Forget Sugar: Get Out The Sponge Bob Bandaids

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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As I begin to write, my first thoughts are of the people of Chile.

Rocking a 8.8 earthquake must feel like the world is coming to an end.

When mother nature decides to roll over in bed, we are thrown to the floor and shown  how little we control.

Catastrophes like this are a sober reminder that I have no real problems.

Speaking of no real problems . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, I bounded out of bed Monday morning feeling on top of the world.  This new energy began Ash Wednesday, right after Fat Tuesday, when I decided to give up sugar for Lent.  I am a recovering Catholic, so no, I did not do this for the religious implications such a sacrifice might imply.

I think holy water might spontaneously com-bust if I touched it.

And the priest would faint.

I started a new type of thyroid medication, and the urge to quit sweets seemed as natural as brushing my hair, so I decided to give it a shot. You know, that whole taking it one day at a time approach. Lent can be the time to try abstaining from behavior we find no longer suits us.

The pain in my knees, after just two miles on my walks was also a big motivation to do this no sugar thing. I have always been able to hike  – the new knee problem made me decide it was time for a change.


Don’t you agree?

Then Lent fell into my lap.  Perfect time to get ready for spring, you know the time when flowers start to grow and we celebrate the arrival of the Cadbury Easter Egg and Peeps.

It’s been 11 days without sugar (and flour) and I feel great. I’m amazed by how I feel,  along with the stability of my moods. Life just seems easier – even when there’s stress.

I also get that no one is coming to save us ladies, we have to be in charge of saving ourselves.  It was time for me to throw myself a life preserver.  No one is going to fix my knees for me.

A fairy Godmother isn’t going to come fluttering into my room some night and say, “Here darlin’ let me fix that for ya’ with a wave of my wand – grab your pumpkin, vibrator and your dog – ready?”

Not happinin’.

Sitting around complaining about how hard something is just isn’t my style.

Hard is my friend going through chemotherapy to beat liver cancer, while trying to work to support his family.

Sugar is nothing to give up compared to that.

So I did.

Some days the sugar cravings are stronger than others.  I haven’t slapped some stranger in the store, so all in all I am doing good.  If I eat some protein and drink a glass of water any sweet cravings go away.  Sometimes I wonder if I am just a bit hypoglycemic.  (I’m hearing some friends nod, “Duh” – yeah bite me).

I know there are many of you who think, “Oh my holy red bra, I could never give up sugar!”

I tell you, if you can get past the first four days you will be rewarded with restful sleep, even moods, and energy which lasts evenly throughout the day.  I am as amazed by these perks as when my teenage son last told me he loved me in front of his friends.


Life without sugar makes life’s little problems (and most are little because I am a woman and we women make problems bigger than they are) seem manageable and easy to fix.  Girls, I also notice when we commit to ourselves (and follow through) the fringe benefit is happiness.

I think commitment and happiness are inner-connected.

Remy says that committing to ourselves (and our dream) means we must fully participate in our entire life.  When we won’t commit to ourselves (or our dream) it’s a sign there’s another area in our lives we don’t want to commit to as well.  There’s something in our life we are resisting.

I find this theory fascinating.

If there is deep unhappiness (or resistance) in one area, it makes it difficult, if not impossible for some of us to fully commit to ourselves, let alone our dreams.

And for some, to commit to oneself (and a dream) means doing something about the unhappy area of our life first.

Where’s the First Aid kit and Sponge Bob band-aids?

So I allowed my ex husband to find me this great compounding pharmacy in Windsor which is making my Armour thyroid medication, thus resulting in my ability to give up sugar.  It’s amazing what can happen if you open yourself up to other people’s suggestions (and actually follow them) even if they do come from an ex-husband.

This week I felt further motivated to have Remy take my photograph from the front and from the side holding a magazine.  I am going to allow her to capture my sugar abstinence in photographs.  We also took butt shots.

Maybe I should save that part of the story for Remy or Heather to explain . . .

