A Month Without Sugar

By Leo Babauta

Life seems sweeter without sweets. Or at least, just as sweet.

If you’d suggested that I’d prefer a life that was pretty much devoid of sweet desserts a year ago, I would have laughed in scorn. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, mostly centered on chocolate but I also love pies and cookies and muffins and ice cream.

But as a part of my Year of Living Without, I gave up sugar in October. And in truth, it was fairly easy (with a few harder spots) because I’d mostly been going without sugar for the previous four months or so.

I found that life is just as fun, as enjoyable, as lovely without all the sugar. It’s not as necessary as I’d thought, not as horrible or lifeless without sugar as I’d anticipated.

I set out on this Year of Living Without to learn about my resistance, but the funny thing is that my resistance seems to be much greater when I’m imagining going without something I think I need, than it is when I actually go without it.

I thought giving up coffee would be incredibly hard, but it wasn’t hard at all (except for a few times when the allure of the smell was strong). I thought going without TV would be hard, but mostly I didn’t miss it. No sitting for more than 30 minutes actually was hard, but not because I missed sitting — only because I really got physically tired (often from running or working out).

So the resistance comes when we imagine the loss, not when we actually experience the loss. At least, that’s what I’ve been finding so far.

In this post, I’ll talk about a few of my thoughts and experiences going without sugar, and then share what I’m giving up in November (hint: it’s one of my hardest challenges yet).

Going Without Sugar

Some of what I learned and experienced in my month without sugar:

November: No Computers/Internet Before Noon

So this month I’ve already had a small failure in my challenge. In November, I’m going without computers/Internet before noon (including smartphones, etc.) … except to write.

So I can use my laptop to write a post or work on my novel, but I can’t Google anything or check email or even read on my computer. No reading saved articles from the Internet either.

What will I do instead? I’ll read a novel (working my way through Joyce’s Ulysses right now) and write blog posts or work on my novel.

However, I missed the first day because I forgot. The challenge for the second day was when I really wanted to look things up, which I’m really used to doing immediately by now — instead, I wrote them down to look them up later.

This should be interesting.