THE BLOG
03/31/2016 04:03 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2017

Experiments in Happiness: No Sugar, One Month

Recap: My New Year's resolution is to stop externalizing my happiness, so I'm experimenting with my behaviors and habits -- one per month -- in order to become a more self-aware, self-assured person. You can access my archive for past installments.

March: No sugar, one month

I am this close to defrosted Girl Scout Cookies, people. It's my last day of no refined sugar, and I am really looking forward to cracking those bad boys open tomorrow. The past week brought with it a lot of temptations, mostly because of Easter and how generous my coworkers are with candy and baked goods. Cadbury Creme Eggs? I mean, come on.

I was also traveling this past weekend, and not tasting the chocolate marshmallow lava cake and the homemade biscotti was rough, especially because it felt like a special occasion. Again, I keep coming back to the idea that giving up something -- whether it be alcohol or sugar or carbs -- categorically and forever without compelling personal or medical reasons seems like it takes a little bit of the fun and spontaneity out of life.

Giving up sugar for a month definitely makes me aware that I could totally live without it -- I just don't really want to. It also makes me feel, weirdly, really icked out by the idea of eating a whole piece of cake or drinking a soda. After 4 weeks without refined sugar, fruit tastes really sweet, bread tastes really sweet, milk tastes really sweet... And the thought of drinking a Coke or eating a slice of chocolate cake honestly sounds overwhelming. I predict that when I do bust out the Samoas tomorrow, I'm going to eat one and decide I'm done -- which will make them last longer!

I have continued to lose some weight, which is probably to be expected. I'm down about 4 pounds since the top of the month, and I'll probably keep an eye on my sugar intake just because that seems like an easy way to shed a few extra pounds before summer -- not to go all women's magazine on you. I noticed in the first two weeks I wasn't sleeping well, and that's evened out a bit, perhaps thanks to starting to take melatonin supplements. I don't feel as fitful throughout the night anymore, and I even slept completely through the night once or twice. (Usually I get up at least once to go to the bathroom.)

I also noticed that my skin went whacky for about three weeks, and is only just now starting to calm down. Really, I can't 100 percent say that this is due to my drastically lower refined sugar intake, but what kind of scientist would I be if I didn't note all the changes I'm seeing? (Answer: Still a bad one.)

For April, I think I'll be swinging back over to the mental/spiritual side of things and stop messing with my diet. So for the next month, I'll be keeping a gratitude journal. Ever since January, I've been working hard to dig myself out of an emotional ditch. It's really hard for me to concentrate on the positive things in my life, and every problem and setback seems monumentally huge and tends to preoccupy me. Let's see if forcing myself to pick out the good things in every day refocuses that a little!

See you in two weeks!