7 Lessons from Staying Sugar-Free for 16 Years

Join the Conversation. Have you thought about quitting sugar or processed carbohydrates? Name 3 reasons why.
Heart-shaped foodSixteen years ago today, I reluctantly gave up sugar and processed carbohydrates on doctor’s orders. Although ditching sweets was the last thing I wanted to do, I had no choice, because I felt utterly awful most of the time.
On any given day, I was pummeled by many of 44 inexplicable ailments, including throbbing headaches, ferocious PMS, scary heart palpitations, vicious cravings, embarrassing crying spells, and erratic mood swings.
At the time—remember this was 1998—people didn’t realize that sugar is toxic, that it can trigger heart disease and cancer; and that it can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite many challenges along the way, I finally succeeded in mostly removing sugar from my life.
My sucess in letting go of my sugar and carb addiction is due to:
The encouragement of my doctor, Dr. Keith DeOrio.
Lots of support from the amazing Roberta Ruggiero, founder and president of the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation and author of Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia;
Nancy Appleton’s fabulous book, Lick the Sugar Habit;
Ann Louise Gittleman’s empowering Get the Sugar Out;
The late William Dufty’s landmark book, Sugar Blues;
My determination and desperation, because I dreaded continuing to feel so bad;
My creating own tools and tactics, which I share in my book, Beyond Sugar Shock.
Quitting sugar and refined carbs was the most empowering, life-affirming, health-promoting thing I’ve ever done. Quitting the sweet stuff made me feel reborn. All 44 of my symptoms vanished — seemingly miraculously.
As I reflect on my 16 years of being sugar-free, I realize that I’ve learned many things. Here are 7 Lessons from Being Sugar-Free.
1) Being a Sugar and Carb Addict was a Big Blessing.
It’s taken me a while to reach this conclusion, but if I’d never hit rock bottom as a sugar addict, I never would have discovered the joy, peace and calm that I now derive from treating my body with the respect, love, and appreciation it deserves.
In short, because I once flopped so badly by mindlessly, quickly shoving processed carb crap into my face, I now relish putting nourishing foods into my treasured body.
2) To Strive for Perfection is Pointless.
It’s absurd to try to be totally sugar-free all the time, because sugar, high fructose corn syrup, agave, barley malt and a host of other sweeteners are hidden in thousands of processed foodstuffs, from crackers to cocktail sauce.
Even the finest of chefs tend to slip the sweet substance into their culinary creations. Rather, it’s best to aim for 80 or 90 percent sugar-free.
3) It’s a Must! Always Pack Healthy Snacks or Mini-Meals.
One of the biggest discoveries I’ve made over the years is that it’s absolutely imperative to plan ahead at all times.
Whenever I leave home, especially when I’ll be stuck on an airplane, in a meeting or out socially, I need to have a selection of healthy foods with me to ward off the blood-sugar blues, which can lead to overeating the wrong foods.
Some of my favorite snacks include cans of salmon, flax crackers, protein power, and nuts. (Stay tuned, because I’ll share more great sugar-free treats in the future.)
4) Remember: If I Don’t Eat Right, I’ll Suffer Big Time.
One of the reasons I’ve been able to stay sugar-free is that I remember how bad it can get. Cheating just isn’t worth it. It’s simply inevitable that I’ll feel horrible eating either sweets or processed carbohydrates (what I call fast carbs or quickie carbs).
For instance, eating lots of movie popcorn or corn nuts, will give me such annoying ailments as brain fog, lethargy, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, crying spells, and cravings for more of the same fast carbs.
There’s simply “no escaping the terrifying change that occurs against my will,” as I shared in Sugar Shock. “After eating quickie carbs, I become an untamable, irascible “Sugar Shrew,” a fuming, disagreeable “Sugar Monster”; a sobbing, pitiful “Sugar Crybaby”; and finally, a listless, lethargic “Sugar Zombie…
“…Alas, my dreadful, dramatic sugar-induced transformation is inevitable. As predictable as the moon rising. As sure as the swallows coming home to Capistrano at the same time every year. As expected as the crowds flocking to Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s for an annual blowout sale.”
And I’m not unique. Millions around the world suffer from mammoth physical and/or emotional turbulence after eating sweets or fast carbs.
5) When Stressed Out, Temptation Will Strike—A lot.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that if I’m under extreme stress, deadline pressure or emotional turmoil, my calm resolve will be shaken. Sure enough, at that point, fast carbs such as movie popcorn will entice me. More about that later.
6) Falling off the Wagon Is Okay; Perhaps Even Expected.
You just can’t apply the same standards towards food that you do for alcohol. Unlike booze—which you can totally skip and never drink another drop again—you always have to eat.
This means that whenever and wherever you go, sugary or quickie-carb nonfoods will abound. At times, they’ll strive to land in your stomach—or so it may feel.
What’s more, we’re human beings, which means we’re not perfect. Rest assured that there’s a tremendous freedom in accepting that despite our best efforts, at times, we just won’t eat right. That’s okay. It’s what you do afterwards that counts.
7) Real Food Tastes Sweeter & Tastier than Junk Food.
When you let go of sweets and fast carbs, you’ll discover your taste buds. Real food, you’ll find, is scrumptious and delectable as opposed to the bland, super-salty, excessively sweet or ultra-fatty taste you get when you turn to quickie-carb foods.
Plus, when you lovingly create your own dishes, you’ll be delightfully surprised at how you’ll savor the flavors.
Learn More About Me. I’m a former sugar-addicted journalist, who quit sugar on doctor’s orders in 1998. Now 16 years into sugar sobriety, I’ve created many cool tips and tools to help thousands worldwide release their over-attachment to sweets and quickie carbs. I’m also a speaker and best-selling author of Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock: The 6-Week Plan to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction & Get Slimmer, Sexier & Sweeter. Get Sugar Shock Blog updates in your mailbox.
Join the Conversation. Have you thought about quitting sugar or processed carbohydrates? Name 3 reasons why.
Special thanks to Getty Images for the photo above. Please note that I’m not sure if can use this so please forgive me and notify me if I can’t use it, if you have the rights.

