I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | My Foolproof Plan to Give Up Sugar

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

Updated: May 15, 2020

45 days ago, I was determined to make the most out of the upcoming season of Lent by sacrificing something which would be challenging to me. I sat down, made a list of everything that would be hard for me to give up, and was not surprised by the answer that topped my list: sugar.

I quit sugar for 40 days.

Without a doubt, my number one addiction for as long as I can remember has been sugar. After avoiding this thought for years on end, I finally decided to bite the bullet and quit sugar.

Related: 5 Ways I Plan to Overcome My Sugar Addiction

Tomorrow is Easter, which means that today is the last day of Lent. Whew. This is a day that I never thought would come about a month ago. These past 40 days during which I quit sugar have been eye opening, surprising, challenging, and satisfying – just to say the least.

Giving up sugar has been a challenge I avoided for my entire life. Cutting out sugar seemed to be a challenge that I would not be able to conquer, so I avoided it at all costs.

Giving up sugar was quite challenging.

I am so happy that I finally decided to face my addiction head on. By quitting sugar cold turkey 40 days ago, my body went through quite a dramatic sugar detox.

Whether or not everything I experienced was due to giving up sugar, I’ll never know for sure. But I have seen immense changes in my body and mind these past 40 days, and today I’d like to tell you what happened.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days

And so the sugar detox begins…

Prior to my experiment with giving up sugar, I like to think that I was living a fairly healthy lifestyle. I drink 80 ounces of water a day, generally steer towards whole foods at meals, exercise 6 days a week, and rarely drink alcohol. My mind and body were well in order and functioning at a high capacity.

I surprised myself by how eager I was to begin the challenge of quitting sugar for good, and couldn’t wait to get started. I ambitiously wrote a blog post detailing the strategies I planned to use to help me succeed as I quit sugar for 40 days.

These strategies were ones to which I had given a great deal of thought, and very much expected to work.

I created a plan to quit sugar.

Day one started out fine. I had my usual breakfast, snack, lunch, and didn’t even notice the fact that I had given up sugar until mid afternoon.

The afternoon is the time when I usually bounce down the stairs, find our candy dish, and take out a few pieces to tide me over. Then I’d have an apple to compensate and tell myself that I was eating a healthy snack.

On this day though, all I could have was the apple. I was a bit bummed to miss out on my mid-day sugar kick, but was able to avoid any major pitfalls and frustrations. After dinner, I had popcorn instead of ice cream and rolled my eyes at the fact that it wasn’t nearly as satisfying.

My sugar detox was underway.

Days two through the end of the first week were HARD. Not the most challenging time of the 40 days, but without a doubt still hard. Day two was when the reality of the commitment really sunk it. This is when I realized how long 40 days actually would be.

I heard that McDonald’s was bringing their Shamrock Shakes back out and told myself that I would thoroughly enjoy one once this whole experiment of quitting sugar was complete – only to realize that by the time the 40 days were over, Shamrock Shakes would be gone. Noooo.

It seems that I decided to quit sugar at the hardest time.

The season of Lent is actually 46 days long. Sundays are considered holy days, a day of rest, and a day when you are allowed to indulge in the thing that you were sacrificing during the season. Each Sunday I allowed myself to eat sugar – not my usual amount, but a normal amount of sugar throughout the day.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

By the end of week one, I was fully looking forward to Sunday. My husband’s birthday cake had been staring at me in the refrigerator for the entire week, and I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I quickly ate my lunch and gulped down the cake in less bites than I should have. It was gone before I knew it and just a few minutes later my stomach felt really nauseous.

Giving up sugar only got harder.

Week two was by far the most challenging of the entire process. Week two was the week where everything hit in full force: cravings, moodiness, laziness… you name it, and I probably experienced it. Saying no to sugar was the most challenging this week.

The effects of my sugar detox were in full swing.

