Challenge #8: Removing Sugar from your Diet

Your body will be around a lot longer than your expensive car. Take care of it.

Nisandeh Neta

 

Introduction – Warning!

 

This challenge is the worst, or hardest, challenge in the book. At least, it was for me. But I did it, and those were the results:

  • I lost 14!! kilos
  • I gained tons of energy – no more sugar dips, and I am so much sharper
  • My whole lifestyle changed
  • I still eat sugar every now and then, but I’m not addicted anymore
  • I have a six pack (and I’m almost 40 and have had 2 kids:))

so, it was totally worth it.

The only reason why Nisandeh convinced me eventually to try it, was that he promised me his recipe for healthy chocolate. Because I refused to let go of my chocolate.

It was tough, in the beginning. For over 2 weeks I CRAVED for sugar. I thought I wasn’t eating that much sugar, but once I started to pay attention, I found sugar in pretty much everything.

 

Then, after 2,5 weeks, I suddenly didn’t want it anymore… I planned my birthday celebrations for directly after the 3 weeks, and I was dreaming of cake for 2 weeks. But a few days before the actual day I didn’t want to have cake anymore. Very interesting. And it’s so good to be free of this addiction… because now I have a choice, whether I eat sugar or not. And I do every once in a while, and then I enjoy it big time.

So, I want to make you a promise. If there is anything that withholds you from doing this challenge, something that you think you’d miss too much, then please post it in the comments. I will get Nisandeh’s ultra healthy and super delicious chocolate recipe to you anyway. And and I will search for an alternative for what you’d miss.

 

The Why

 

Cut down on the amount of sugar you consume, both for your physical and mental health.

 

The What

 

In an earlier section, I pointed out that “you are what you eat.” Consuming refined sugar can create some awful physical issues, ranging from liver damage to weight gain – and even something called fructose toxicity. Yes, this is a thing.

But excess sugar can also ruin your mental health. The “sugar high” you get from consuming cookies, cakes, and even certain types of drinks can crash into exhaustion and depression. Research ties heavy sugar consumption into worse outcomes for individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disease. Also, a link has been established between excess sugar and anxiety, along with a decrease in cognitive abilities, such as learning and memory.

Again, I am not here to lecture. I am here, however, to point out common sense. Too much sugar isn’t good for you, especially when it comes to living your Ideal Life. It impacts you physically and mentally, and you don’t need it in your life.

 

The HOW

 

Every day, for the next seven days, you will cut out all sugar from your diet, except the sugar you obtain from fresh fruits. This includes avoiding foods with refined, hidden or added sugars. You are going to wean yourself off sugar, cold turkey.

Why the extreme move? For one thing, you’ll lose weight, though that’s not the main purpose of this particular exercise. What this detox will do is make you more aware of how you eat, and how what you put in your body impacts you, physically and mentally.

Here are some tips to get through this week.

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Have on hand healthy snacks, including celery, carrots, nuts, and fresh fruit to munch on.
  • Eat a lot of salads.
  • Weigh yourself weekly.
  • Check ALL nutritional labels. You would be surprised how much of our food contains sugar. Check the “carbohydrate” line on the labels – ideally, it should be at zero.
  • Ask your family and friends to keep you on track.
  • Make fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Every evening, write down on the next page how you felt during your sugarless day. Jot down insights popping up concerning the link between the food you eat, and your feelings.

Before moving on, there are a couple of caveats on this exercise:

1) Check with your doctor or other health-care providers before participating in any kind of dietary change.

2) This might be tough on you, to begin with. You will likely crave sugar. You could become cranky, lethargic, or agitated – or all of the above. The good news is that things will get easier after the first week. The cravings will pass. In fact, you’ll likely begin to find yourself more energetic and focused than ever!

 

For now – Gerdy’s addition

 

Eating sugar is for your body like feeding your car acid instead of gas. The point is, we got so used to it, that we don’t know… it took me almost 3 weeks to find out the side effects…

A week will not be enough, so at least try it for 3 weeks, and go full on.

 

Let me know if you are up for it… But- if you’re not, let me know what the one thing that you are not willing to give up is, and I will try to find you an alternative…  

 

Live fully and be awesome…

Gerdy

 

47 Comments

  1. Cindy

    What about ‘chips’, paprika chips? I love it. Or Hagendazs salted caramel?

