My friend was debating whether to quit smoking, so I suggested he try quitting for a month, then reevaluate whether he wanted to restart. To encourage him, I did a challenge of my own.

I stopped eating sugar for a month.

It was easy. Well, sort of.

I’m not the type of person who needs dessert after every meal, but I enjoy the occasional cheesecake and sugar pie (YUM!) In fact, sugar is one of the only addictions I allow myself.

I tried quitting a few times but failed miserably. This was nothing like that. I wasn’t trying to give up sugar; I was merely suspending my consumption for a short time. Still, I managed to screw it up.

Halfway through the month, I ate sugar.

It was an accident, but it still counted. How did it happen? I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for a little over a year, and each week, we take a mid-meeting break to chat and consume snacks. It’s become such a habit I didn’t notice what my hands and mouth were doing until AFTER I’d eaten a handful of gummy bears.

I tried to rationalize my actions—after all, the gummies were made from real fruit juice—but, deep down, I knew I’d failed. I could have given up, but I refused to let this setback derail me. I got right back on track and didn’t consume any desserts or candies for the remainder of the month.

The first thing I ate was a Rice Crispy Square. Honestly, it was WAY too sweet. Now that my body had grown accustomed to my new diet, refined sugar completely overpowered my taste buds. As a result, I’ve decided to rethink how I consume sugar.

I’ll still enjoy the occasional snack, but I’ll focus mostly on natural sugars—dried/frozen fruits, honey, and maple syrup. It’s only been a month, and I already feel WAY more healthy and energetic.