But if we are going to do this dream thing, then we need to really do this dream thing, and I should be leading the charge.  Hey – wasn’t this was my crazy idea in the first place?  And I am sure people in Santiago Chile would tell us that all we have is right now – this moment – because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Today is a gift, wrap it and give it to yourself.

Keep on dreaming –


(Catherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. Someday, she would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck Catherine usually writes the weekly motivation posts which are published late Sunday evenings for the following week)


  • H

    We’re all behind you though! ~H

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I am loving how I feel – that is the best part. it makes me wonder how I am going to feel at a month.

    I take it one day at a time tho. Congratulations for being off the white stuff 4 months. i can’t wait to say that, but one day at a time.

    Thanks for your comment Kris.

  • kris

    I gave up sugar – chocolate, biscuits, bread, white rice, potatoes, alcohol – back in November. Since then I have had a total of one chocolate bar, which I ate little by little over a weeks time. Before I was having about 4 chocolate bars a day.
    I feel so incredible now, have lost a 30 pounds (which 2 years of running hadn’t shifted), have more energy than I thought possible and don’t feel a wreck in the morning like I need a sugar fix every 2 hours to stay awake. I am sleeping much better too.
    The first week was really hard, then for a few weeks after it would be hard maybe a night here or there. Now, while I would like to eat chocolate every now and then, I can control it. I really like the feeling of being in control of my body rather than it controlling me.
    I found cutting down doesn’t work, as you are constantly fighting the craving. Cold turkey is the way to go, but it is really hard – you have to be really convinced and determined. Supplements help to like 5-htp, SAMe, Vitamin D and GABA.
    Good luck to anyone trying to get off the sugar rollercoaster :-)

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Oh an thank you Bob and Diane for your comments too!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I did not weigh myself to start because I decided I am not doing this for that reason. It’s three weeks today. Every time I think about sugar I think about the pain in my knees when walking and I have a glass of water.

    It’s one of those things I just decided it was time, and I have been told for years that to help my thyroid I need to eliminate simple sugars.

    You have to watch Change Your Brain Change Your Body on channel 9 – or get the book. The Dr talked about uncontrollable sweet cravings and what supplement gets rid of them. L-Tyrosine curbs appetite, reduces sugar cravings and cuts body fat storage.

    I thought of you when I watched the show last night. I know your sugar cravings can be intense.

    Hugs, Cath

  • Veronica

    If you can do it, so can I. I am a bit competative and there is no way I can let you do this without your fellow sister right there with you.
    Lets do this together.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you Lisa for your continuous loving kind support. I think I will have a life again someday :-)

  • Bob

    Cute post. Giving up sugar? That is not for the faint of heart. Congratulations.

  • “I think commitment and happiness are interconnected.” Amen to that! First, we need to commit to being happy (I didn’t used to believe in that for myself), and then commit to living our dreams, and then commit to doing what it takes day after day…For me sometimes it is a process of recommitting daily to what matters.

    Thanks for leading us so fearlessly and with such a fun spirit Cath! And thanks for a great post to remind us to keep life in perspective, when we are truly are so blessed.


  • Remy, the photographer

    Give up sugar? well, i thought that was easy…cause i don’t put sugar ON anything. But then you know, sugar is IN practically everything. I will consider it tho, now knowing that you are seeing success with it, and of course, the dream I had following our photo shoot last week. You were fabulous, and I cant wait to chronicle your progress.
    Way to lead, lady!!! Rem

  • Wendy

    Congratulations Catherine! That sugar thing is a hard one. I think that has been one of my own biggest frustrations this year. I really really really want to get that sugar under control and have yet to surrender to the fact that a little for me is not possible. Again Congrats!

  • Good for you on giving ups sugar!! You will be amazed how good you are going to fee a month from now. It just gets better and better! I lost 56 pounds and feel 20 years younger. Now that I know what sugar does to how we feel, I will never go back.

    You are right, the first week is the hardest part. Good luck! ~D