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Check the package, but there’s quite a few types of crisps without sugar… or at least really low sugar… not talking about saturated fats, but let’s start with the sugar first shall we:)

      The hagendasz sounds FANTASTIC btw! reminds me, I’ll add a recipe for delicious home made ice cream in your program…

      Reply
  2. Nicky Star

    I just finished a whole chocolate bar when I started reading. By seeing this chapter in the book I quickly turned the page…

    I love chocolate and ice-cream and I keep myself awake with it when I ‘m behind the computer at night. I’m moving a lot at daytime and that is the only reason why I’m still not as heavy as one of the horses.

    I know it would be way much better for me and the children, but I think I have to come to a certain point when I say enough is enough and I haven’t reached that point yet.

    We do eat very healthy the whole day by the time, just love chocolate… So if you would give me the recipe, I’ll try and get used to the idea that I will go for it not to long from now.

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Well Nicky, it should be in your mailbox! I wish you tons of excitement, and – to help you also with the ice cream addiction: I’ve got the best solution for that too:) (send me a message after 3 weeks of no sugar, and I’ll share the idea…. (work for it first girl:D))

      Reply
  3. Eva Hellgren

    Hi Gerdy,
    Great challenge!
    I started eating consciously 30 years ago. I stopped with sugar over night and was off for 6 years. Now I eat once in a while when I really feel like eating chocolate but there are no cravings what so ever. What came as a bonus which I was not aware of was that other food started to taste better and sweet, like carrots and other veggies. Since then I feed my body with as much healthy nourishment as possible to be vibrant and strong in my body. And to be able to live my passions and enjoy life to the fullest.

    Reply
  4. Sandra M.E. Jacobs

    Interesting challenge.
    Sugar should be forbidden. It’s desastrous and addictive.

    Well I’m on a Greek island coming week, I am not certain if I’ll be able to read all the packages:) so let’s see how far I can get.

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      This is what we call “stories” Sandra Jacobs!! So, especially for you, I will ask my team member and good (Greek) friend Dimitris to tell you what to look for..:)

      Reply
      • Sandra M.E. Jacobs

        Haha, I was joking. Ofcourse I can find out.
        But, efchariesto anyway ♥

        Reply
  5. Gina Kingma

    I’ve been thinking about it before, but now I’m going tot do it. I’m going sugar-free. Looking forward to receive the recipe for the good chocolate.

    Reply
  6. Conny Oraby

    I stopped eating chewing gum from September last year and started the 1st of January to have a month sugar less. Loved it. I’m not addicted anymore and am able now to choose if I want something sweet. I love to make things with nuts raw chocolate and goji dates and other fruit. Sugar is not needed. It makes me more aware and creative to take care of myself.

    Reply
  7. Iris Meij

    I’m in for the challenge. What I will miss most is chocolate. I prefer dark over milk but lately over-indulge. Also ginger-sugar syrup nuts. I use the syrup in savory dishes sometimes.

    Reply
  8. Emmy Stelling

    I love this no-Sugar challenge. Fortunately my mother raised us being aware of Sugar. Years ago I already discovered the advantages of taking out Sugar and developing healthy eating habits. Necessary at that time since I was overweight, my bloodsugar was going up and down, skin problems and hormonal problems too. A chinese doctor prescribed my special herbs and supplement and chinese tea (most terrible tastes I have ever had). So I now can easily stay away from Sugar. Sometimes I take something on special occasion but then it really needs to be very good! Self made chocolate brownies with almond flower are delicious also by the way.
    I love to get the recipes for the chocolate and bars.

    Reply
  9. Marjolein Hoff

    I already stopped for a few days now with sugar and also with reducing gluten, going to zero gluten. I am inspired by the book “ The grain brain whole life plan”. To get or stay healthy, and especially your Brain!

    Reply
  10. Andre Gruisen

    Great initiative ! I did a zero-sugar pragram last year. It started with 2 days ‘loading’ ; eating as much calories as you can; Most people choose ‘kapsalon’. That has lots of calories but also a lot of bad stuff. Try to eat good fats, nothing fried and not too much sugar. Candy won’t help. It’s more like ‘about all you can eat’. After those two days, the program equested some proteins, certain veggies (not all) and only acidic fruits.
    No wheat, no toast. continue for three weeks. I lost weight, but that wasn’t my objective. i lost my sugar addiction, my skin lights up and clears up, all of my small inconvieniences disappeared, like dry skin, headaches, nousia, sugar-dips, etc. It’s a combination of cleansing your internals, kicking the sugar habits, strengthening your mind and body, but not denying yourself good en plenty food. For more details contact me and i’ll set you on the right and healthy course. Be ware, stopping sugar is not stopping eating, it’s breaking the routine, while taking much more nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Don’t just drop the sugar out of your diet. That’s what i did. and it helped me. Tons ! You know where to find me for more info. Take the challenge ! you’re worth it !

