Back in 2003, I went on what I now call the High Sugar Weight Loss Diet and lost 45 pounds. When I discovered the combination low-cal-low-carb diet in a health magazine, I immediately saw the possibilities for eating what I wanted within its confines. That’s the way we dieters think, right? Just like everyone else, we like to eat what tastes good to us. For me, sweets are a must. Why don’t diets ever urge us to eat donuts? Unfortunately, diets often cut out the yummiest stuff, which is why dieting was always a bite-the-bullet proposition for me. I chose this diet mainly because it didn’t require me to eat any particular foods, and it had no lists of fruits and vegetables to avoid, no lists of fats or even starches to avoid.
I’m sharing this diet with you – not for the purpose of selling you on it – but rather to show you how I manipulated it to accomplish my goal of losing weight while eating plenty of sugar every day, and to point out that I gained all the weight back within a year. Rather than a success story, it was a lesson in how to mess with your mind by tracking everything you eat and how to rely on numbers instead of listening to your hunger and fullness levels.
The High Sugar Weight Loss Diet
The combination low-cal-low-carb diet actually set ideal amounts of protein and fat (can’t recall what they were) as well as calories and carbohydrates. But I quickly stopped counting the protein and fat and went with one guideline:
Eat up to 1500 calories per day, including no more than 125 grams of carbohydrate per day.”
I had a lot of experience with the 1500-cal diet, but I’d never had the luxury of a diet that allowed 125 carbs per day. A slice of bread is only about 100 cals and 20 carbs. I could have a sandwich? Sugar in my coffee? A candy bar? A piece of fried fish? It looked so easy and doable in the long run that I decided to commit to the diet for a whole year, something I’d never before done.
The first thing I did was to buy a little notebook in which to record my daily intake and a reference book called The Calorie King that included the number of calories and grams of carbohydrate, protein, and fat – all in one tiny paperback.
I decided to start after New Year’s but not on a Monday because I really didn’t want to binge all weekend and I was eager to get going. My first day on the High Sugar Diet was Jan. 4, 2003. My goals: to stay within the guidelines and lose 53 pounds, which would let me attain my so-called ideal weight. I decided to write the number of pounds lost at the top of the page after I weighed myself each morning. (I didn’t write my actual weight in the book in case someone accidentally picked it up and saw the awful truth of my actual weight, which I thought would be too embarrassing. Why? To hide the number lest people think less of me.)
As you can see, recording every food item you eat, plus its caloric and carb values, takes attention to detail. I stopped tracking grams of protein and fat less than three weeks into the diet.
The High Sugar Weight Loss Diet – Results
Writing in my little book became a habit within a short time, so I got used to seeing how much every food cost me in terms of cals and carbs which seemed to me like money. I had X amount to spend for the day, so I usually saved some for sweets such as bite-size Snicker Snackers, Hersheys Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Hearts (or Pumpkins), a piece of fudge, an ice cream bar, or a piece of cake or a cinnamon roll. You may notice I didn’t eat much fresh fruit or many vegetables, especially potatoes. They were too spendy in my diet economy where one could have a treat for the same cash, er, cals and carbs. Yes, my determination to lose weight yet eat what I wanted produced a diet high in sugar. (You can see why I now call it the High Sugar Weight Loss Diet.) It’s a wonder I didn’t feel bad physically.
Within a couple of months, I rarely had to consult my little reference book because without trying I’d memorized most of the vital numbers. That’s what happens to us dieters when we manually keep records.
Yes, I lost weight, too, although I could hardly wait to be off the diet. Such a nuisance to sit down at the table knowing I had to be on guard, alert to every carb that might sneak into a menu item! It never occurred to me to listen to what my body was telling me, although I remember getting over-hungry at times and trying not to envy what others were eating.
In fact, I found myself telling friends and neighbors about how great the diet was. Talking about it helped me make the best of the restrictions and was perhaps an unconscious attempt to re-convince myself of its merits along the way. I don’t remember noticing much difference in my size until I’d lost about 20 pounds. At least I could see the number on the scale decreasing.
When I read about the dangers of yo-yo dieting, I’d rationalize that this one would be the definitive one, the last one, and even if it wasn’t, I felt that losing weight periodically was better than never at all. Little did I know that studies prove otherwise. According to an article in the New York Times, a recent study said dieting raises the likelihood that we’ll regain the weight we lost.
Why I Gave Up Dieting But Not Sugar
At the end of a full year on the High Sugar Weight Loss Diet, I had lost 45.5 pounds, nearly eight pounds shy of my goal, so after giving myself a “free day”, I resumed dieting. Despite my efforts, I regained 10 pounds by April and regained another 10 by September. The last time I kept a record was on October 8 of that year, 2004. Out of steam, I waited until I gained back every pound – and more – to go on yet another diet. Took me until 2009 to give up dieting for good. It’s been a fantastic change. And I still eat sugar.
Thanks for reading!
Posted on July 31, 2018
6 thoughts on “The High Sugar Weight Loss Diet”
Love your diet stories! I can SO relate to much that you experienced. As I scanned your food journal, I noticed so many of favorites! babybel cheese, dill pickles, artichoke hearts, ham slices, and of course marshmallow eggs! I am turned off by any diet “guide” that has a name/title. I realize that many are healthy and many people have success with them, it just doesn’t seem natural to make enemies with real food. Often they are not realistic or truly doable long term. If it says “low” or “high” then it’s out for me too. Sensible and simple is all I need and I might stick to it! That’s why your bottom line, “Am I hungry” (from previous post) is just about the best advice I can think of. Thanks, dear Norma!
How funny that you like many of the same things as I do, including marshmallow eggs, Marilee! No one in my family cares for them. Good for you for not falling for extreme diets! I even did Atkins and the ketogenic diet long before it faded and became popular again. Took me years to realize, as you said, that “it just doesn’t seem natural to make enemies with real food.” Thanks for commiserating and making me feel understood!
Thanks, Norma, for writing about your experience with weight! Oh boy, I can relate! It helps to know I’m not alone! I’m determined to lose but I can’t or just don’t. I’ve tried dieting too. It doesn’t work for me. Oh…what to do… I even had a friend (?) say to me one day, “Anita, you need to lose weight!” That really didn’t help our friendship or me! But, I have a grandson getting married in October…maybe… Yes, I’ll work on it…
Your comment really encouraged me, Anita. Of course, diets don’t work for you! They don’t work for the vast majority of us. If they worked, would the diet industry still be in business? I’m sorry your “friend” made such a thoughtless comment to you. If I were in your shoes – and in a way I am because I’ve dieted for years and have nothing to show for it – I’d ignore such comments and instead, I’d buy a gorgeous outfit for the wedding and eat what I want, savoring every mouthful. There’s so much more to life than being a certain size. Thanks for relating!
Thanks for your encouraging words, Norma! I’ll have to post a picture of me in my grandmotherly wedding outfit!
I’d love to see it, Anita!