Erin is a mom of two and has been with Today’s Mama for ten years. She is charged with finding and sharing all of the wonderful things the web has to offer. She is particularly fond of food, photography, printables, and funny things. She writes about losing weight in her Healthy Living for Mom series, and is chronicling her attempt to master her DSLR camera with her series, Big Girl Camera.

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Healthy Living for Mom: Quitting Sugar

What comes first? The brownie or the bad mood?

Now, I’m not talking about the occasional treat. I can do a sugary goodie, once or twice a week, and my weight and mental health remain pretty much unaffected.

But every few months, I fall off the sugar wagon (like I did last week) and find myself enjoying brownies, cinnamon rolls, cake, and cookies at a break-neck pace. I go from being a reasonable nutritious eater, to behaving like an all-out Sugar Monster.

That’s two M&M cookies, with chocolate buttercream sandwiched between them.

Bad moods. Cravings. Mindlessly wolfing down any baked good within reach.

But this time, I’ve been able to look back and realize why I let this happen. Previously I’ve just wrung my hands, felt guilty, and swore off sweets for good…which obviously works just marvelously.

I have been sick more than I have been well for the last month or so. First it was the stomach flu and then I came down with a nasty cold that morphed into an even worse sinus infection.

On day 7 of what would turn out to be a solid 14 day illness, I had enough. I’d been in bed and feeling miserable for a week. I needed a pick-me-up and lurking in my pantry was a brownie mix.

I enjoyed more than my fair share of those brownies. Too many. The delicate balance had been tipped and now I was craving more goodies. In the aftermath of my brownie festival, I discovered a local bakery that will sell you gigantic cream-cheese-covered cinnamon rolls from a drive-thru window!

A body can only take so much and I started to feel like hell.

I thought about quitting sugar. There are plenty of reasons to do it and, for me, there is an obvious correlation between consuming too much sugar and becoming a cranky, impatient, edgy mom.

But I like sweets. That cookie in the photo above, is a rare treat that I look forward to. Those drive-thru cinnamon rolls are going to make everyone in my house very happy some random Saturday morning. Birthday cake is pretty much the best idea ever.

Cooking and sharing something delicious with people I love is important to me, but it is important that I differentiate those meals and moments from when I haphazardly eat half a cake, standing in my kitchen with a cup of coffee in my hand.

I’m not quitting sugar, but I think I’m going to stick to single-serving treats for awhile.


  • Starting Weight: 195.5 pounds
  • Week Twenty-Five Weight: 167 pounds ( -5.5 pounds in the last two weeks / -28.5 pounds total)
  • Goal Weight: 165 lbs

Where do you stand on sugar? Can you enjoy treat after treat without turning into a pile of rage? Are you like me and have to keep an eye on your treat intake? Any advice? I’m starting to see the merit in frozen yogurt….


Other posts you might enjoy…

Healthy Living for Mom: Cleaning Out the Closet 

Healthy Living for Mom: Rewards 

Healthy Living for Mom: The Buddy System 

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Comments (11)

  1. Lynn Smith 02/27/2012 at 3:04 pm

    I know exactly what you’re saying Erin. I go on sugar binges, knowing I’ll feel like crap. Then I can go for weeks with a minimum of sweets before I fall off the wagon again. I don’t even want to go into the genetics involved. . . . GL

    • Erin Oltmanns 03/06/2012 at 10:44 pm

      I blame the jell-O salad. And Heidi’s lemon rolls. 🙂

  2. Tara 02/24/2012 at 4:06 pm

    I started a healthier eating plan around the beginning of the year. It’s been going really well, and I haven’t been craving sweets at all.

    Twice, though, I’ve allowed myself to be talked into a large ice cream sundae from Friendly’s and, on a different occasion, a meal at the pizza buffet.

    Both times, I felt awful afterward. I couldn’t sleep. I was jittery and bloated and tired. I hope that I’ve learned my lesson well enough to forgo the sugary stuff next time. It is clearly so bad for our bodies.

    • Erin Oltmanns 03/06/2012 at 10:40 pm

      No cravings! That is wonderful! I can’t believe lousy sugar makes me feel. Why do brownies have to taste so good?

  3. Nina 02/24/2012 at 11:58 am

    I know when I my sweet tooth acts up and I indulge I get lethargic. I eat a modified Paleo diet otherwise to feel better. On weekends I allow myself a treat to avoid the over indulgence. Congrats on the weight loss.

    • Erin Oltmanns 03/06/2012 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you! I have been reading up on the Paleo diet, but I’m intimidated. I agree with enjoying a treat to avoid the lunatic binge. 🙂

  4. Adriane 02/24/2012 at 11:13 am

    Wow, Erin! You’re almost there!!!!

    PS…if it weren’t for this gluten thing for me, I would probably wolf down halves of cakes, too. So now I just indulge in other things. Like M&M’s and stuff like that. Eeeeek!

    • Erin Oltmanns 03/06/2012 at 10:42 pm

      Thank you! M&M’s are THE DEVIL, but they are still my favorite treat for the movies. At the end of March I’m going to see the Hunger Games and I’m going to take a small bag of M&M’s. It will pretty much be the highlight of my year.

  5. Allison Y. 02/24/2012 at 9:54 am

    Wow, only 2 pounds from goal!? That’s amazing.

    If I eat any treats other than sugar free fudgecicle type of stuff, I don’t lose.

    • Erin Oltmanns 03/06/2012 at 10:43 pm

      Allison, I thought about you and your amazing willpower when I was writing this. You are awesome! I’m going to have to get you to guest post.

      • Allison Y. 03/21/2012 at 10:55 am

        Just saw this – I would love to guest post. I would have to put some thought into my angle but it would be fun.