help get healthier/lose weight/keep a healthy weight, it would be to cut the sugar sweetened beverages. The same probably goes for other things that are chock full of sugar too!
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…Chock Full – Spaghetti SauceMy Profile

    1. Hi Amy – It’s a great question. My issue is with dessert so I’m not as concerned about sugar in other items (i.e. in Ketchup). If I were trying to give up sugar for the physical health of doing so, I would definitely need to take a look at that but for me it’s more psychological. I hope that makes sense. 🙂
      Karen Kohn recently posted…3:33My Profile

  2. I struggle with sugar addiction too! It made weight-loss a constant battle & I had horrible cravings all of the time. Since starting the Whole 30 Program and not having any added sugar – I feel wonderful!!! I actually am enjoying a much healthier relationship with food, & little to no cravings. Props to you Karen, for overcoming it & knowing what works for you! 🙂
    Karey @ Nutty About Health recently posted…Whole 30 UpdateMy Profile

  3. I think I am the same way in that I just need to cut it out completely. I was talking to my friend about our diets and I was getting frustrated because she didn’t understand. Her idea of losing weight is having one less cupcake and I have to be so strict on my diet to lose one pound. I prefer to not tempt myself.
    Kerry recently posted…My Five ThingsMy Profile

    1. Hi Kerry – I know what you mean. I have friends who can eat half of a mini Kit Kat bar and wrap the other side up for later. WHAT? Those that don’t deal with the psychological aspects will never quit understand. Thanks for your thoughts!
      Karen Kohn recently posted…3:33My Profile

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