I never fully realized how much sugar I consumed on a daily basis until I added up the calories. I realized that on an average night, I was eating over 500 calories of ice cream, plus 100 calories of chocolate syrup.

And that’s just at night, not even including the calories I consumed from sugar throughout the day. Yikes.

My plan to quit sugar needed some updates.

With over 600 calories suddenly lacking from my diet, it was really challenging trying to replace them.

All of my runs and workouts felt sluggish, waking up early felt impossible, I was tired all the time, and I never felt full. Quitting sugar started to feel like a lofty goal, one that was silly for me to believe I could accomplish in the first place.

I’d read about all of the withdrawal symptoms addicts experience, but never truly expected to experience them myself. Boy, was I wrong.

My sugar addiction was bigger than I realized.

My second week of giving up sugar when all of the moodiness and crankiness hit in full force. I felt annoyed by everything, and so lethargic all day long. My face started to break out in random bumps, different from any sort of acne I had ever experienced. Week two was a struggle.

However, I was determined to stop eating sugar.

By the time Sunday came around, I was really excited to indulge in some sweets. I eagerly sat down with a bowl of ice cream at night, but was unable to finish it.

I began to notice that sugary snacks tasted a LOT sweeter than they used to. The ice cream was almost too much for me to handle. I was unable to finish it, and at this point didn’t even want to.

Week 3 was the turning point in my sugar detox.

By week three, everything started to settle down. I discovered some healthy snacks to eat during the day that kept me full and helped avoid any cravings.

I was proud of myself for making it through the beginning of this sugar challenge without cheating, and wanted to continue giving up sugar for the rest of the 40 days.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

Grocery shopping started to feel more like an achievement, as I finally found myself getting most of my groceries from the perimeter of the store rather than the prepackaged middle aisles. I was beginning to feel really proud and satisfied.

Quitting sugar finally felt like something I could manage.

By the time Sunday came around this week, I was questioning whether or not I should even have a sweet treat since I was doing so well. I decided to have a small bowl of ice cream and again noticed that it tasted significantly sweeter than usual, and left me feeling very sluggish.

Giving up sugar continued to feel easier.

Each day felt a little more manageable, until week 4 where it felt normal to eat no sugar. I was able to sit around my family while they all ate birthday cake without drooling, and eat popcorn while my husband had cookies each night. Sundays felt like an extra challenge, and I felt really motivated.

Deciding to quit sugar finally seemed like a great idea, and I knew I was going to be able to accomplish it.

So here we are, on day 40.

Tomorrow is Easter, which marks the end of Lent. This is the last day of my sugar detox. Looking back on the past 40 days has been so eye opening, and I am entirely surprised that so many of the effects of quitting sugar that I had heard about turned out to be true.

The Results I’ve Experienced Since I Quit Sugar

My face stopped breaking out!

I have been dealing with random breakouts throughout the month, as well as significant break outs once a month for as long as I can remember. Last year I discovered that our tap water was contributing to a significant amount of the bumps I was getting on my face, and switching to a water filter made a huge difference.

However, it didn’t completely change things. I can honestly say that after the initial few days of quitting sugar (hello, sugar detox breakouts) I have not had a single breakout. This is game changing for me!

Running has started to feel easier

I have been able to make significant improvements in my speed. Whether or not this is a result of my decision to quit sugar, I don’t know for sure yet.

But I can say that for the past month, my runs have all felt significantly easier. The miles have gone by with ease, and I am hitting paces that I never have been able to during my tempo and interval runs.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

Sweet foods taste even sweeter.

It seems that I was nearly immune to the taste of sugar. I remember countless times being around my friends or family, sharing a treat with them, and hearing that they could not finish it because it was so sweet. I never understood how they could turn down a dessert until now.

Even naturally sweet foods like honey and fruit have started to taste much sweeter. I am able to satisfy my sweet tooth much quicker since giving up sugar, and easily say no to large portions of sugary foods.

I feel so much better about myself.