    Reply
  11. Sander Wielemaker

    I have cut sugar from my diet since 3 years now. And it gave me my life back. Before I was suffering from daily pain and rheumatoid. Now I can’t remember a time I was more vital.

    Reply
  12. Eva

    Can I do this? I really love my cappuccino with soymilk (but there is sugar in my soymilk) Does the one without Sugar taste as good? When I want Sugar I like to eat a date, that is ok, right?
    Hmmm, this is my worst addiction I think!
    Is it possible to do it slowly hahahahaha.
    Well, I do need chocolate and You can help me with that right?
    Nothing to lose so I am in!!!!

    Reply
  13. Lente Linden van der Leij

    Hi Gerdy, I know for sure sugar is bad for me. But I’ve noticed that when I eat one piece of cake, I’m immediately adicted again.. As I am now!
    I once tried to go sugarless. I lasted a month, and I found it very hard to do, because it’s everywhere! Now I’m afraid I won’t be motivated enough and won’t keep it up.

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Hey Lente,

      This is the biggest challenge, I totally agree! It might help, if you eat something sweet, to eat something that’s not at least 50% sugar like cake.. btw… if you still like cake after a month sugarfree, you didn’t break the addiction, because if you did, you probably wouldn’t have liked it anymore…

      Now that I broke the habit of eating sugar, the cake is not interesting anymore, it only tastes like sugar and it’s a very… boring taste… what I eat for instance is chocolate every now and then (when I’m out of my own), but only with 80% or more cocoa. (less then 15% sugar). it doesn’t bring back the addiction unless I keep eating this for a week every day.

      Its a matter of listening to your own body, what it wants and needs…

      Reply
  14. Petra Vos

    I’m in. Tried it for a couple of weeks last year and it was not even very difficult. It felt great. Don’t know why I started again with the sugar. I had more energy, more focus and less skin problems!

    Reply
  15. July Dirkse

    Already busy cutting sugar out of my diet and it is going pretty well. But I would love to have the chocolate recipe because indeed chocolate is quite hard to give up on 🙂

    Reply
  16. Cindy Vos

    I did it before and it helped me a lot, now after loosing 12 kg in 4 months
    I don’t get any further so I will try to keep all sugar away from my food starting
    for a week and see how it goes, I know I will have to read a lot because there
    is sugar in things you would never expect.

    Reply
    • Greet Verboven

      I have no sugar cravings at all. I eat 1 meal with veggies, some fish/ meat or chicken and sometimes 1 potato. In the de morning I drink 3 cups of coffee with some coconut milk. Almost every day I eat a banana. … No weight loss whatsoever. What can I do or not do, please? Thank you.

      Reply
      • Cindy Vos

        To begin with: stop eating Bananas every day, a max of 3 times a week and you have to wat more regular, 6 times a day. Breakfast not just coffee but also a healthy breakfast to start with you can have yoghurt with fruit or a smoothie or Rice or Corn crackers with cheese or egg just have a look at what you like and then around 10:30am a peace of fruit or Some vegetables, at lunch a salade or yoghurt with something if you did not have this for breakfast and in the afternoon Some small healthy snack, just look it up on Google and your dinner is not bad at all and then around 8pm a last healthy snack cucumber or crackers with egg or something like that and lots of water to you have to keep your body going and not, not eating all day just at night that is really bad

        Reply
  17. Alice Verholt

    I’m in on this. It is time for me to change habits and live a healthier life. What I find hard is not eating chocolate.

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Awesome! That’s exactly why I think you really need the chocolate recipe that is coming your way.

      Reply
  18. Elske van de Fliert - Zero-e

    About 25 years ago my mother was all anti-sugar. So we had sugar free candy, sugar free drinks, sugar free anything. Nowadays my mother is not so strict anymore, but when I decided to quit sugar some years ago, it was not hard. And I have always been much more of a savory type person. It is much more difficult to lay of the cheese 🙂

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      I have the same problem. However, I first tried if I actually suffer from it… I can’t have a lot of milk products, but I CAN have cheese, even the cow ones. The older, the better. I was very very happy when I discovered that…:)

      Reply
      • Elske van de Fliert - Zero-e

        I did the slow carb diet for about a year (or so?), so that meant no dairy products what so ever! I am now allowing myself cheese and yoghurt again, but am still very mindful.

        Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Awesome Monique! tip: find yourself a buddy, because in the beginning you really need someone to scream to during the hard moments.