Sugar Addicts: Get Secrets to Go Mostly Sugar-Free – 15 Years of Sweet Success

Sugar addicts and carb junkies, I bring you hope!
Indeed, this is a BIG week for me. It’s been 15 years since I bid bye-bye to my sugar addiction — mostly — yes, I wasn’t totally perfect.
So let me help you now.
If you’re tired of being a sugar or carb addict and are fed up with gaining weight, getting spaced out, or have other health issues, discover Secrets to Let Sugar Go by listening anytime to this special Gab with the Gurus 15-year-mostly-sugar-free-iversary Show with my sugar-free mentor Roberta Ruggiero.
Back in 1998, I was so blessed to find Roberta, who, after dealing with her own issues of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, went on to found The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, Inc. She also wrote The Do’s and Don’ts of Hypoglycemia: An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar, which has been acclaimed by the American Library Association as “one of best lay medical books public libraries.”
In our special Gab with the Gurus Show, you’ll first learn our startling stories. You’ll discover:
How when Roberta simply changed her diet by quitting sugar and those quickie carbs (processed carbohydrates that are metabolized quickly), she personally overcame 10 years of illness during which she saw dozens of doctors, endured countless medical tests, took thousands of pills and even underwent electric shock therapy!
How when I finally let go of my sugar addiction — very reluctantly, though — presto, ALL 44 of my ailments (including crippling headaches, difficulty concentrating, awful PMS, excessive fatigue, cold hands and feet, embarrassing mood swings, scary heart palpitations, etc.) vanished! Wow!
How most people are consuming too many sweets whether they know it or not, especially if they eat foods in boxes, cans or jars. That sugar or quickie-carb habit can be deadly, leading to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and an early death.
On our Gab with the Gurus Show, you’ll also find out Secrets to Go Mostly Sugar-Free. While I share some tactics in my book, Beyond Sugar Shock, Roberta and I go into more depth on this program, and we give you the personal touch, of course, because you get to listen to us chatting.
Among the Secrets to Go Mostly Sugar-Free, you’ll discover:
How it’s okay to be imperfect. In fact, not expecting that you’ll do everything “right,” frees you up to succeed marvelously.
How most people around the world — whether they know it or not — are eating far too much sugar (roughly 170 to more than 200 pounds per year) and/or quickie carbs (possibly as high as 200 pounds), thereby paving the way to diseases galore.
How you can take your slips and turn them into successes. You’ll realize that your so-called “failures” lead you to lasting success.
How you want to change your relationship with those persistent cravings. (We’ll talk about how to embrace them — yes! — and how they can become major allies.
How to take one of your absolute worst habits — something almost all of us do — and turn it into one of your biggest foolproof tools to bid your sugar addiction farewell.
How some people are wise to let a little sugar (some tastes here and there) into their lives. (You’ll discover that I’ve modified my stance over the years.)
How, for many people, a few tastes can turn into a binge and they’re better off to say sayonara to processed sweets.
How before I quit sugar, first I binged on candies for three weeks after my doctor’s orders to “Quit sugar or die young.”
How it’s imperative that you keep track. Roberta discusses how it’s very important to keep a symptom diary. (That way, you’ll know what happens when you eat sweets. You want to get a clear message about how too much sugar leads to symptoms.)
How you need to be prepared, wherever you go.
How you can have fun replacing those sugary treats that you used to adore.
How it’s vital to get support and learn about success stories.
And much more.
Listen to internet radio with Gab With the Gurus on Blog Talk Radio
Share your bigggest Ahahs! about this Gab with the Gurus Show.
A very special thanks to B. Eco Chic and founder Bethany Gonzalez Moreno for this sugar image with the poison symbol on it. This photo accurately demonstrates how sugar can kill you over time. I highly recommend that you find out about B. Eco Chic now and get on the mailing list for this blog.

