Can Quitting Sugar Make You Happier?
Sugar is blamed for teeth cavities and weight gain. For some, it can affect self-esteem. Find out how one woman quit sugar for good.
Sugar and depression
Sad. Unhappy in her career. Not in a good relationship. That was Dayna Langlois’s life. But you would never have known it if you were her friend. “I was a successful corporate business woman,” she says about her situation just a few years ago. “My life looked fabulous, I had a nice house, a new car, a boyfriend and an amazing income.” She claims she was “comfortable,” not happy. And now the author of the blog makelastingchange.com, she realized that when she ended up in the hospital with meningitis, and that changed everything. She took up yoga. Evaluated her diet, which resulted in her giving up sugar as her #BHmoment. We found out how she did it:
What was the hardest part about giving up sugar?
“There were two challenges I struggled with: A fear of sugar, and caring about what other people thought about my diet and my body.
“I became scared to eat if I was unsure of the sugar content, or just feared food in general because it became too stressful. I knew this lifestyle change was right for me, but I needed simplicity. Everything I was reading was either overly complex, or expensive. So, like many other entrepreneurs out there, when you can’t find what you are looking for, make it yourself. I wrote Stevia&Spice about my journey in the most simplistic way possible.”
“The second challenge, and the one I struggled with for quite some time, was other people’s opinions. It felt like everyone had a comment about me and my body, what I should be doing and what their take was on my health. I heard everything from I was anorexic to I was crazy. I know it is easy to say not to let these things get to you, but I did not have much support in this process, I come from a meat and potatoes family, they didn’t agree with my lifestyle even stopped talking to me. This made me feel alone, which is why I was more susceptible to comments.”
Did you have a plan or quit cold turkey?
“For the most part I quit cold turkey. It was a learning process to know what foods were high in sugar and which ones were lower. I make my best effort to stick to whole, real foods, so I don’t have to worry about labels. If I do buy a product with a label, and let’s be real I do, my rule is six grams of sugar or less, and only ingredients I can pronounce. Keep it simple. Just stick to it, and the changes happen quicker than you realize. It is still unbelievable to me how quickly a change can happen.”
What foods were you shocked to discover to contain sugar?
“The most surprising foods to me where the ‘health foods.’ I was buying the healthier options and vegan brands until I started turning those babies over and reading the labels. I was blown away by the sugar.”
What were the first changes you noticed in your body?
“I was losing weight instantly. After two weeks, my digestion issues went away. I lost 30 pounds in about three months, which has now been maintained, give or take a pound or two, for over a year. […] I have more energy than I have ever had in my life. My friends call me the energizer bunny. My psoriasis is gone, my food intolerances are a thing of the past. The biggest difference is that I get up in the morning with a smile, a zest for life eager to start my day.”
What was the most effective trick or tip in giving up sugar?
“Don’t make this a quick-fix diet, it has to come from a desire for a lifestyle change. Learn about as much as you can, then pick what resonates with you. It is so important to find friends, or outlets to turn to, there are some great blogs, that you may relate to or that show alternatives, recipes and cooking ideas.”
Why are sugar and depression linked for you?
“The biggest impact is the self-love. When you are more than your ideal weight and struggle with health issues, you just do not feel good. You do not love the girl in the mirror. She seems imperfect and flawed. This journey has taught me to love my imperfections, to love the skin I am in and the gifts I was born with. To love me and everything about me. It has helped me see myself in a new light and given me hope for a big bright , sugar free future. Quitting sugar may have given me my ideal body and helped me reach my goals from a physical perspective, but what it did for my mind outweighs the physical.”
Anything else you’ve learned from this experience with sugar and depression?
“I am not perfect, I still have days when I feel sad, where I feel stressed and anxious, where I have body image issues or get into a negativity rut. But these days are further apart than they ever were, and they are by no means as severe.”
For more reading on sugar and its impact, try these: