Hi! I’m Jessica, your fearless sugar-free leader (or something like that).
If there is a gene for a propensity to be madly in love with sugar, I probably have it.
I am the product of two sugar-loving parents. My mom loved sugar, but my dad especially so. I grew up on powdered donuts and definitely-not-100%-pure-juice orange juice and coffee cake and gummy bears and homemade fudge and Kit Kat bars and every wonderful sugary sweet food out there. Up until the age of ten, I believed that ice cream would go bad in the freezer if it wasn’t eaten within two days. (My dad told me this, so it had to be true.) Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory had nothing on me.
I had a wonderful childhood, but I suffered from low self-esteem. For that reason, despite being a healthy weight, I started my first diet when I was 12 years old. In the years that followed, I developed an unrelenting sweet tooth that further developed into frequent sugar binges. On the outside I looked thin and healthy, but on the inside, I was battling a near constant desire to eat thousands of calories of sweets.
Even during the times when I was eating sugar in “normal” quantities, my sugar cravings would be triggered with every bite of sugary food, and a binge would eventually follow. Sometimes I went months without a sugar binge; other times, I barely lasted 24 hours. This sugar binge cycle became such a constant companion in my life to the point that I started to lose hope that I would ever be able to break it.
The truth is, I loved sugar, but it didn’t love me.
At age 24, I went off medication that I had taken for years for severe cystic acne. When the acne returned with a vengeance, I started to notice that sugar consumption triggered intense breakouts. I also realized that, when I laid off sugar, my ability to handle what life threw my way improved greatly. Normally a little high-strung, without sugar I became calmer and more level-headed.
Extreme sugar cravings. Frequent sugar binges. Severe acne. A less-than-stellar mental state.
I loved sugar, but it clearly didn’t love me. In 2009 at age 25, I decided to quit sugar* for good. I knew it would be rough at first, but something had to give. I wanted my life back. I wanted my skin to improve. I wanted to think clearly. For someone as sugar addicted as me, abstinence was the only path to freedom.
*When I say “sugar,” I mean added sugar. I still eat fruit, fresh and dried.
For my life, quitting sugar was the right choice.
Quitting sugar has made me leaner, improved my skin, given me more energy, helped me sleep better, improved my mood, and has overall made me feel like a healthier person. Best of all, I no longer binge eat. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t quit sugar eight years ago, and I am so very grateful I took the plunge.
… But I’m not here to push the sugar-free lifestyle onto you.
Quitting sugar for good worked for my life, but that doesn’t mean I think everyone needs to be like me. That’s why Forget Sugar Friday only asks you to say “no” to sugar on Fridays, not every day. Despite the benefits I experienced from quitting sugar completely, I recognize that not every person is interested in pursuing such a dietary change, nor should they be.
Unless you struggle with a sugar addiction or have health problems that are affected by sugar consumption, complete removal isn’t really necessary. The “sweet spot” for most people is a low-sugar life, not a no-sugar life. Simply reducing your sugar consumption can do great things for your life—and by joining Forget Sugar Friday, you’ll be on your way to discovering those great things. I’m passionate about helping people live a sweet life with less sugar, and I’ve got plenty of knowledge and experience to share.
(For a longer version of my sugar story, pick up a copy of the book.)