“Sweet Defeat Helped Break My Six-Sodas-a-Day Habit”
In 2006 I was homeless and living in a stripped out Chevy van with my Rottweiler and my cat. By 2009 I was at Oxford University in England, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd at TED Global about my year and a half of “being invisible” as a 50-year-old homeless woman. Today, I’ve lost almost 100 pounds, on the road to reaching my goal weight and hopefully reversing my diabetes, partly thanks to the help of Sweet Defeat lozenges.
But let me go back and tell you more about my past. It wasn’t just that time of being homeless that I felt invisible. It was an entire adulthood of being overweight that made me really feel invisible. As a child, I was always super skinny and active. But in college I had a severe back injury and became inactive, and that’s when I began to struggle with my weight and to drink sodas in increasing amounts. The weight crept up over the next 30 years until I weighed more than 200 pounds.
When my dad died in 2006, I quit my job as a Colorado newspaper editor, bought a van, and hit the road to travel—something my dad regretted never having done once he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The travel was great as long as freelancing opportunities existed, but when the van needed work and the work dried up, I had to get a 9-to-5 job. The only job I could get paid $11 an hour. That wasn’t enough to afford an apartment in Denver, so I lived in the van. Cheap food is unhealthy food, and my weight ballooned up to 273 pounds.
When I finally managed to find another journalism job 18 months later, I managed to start eating healthier and lost 50 pounds. By the time I appeared on the TED Global stage, I weighed 225 pounds, but was still not healthy. I had quit the journalism job the previous year because of health issues, and instead was writing a book that would take me to Africa twice for weeks at a time.
The problem was, I had to have more than a dozen vaccinations in less than two months’ time. I had a physical at that time and was healthy and non-diabetic, but when I came back from Africa in 2013, I was very sick. My doctor said the vaccinations may have overwhelmed my immune system and that I was now diabetic. But with weight loss and cutting out all sugar, she said, I might be able to reverse it.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. That results in the abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine. You don’t have to be overweight to get it, but ultimately obesity does play a role in developing it. The best way to treat diabetes is to reduce or eliminate sugar in the body.
For three years, I tried to cut out sodas—my only real sugar nemesis. I was eating healthy, but I was drinking almost a six-pack of 12-ounce sodas a day. My blood sugars stayed at 350-440—seriously, critically high. At those levels, my organs were being damaged. For me, normal should have ranged between 90 and 120. Even knowing I was killing myself each time I drank a soda, I couldn’t stop. Experts say sugar is more addictive than heroin, and I believe it.
I got my weight down to 204 with diet and exercise, but I just could not kick the sugar habit—until a friend recommended Sweet Defeat. I was skeptical, but I ordered some and tried it. I could tell a difference with the first lozenge. I still craved the soda, but I couldn’t taste the sweetness when I sipped it, which made it no fun and not psychologically rewarding to drink. I ended up pouring the soda down the sink, unable to enjoy it.
Sweet Defeat doesn’t cure or treat diabetes, but it does interrupt the craving cycle of tasting something sweet and wanting more—a huge problem for diabetics like me. I started taking Sweet Defeat lozenges about half-a-dozen times a day, whenever I craved a soda. Eventually, I was able to break my six-sodas-a-day habit.
That led to a decrease in sugar in my blood, and my blood sugar levels dropped from the 400s to 110-140. My weight also started falling. At 140-150 calories per 12-ounce can of soda, I was packing in the liquid calories!
After eight weeks, by continuing with a ketogenic diet, walking 30-60 minutes a day, and maintaining the insulin (my doctor prescribed 50 units twice a day), I was able to lower my blood sugar, and my weight dropped to 180 pounds. I’m continuing to work on losing the last 50 pounds my doctor recommends and to reach my goal weight of 130—and hopefully reverse my diabetes altogether.
It’s not easy. Don’t let anyone tell you it is. The discipline of a healthy diet and regular exercise is a challenge. The great thing is, Sweet Defeat is my ally—it helps me beat that one seemingly unbeatable craving, the desire for something sweet. And if you’re a diabetic, you know that when you cut out carbs and change your eating habits so drastically, it can seem almost impossible to eliminate those times of the day you crave something sweet. But Sweet Defeat did it for me, and it can do it for you.