End-of-Summer Fun – Watch Out for Nature-Loving, Disease-Carrying Ticks

As many of you restless, must-have-time-off vacationers venture out into nature, the wilderness or the beach for one last summer hurrah, I encourage you to be careful.
Don’t lie on the grass, run barefoot in fields or get too affectionate or up close and personal with any trees.
You may think me a nature spoil sport, but, as I discovered much to my shock two years ago, it’s imperative that you’re watchful for those nature-loving, disease-carrying ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, a confusing malady that may give you mysterious ailments such as mental confusion, fatigue and muscle pains.
Learn about this often-misunderstood disease in my recent AOL News op ed piece.
Unfortunately, many people are ignorant about these freckle-sized dangers that lurk in nature.
In fact, last night, on a conference call for a transformational women’s program that I’m taking, one of the women with whom I was partnered up with in a group literally laughed when recommended that she be careful of ticks when she goes off into the wilds in Holland.
Given that I’d been working on my next book, Beyond Sugar Shock, into the wee hours (shame on me!), I was too tired to plead with her to take me seriously, but lo and behold, I just discovered that Lyme disease is on the rise in Holland.
So I urge you, if you do go out into nature this Labor Day weekend, make sure to carefully inspect yourself for ticks after you return from grassy areas. You do not want to suffer the way millions have, as you can read about in my AOL News op ed piece.
On another matter entirely, if you yearn to let go of your sugar habit, tomorrow is the deadline for the Early Bird End-of-Summer Special for my upcoming Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction in 6 Weeks Program. This is a six-week mind/body/spirit, sugar-releasing program that will give you lectures, coaching, mini-audio messages all 42 days, guest interviews, several bonus audios, some 50 ways to combat sugar cravings, help to disover your Sugar Color Code, access to a private membership website, a shopping list, meal plans and more. (FYI, I’ve been developing this program for years.)
Why bother to kick sugar since it tastes so darn good? Well, as millions can testify, cutting out sweets and simple carbs is a very quick path to weight loss. The extra pounds just peel right off when you not consuming those quickie-carb “treats.” Plus, if you Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction, you may get more energy, better relationships, a better libido and many other benefits.

How to Begin to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction: Get Spooked!

Whenever I give talks or begin to work with new clients, one of the first questions they ask me is, “What’s the first thing I should do to kick my sugar addiction?”
One of the most powerful ways to jump on the no-sugar or less-sugar bandwagon is to get spooked and shocked.
That’s right!
Seriously, there’s nothing more powerful than being scared to the depths of your being to convince you to quit your health-harming ways lickety split.
Back in spring 1998, I hit upon this potent technique after my doctor ordered me to quit my cherished sweets and refined carbs to eliminate my 44 ailments, from scary heart palpitations to embarrassing mood swings to annoying brain fog.
“Connie, if you keep eating so many sweets and simple carbs, you’ll continue to feel awful much of the time and you’ll probably die way before your time,” my doctor bluntly told me.
Despite my physician’s dire warnings, I didn’t want to listen.
Let’s face it, as I’m sure most sugar addicts can appreciate, bidding farewell to my edible sweethearts was the last thing I wanted to do.
How could I ever live without my beloved candies, red licorice and chocolate chips even if they were toxic?
After my M.D.’s “prescription,” I still kept eating my favorite “treats.”
But I went head first into research mode. You see, since I’m a journalist, I always want to get to the bottom of the story.
So while still shoving sweets into my mouth, I read every book I could find on the subject.
Bookcover I pored over the classic Sugar Blues by William Dufty, Lick the Sugar Habit by Nancy Appleton and Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman. (If you buy the latter two, make sure to get the latest editions.)
After reading these books, something inside me happened. I became frightened me to the depths of my being. I began to realize what my doctor had been telling me.
That’s when the reality dawned on me. I began to realize that:
* By treating my body so abysmally (i.e., eating nutrient-poor sweets and fiber-stripped carbs), I’d been tricking myself and acting as if every day were Halloween, a sanctioned sugar-overloading day.
* It was high time to quit treating my body like a garbage can, because being overly attached on sugar was no way to live.
* If I kept up my unhealthy sugar-eating ways, I could get heart disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes.
Then, it hit me: My sugar-eating days needed to be over. My sugar habit was killing me.
After my “A-hah!” moment, I soon made the Sweet Switch. I began to really want to quit sugar.
In effect, by immersing myself in as much anti-sugar literature as possible, I began to see that my life with sweets was no life indeed.
So my advice to you struggling sugar addicts is this: Pick up some books, scour the Internet and get scared now!
If you’ll forgive the plug, I also invite you to read my book Sugar Shock! How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail your Life–And How You Can Get Back on Track.
You see, my goal with Sugar Shock! was to give you the kind of book I wish I’d had back in 1998, because not only do I see to scare you, but I also give you some tips and tactics to help you to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction. (By the way, I’m now writing Beyond Sugar Shock for Hay House. My intention with this book is to give you The 6-Week Plan to Break Free of Your Sugar or Carb Addiction & Get a Slimmer, Sexier, Happier, Sweeter Life.)
Please note that getting spooked is the first step. After you’re shocked into action, you’ll want to start using other tried-and-true tips and tactics, too.
Feel free to run this story, but please credit me appropriately. “How to Begin to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction: Get Spooked!” by Connie Bennett was first published on the Sugar Shock Blog. Join the End-of-Summer Tele-Party to Help you Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction in 6 Weeks. Just sign up here now