Whether it’s just a feeling of pride in knowing that I was able to completely quit sugar for 40 days, or it’s because my emotions are much more stable, I don’t know. However, whatever the reason, I have felt much more confident, happy and less stressed throughout this past month.

Am I going to quit sugar forever?

As of now – no, not entirely. But I am so happy with the changes I have seen since giving up sugar that I definitely want to continue.

My plan is to continue eating sweets on weekends, but stop eating sugar entirely during the week. The only exceptions I will make are times when we are out somewhere different during the week (like vacation, etc.) or if it is a special occasion.

If there were so many positive changes in just a month after I quit sugar, I can’t wait to see what else is in store. Giving up sugar for 40 days was one of the best things I have ever challenged myself to, and I am so proud of accomplishing it.

It turns out that life without sugar is pretty awesome, and giving it up just makes it that much sweeter when it’s back.

Interested in my plan to quit sugar?

Check out my sugar detox journey:

The before and after results from my 40 day sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s what happened when I gave up sugar. #quitsugar #giveupsugar #healthyeating

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.
What Happened When I Quit Sugar for 40 Days | The before and after results I noticed after my sugar detox were incredible. After living the sugar addiction life I finally quit sugar for good, and it all started when I decided to give up sugar for Lent for 40 days. Here’s how I did it.

32 comments / Add your comment below

  1. When I embarked on a round of Whole 30 eating a few months ago, I thought cutting out added sugar would be the easy part. We rarely have ice cream, candy, cookies and the like in the house. It was the added sugar in processed foods like catsup and sandwich meats that caught me by surprise. Half of every grocery trip was spent scowling at labels, muttering some bad words and putting things back on the shelves. What an eye opener.

    1. I absolutely agree! Cutting out sugar is so eye opening. We all think that sugar means treats and desserts but it is overwhelming to discover all of the “healthy” foods that are hiding it as well!

  2. Can you share exactly what you cut out? I see you had an apple, so I’m assuming you had fruits. Did you also cut out artificial sweeteners? I’m considering doing this myself but I want to do it in a way that’s going to actually work and no sabotage myself before I even begin. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Yes, definitely! I tried my best to cut out foods with added sugars, but still kept foods that contained natural sugar. I ate plenty of fruits, honey, etc. during this time because I felt like my biggest problem was the processed sugars and didn’t plan to quit eating fruits for the rest of my life, haha. I tried my best to avoid foods like salad dressings, ketchup, other sauces, etc. that contained added sugars and of course cut out all desserts and sweet treats! I didn’t focus on artificial sweeteners during this time but think that I eliminated most of those by not eating foods with added sugars (I don’t drink any diet soda or anything like that though). Good luck with your sugar cleanse! It was a really eye opening experience for me and taught me that I really will be all right without those foods that I think I “need”, lol!

  3. I can relate to this article so much. It feels good to know that I am pushing myself to acheive a better version of me . Thanx for sharing this story. I got clear insight of my journey

    1. So glad you could relate to this story! Quitting sugar is a challenging journey for everyone (especially those of us addicted to ice cream, haha). But I can say with confidence that it is well worth the struggle. Good luck on your journey!

  4. Thank you so much for writing this article! I am on day 15 of cutting sugar and have experienced all sorts of detox side effects during this second week (fatigue, anxiety at some point and low pressure symptoms). Most websites say that the side effects only last a few days so it is really comforting to see that other people experience the same thing that I am going through! I am also starting to feel a bit proud because I have tried to give up sugar for so many years and I am sticking to it so far. What has helped me and made a difference this time is that i have wrote in a journal or random sheet of paper about it daily, it has helped me express the scary feelings and see my thoughts clearly!
    All the best. M

    1. Thanks for reading! I am so glad you found this article helpful 🙂 like you, I had tried to give up sugar many, many times before with no success. You should absolutely feel proud!!! Giving up sugar is SO hard, especially when it’s a significant part of your diet (or a majority, like me;) and avoiding it for any length of time is a definite accomplishment! Journaling is such a great tip – I will have to try that out next time! Thanks for sharing your story and I’m wishing you all the best with your sugar detox journey!