      Reply
  19. Natalie Teeken

    I’m in. Started some weeks ago, only to discover sugar is everywhere. I changed my eating times, dinner has to be around 5 to avoid binging. I now need to overcome these daily sweet craving attacks around 20 o’clock (where do they come from?). I do home cooking. carrots, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, avocados are in the house. Ready for rock ‘n roll. 🙂

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      My snacking in the evening tip: raw nuts. I know you shouldn’t eat too much of it, but first get off your sugar habit, then go for the next new habit to install. It’s actually a habit I broke a couple of weeks ago, because I also love to snack in the evenings. BTW I found a very good recipe for something very easy that looks like a muesli bar, very healthy, very easy, and it gives you a very fulfilled feeling (and that’s what we need at a snack moment:))

      I’ll send it to you!

      Reply
        • Gerdy Heek

          On your way!

          Reply
          • Tsafi Nelken

            Can I get this one also ?

  20. Angelique Bouwman

    I already cut out most sugars but love to get the chocolate bar receipe…i have one, but this one might be better…:0 so i’m curious

    Reply
  21. Tsafi Nelken

    Hi Gerdy,

    I want to try it for a long time but I LOVE chocolate and love coffee with sugar.is chocolate with high% cacao (75%-85%) are ok or it need completely sugar-free?

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Hey Tsafi, the only chocolate that I would suggest to eat during the cold turkey kickoff is 98% chocolate. And that one is very very bitter. All the others still have 15% or more sugar! The recipe does have some sugar in it, but it’s from dates and berries, so not additional.

      and this chocolate tastes fantastic with coffee by the way…

      I’m not a very experienced coffee drinker, so maybe I’m not the best example, but here’s what I did. First of all, I used to drink cappuccino, and now I make it with a bit of soy milk (sweet and makes the best creamy foam ever) and a part of almond milk (sweet and delicious).

      Then… I found out that as soon as I skipped the sugar in the rest of my diet, everything else started to taste differently, including coffee. It was not as bitter as it used to be, so I really like it black now too.

      of course (but’s that cursing in the church isn’t it:)) you can also start with drinking caffeine-free coffee, that’s less bitter so you won’t need the sugar as much. There are some pretty good alternatives nowadays…

      Reply
      • Tsafi Nelken

        Hi Gerdy,

        I drink the coffee without milk and can try it without sugar,(maybe herbal thee can be better for know).
        Can I get the chocolate recipes ?

        Reply
        • Gerdy Heek

          absolutely! You’ll get it in the mail.

          Reply
  22. Dunja Kuenen

    I kicked the habit of eating a lot of sugar years ago. Approximately 2 years ago I drastically diminished the consumption of bread. It had the same effect as described by diminishing your sugar intake. I feel far more energetic and clearer in my head. So, step by step I change my diet and not because I want to lose weight. On the contrary, I try to add some weight, though in a healthy way. 🙂

    Reply
  23. Ingrid Verbeek

    Hey… great challenge!
    I am in!

    I started eating consciously a long time ago. I have the ultimate goal to just feed my body what it needs to be strong and fit.
    But I have let myself go for a while now, and need to get back in line again. So yes! I am in…

    Reply
  24. Joyce Vanes

    You are so right, Gerdy: life without sugar (or with very little) is a lot easier for me. I never lost any weight by eating sugar-less, but the loss of cranky-ness when it’s around diner time is worth all of it. I still use some honey in my coffee though. Try not to drink al lot of that anyways, but without a sweetener, it doesn’t do the job. And stevia isn’t the answer either.

    Reply
  25. Leni Minderhoud

    I have no problem on this one and cutting lots of sugar out of my diet. You did not mention the alcohol. Alcoholic drinks contain loads of sugar, so not eating sugar but drinking, does not seem healthy. The one glass of red wine is allowed during the meal, but difficult to stick to that for a lot of people. For me, better no alcohol at all.

    Reply
  26. Silvia Dragoni

    Gerdyyyyy…!!!
    No honey?
    No marmalade without sugar?
    No carbohydrates???
    Are you sure?
    Kiss
    Silvia
    Waiting for the chocolate receipt????

    Reply
    • Gerdy Heek

      Hey Silvia,

      The first thing you need to do is to get rid of the addiction. So, the first weeks, don’t use anything replacing, like honey, or coconut blossom sugar, or stevia… it’s all feeding your craving for sweet taste… and you need to get rid of that. As soon as you are, you’ll find out that you don’t need it anymore, or at least not as much as you used to. Well. That’s how it worked with me. I never use honey anymore.

      Reply
  27. Stamar van Heijst

    I’m interested in that challenge!

    Reply

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