FREE Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction, End-of-Summer Tele-Party

The end of summer is almost here.
Are you tired of battling your sugar habit?
Are you fed up with your excess weight?
Have you had enough of those annyong numbers of the scale, mood swings, brain fog and low libido?
Then attend my Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction, End-of-Summer Tele-Party.
Just sign up below, and make sure to ask your questions, too, because I’m here to help you!
Please note that if you attend the call live, you have a chance to win complimentary access to my upcoming Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction in 6 Weeks Program and to get a Strategy Seesion with me.
“See you” soon for my Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction, End-of-Summer Tele-Party!

Britney Spears: Does She Have Low Blood Sugar & a Sugar Addiction?

Britney Spears may be a victim of the blood sugar blues, according to the National Enquirer, which attributes a source stating that she collapsed while rehearsing..
The 27-year-old singer suffers from low blood sugar, according to the Enquirer source, who revealed that Britney’s father has been trying to keep her condition a secret.
I’m baffled. Why would Britney’s father want to keep it hush-hush that the singer has low blood sugar?
Having low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is not a condition you want to hide, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
Millions of Americans have low blood sugar, including Nichole Richie, as I also mentioned back in 2007.
In fact, more people have low blood sugar than have diabetes, but many experts believe that low blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes.
The good news for people with low blood sugar is that you can have a perfectly normal life, but you will need to take good care of yourself.
If you have low blood sugar, you should quit sweets and refined carbs, eat frequent meals and get plenty of rest, among other things, as I explained in Sugar Shock! (I learned all of this myself in 1998, when I was deep in the throes of my sugar addiction and suffered from many confusing ailments, including feeling faint and low on energy.)
If Britney Spears does have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, this might explain her alleged interest in sweets, diet pills and alcohol.
Back in 2007, I posed the idea on this Sugar Shock Blog that Britney might be a sugar addict. I even posted a press release about it. I raised the issue again here.

The Great Worldwide Sugar-Out Challenge: Ann Louise Gittleman, Nancy Appleton, Dr. Larry McCleary, Dr. Scott Olson & Other Experts Offer Inspiration & Information to Sugar Addicts Everywhere

Whenever a new year arrives, millions of Americans and people around the world put losing weight, improving health and getting in better shape as top resolutions.
A group of us health experts challenge you to confront and defeat your sugar habit as a vital, potentially life-changing step to help you peel off pounds and perhaps resolve numerous health issues.
Please join about a dozen of us — authors of books about sugar, doctors and nutritionists — on Jan. 16 at 12 noon Eastern on my Gab With the Gurus Radio Show when we issue the Great Worldwide Sugar-Out Challenge.
On Jan. 16, a little over two weeks into the new year, we will invite you sugar addicts out there (you know who you are) and overweight or obese people, to either cut back or totally kick sugar and refined carbs to lose weight, as well as help your mind, moods and overall health.
We also want to draw attention to the fact that the average American consumes about 170 pounds of sugar per year or one cup a day. (By “sugar,” we mean all caloric sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup and dextrose and honey.) People in other countries take in too much sugar as well.
All of these excess sweeteners could lead to more than more than 100 health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Nancy Appleton disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), failing memory, anxiey, mental confusion, sexual dysfunction and infertility.In addition, too much sugar can cut your life short and age you more quickly.
Among the experts who will join us for the special, hour-long Gab With the Gurus Radio Show is Dr. Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author of Lick the Sugar Habit. Nancy — one of my inspirations — is an anti-sugar pioneer, who has been warning about the dangers of sugar since the 1970s. Perhaps you’ve seen her jaw-droppingly large list of 146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Health, an amazing, continually expanding checklist that’s been been widely circulated.
We’ll also be joined by “First Lady of Nutrition” Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., the diet/detox expert, visionary and author of the really helpful, practical book, Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet. (Ann Louise’s picture is at the top of this page.)