  5. Wow ! Such an inspirational and motivating post! I’m condidering doing the same as I have a massive sweet tooth. Did u also lose weight as a result ?

    1. Thank you! It was definitely very challenging at first but I was really surprised how quickly I got used to it because I have a HUGE sweet tooth as well, haha. I actually didn’t monitor my weight throughout the process but I did notice that I was hungry a LOT, so I’m thinking I inadvertently cut out a lot of calories each day.

  6. Wow amazing ! Reading your post is so motivitaing. I’m considering doing the same ! Did u drop any weight in the process ?

  7. You have inspired me to take this 40 day challenge. I am dealing with sweets and the worst is ice cream.

    1. That is awesome!! My weakness is ice cream as well so I completely feel your pain. I used to have a heaping bowl every single night! Quitting sugar cold turkey was really challenging for me in the beginning – I definitely wanted to give up after just a few days – but the longer I stuck with it the easier it got. Good luck on your challenge! ? please let me know how it goes!!

  8. How wonderful! Over the last year I’ve really developed a sugar addiction. I’m wondering how much sugar you allowed for in your daily diet during the challenge? You know, just from fruits, vegetables, etc. Did you also eliminate most carbs?

    1. I definitely know the feeling! I cut out as much processed and refined sugars as I could but still kept natural sugars like fruit, honey, etc. I tried my best to cut out food that contained sugar even if they weren’t sweets too (like ketchup, pasta sauces, etc.) but I’m sure I probably missed a few. In general I tried to eat healthier during this time, eat more lean proteins and vegetables, but didn’t cut out carbs completely. I definitely still ate bread and popcorn and some pasta! My main goal was to cut out sugar from sweets and processed foods and I was so surprised what a big difference it made!

  9. Is it weird that this post makes me SO happy? I loved following week by week cause your process was so familiar to me! Isn’t it crazy how things start to taste SO much sweeter? Like you actually realize how sweet an apple is–so like, processed treats, forget about it!
    I know people believe in different things health wise, but i just want to say that i think you’ve done the absolute best thing you can do for your health. I’ve been doing the weekends only (actually down to one day now, just by choice, haven’t been craving much!) and it’s incredible how much better my body has felt. It makes sense–sugar creates a lot of inflammation. My mom is a holistic nutritionist and cutting the sugar is something she tries to help all of her clients do. The inflammation that it creates is the source for so much disease–cancer included! She’s worked with a lot of cancer patients who have had great success either not growing the cancer anymore while preparing for chemo or surgery, or staying cancer free for years after–all by for the most part eliminating sugar and grains. They call it “starving” the cancer.
    Anyway, so happy this worked out so well for you and happy to catch up–I’ve been MIA for a bit! x

    1. I love that you enjoyed this post! I remember reading a lot about how naturally sweet foods would start to taste even more sweet, but I was definitely skeptical before beginning the process. It turns out that they did, and it only took a few days of no sugar for me to start to notice it! Now the tricky part is going to be sustaining it. It is much easier for me to commit to a lifestyle like this when I know it will only last a certain amount of time – now that I know my 40 day “experiment” is over it’s a little more challenging to stay motivated. I am trying to refrain from sugar during the week and only indulge on weekends, just like you are doing! I do notice that my cravings are not nearly as strong anymore which is awesome. I love that your mom helps her clients heal with holistic remedies like this! That’s so cool. I absolutely agree that what we eat has a HUGE impact on our bodies. The fact that you are still going strong with eating less sugar is inspiring to me, thanks for that! I hope everything has been going well for you these past few weeks!

    1. Yes I know exactly what you mean! I have a HUGE sweet tooth so giving them up cold turkey was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! Definitely interesting to see what happened when I did though.

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