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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

  • Day 42: SugarShock.Com Interviews Me About Quitting Candy

    Date: 2010.04.10 | Category: Interviews | Response: 0

    The new millennium’s queen of No Sugar, Connie Bennett, runs an empire over at all aimed at helping people kick sweet stuff that is bad for you. Connie is celebrating her 12th year off ALL sugar (yikes!) this month.

    She recently interviewed me for her blog after I had a month off candy which I excerpt a bit below:

    Connie:  Dana, what made you decide to quit candy and to announce publicly, on a blog?

    Dana: The idea to stop eating candy and blog about it came to me like a bolt out of the blue the night of my birthday on February 27. It’s almost as if a power greater than me to stay on the straight and narrow was to go public with this.

    I’ve tried to quit candies and sweets so many times before – always beginning with the greatest of intentions – and then I’d last anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks, but I’d always find some reason to go back to it. I would then lose my motivation, and that’d be the end of it. And it set up the cycle of being discouraged that I couldn’t get the monkey off my back.

    Connie:  Well, you certainly came up with a clever way of holding yourself “accountable,” to use life-coaching parlance.

    Dana: Well, what motivates me more than anything is the idea of a challenge, and the blog is a public challenge to myself. The blog is like my conscience. People could tell me all day long how bad candy is for me, what emotional effects it has on me and what [nutrient-poor] ingredients are in it, but what gives me more motivation is having to be held accountable to somebody or something — in this case, the blog.

    Unwittingly, I did the perfect thing for my personality, which is to issue a public challenge to myself. Although I know that if I fall off the wagon tomorrow and close my blog, I’m sure the world would go on, but in my mind, I would have failed with this personal challenge. The blog is really me saying to the public and to myself — this is what I’m going to do — please support me.

    Connie:  Has your blog led to any unexpected reactions?

    Dana:  Yes. What’s been really surprising is the number of people, who have reacted positively to the blog and who wrote to say that they were inspired and that they’ve [been helped by] things they’ve learned on the blog. I’m really surprised that people like it.

    Connie:  I’m not surprised. Dana, again, let me congratulate you for surviving a month without candies. That’s a major accomplishment. How were you able to pull it off?

    Dana: Support has helped me keep going — which is the name of the game if you’re trying to give up any kind of addiction.

    Connie:  Now that you’ve gone a month being candy-free, how have things changed for you?

    Dana:  Lots of things have changed. First off, I’ve been helped by lots of people [whom I’ve connected with] because of the blog, including you. I’ve received a lot of support that I didn’t expect to get. It’s a completely different experience [to quit sugar while writing a blog] than to kick sweets by yourself. If you’re an alcoholic, you can go to AA every night and be with people who have your issues all the time, and it’s taken seriously. But if you say, “I wish I could have some fudge,” [many] people who don’t understand look at you [with confusion].

    Connie:  How else do you feel differently now that you’re not eating sweets?

    Dana: I feel lighter – and not just weight-wise – although I’ve lost 5 pounds so far.  I feel happier. And I feel like people are easier to get along with. I feel like I’m starting to conquer my candy addiction – and that makes me feel lighter.

    Read the entire interview here and one question of my own:

    Is my head looking a bit swollen with all this attention?

    Hope so!


  • Day 5: Cue the (Real) Sun

    Date: 2010.03.04 | Category: Interviews | Response: 3

    I planned to ask the questions when Connie Bennett, Queen of all that is Sugar-Free in the Universe, and I spoke on the phone tonight from her Manhattan hq at Connie, if you don’t know, is Martin Luther King of the kick-sugar world. Connie has a dream – and that is to help everyone who wants to – get off sweets.

    She wants to help me. Theoretically, I want and need help. I think.

    But it’s strange and awkward to be the one being asked questions when you’re the one who does the asking. (See also: entire career.)

    Connie knows how to ask questions (she’s a former journalist) – as well as help (certified life coach.)

    “What is your goal in giving up sugar?” Connie asked me.

    Here’s the thing. Today I’m not so sure I want to. Had another stressful day – four hours at post offices tracking a lost painting my cousin mailed me from the U.S. – or was it stressful because I wasn’t eating candy along the way?

    So I didn’t want to talk goals to Connie. I wanted to ask her what is the point, really, of doing this.

    Quitting sweets is a great idea, sure, the night before you actually start doing it.

    I couldn’t escape Connie’s questions, though. It reminded me of how I ask people questions. Lots of things about Connie reminded me of me.

    “Where do you see yourself three months from now?” Connie pressed.

    “This is where I have conflict,” I said.

    “Tell me about the conflict,” she said.

    Hey, what am I doing on the couch?

    Plus, I’ve interviewed so many people that when I’m being interviewed, I feel a false self come up, as I’m parroting some of the more canned responses I’ve gotten over the years.

    It was hard to explain the conflict because I don’t really understand it myself. I love candy, I think, but I don’t love being a slave to it.

    Connie listened. She wanted me to think about what my life would be like in a year from now if I gave up sweets.

    Well, I said dutifully. I’ll probably lose weight. I’ll probably be calmer. I’ll be healthier.

    But I don’t know if I want to do this, I said.

    The more questions Connie asked, the more awkward and fake I felt answering them. The more uncomfortable I felt, the more feelings came up. Paging Dr. Phil.

    Every cliche in the book came up. Like I didn’t want to say goodbye to things. I didn’t really want to move on. I like the past.

    “Perfectly normal,” said Connie. “There’s often an emotional attachment to sugar.”

    “Ugh,” I said, or something like that. This sounds corny, I told her, but it’s as if I give up, sweets, well yay for me – but it’s going to be as if every day from now on is going to be cloudy.

    There won’t be any sun. Maybe some organic peanut butter but no sun.

    Connie suggested what I thought of as sun might be fake sun.

    Connie was driving along Pacific Coast Highway one day after she had kicked sugar, she said, and she realized that she felt as if she was seeing the sun for the first time. Really seeing it.

    “You have to trust me, the sun will be out,” she said.

    I do trust her.

    She gave me four assignments:

    1. Write about a typical day and how much candy and sweets I eat. (Ate?)

    2. Write about my resistance to this. (Easy!)

    3. Write about the benefits to your life a year from now if you stick with this. (A year seems like a long time from now.)

    4. Write about what you can do instead when you feel like reaching for something sweet. (Lie down in the middle of the street and scream?)

    Forecast for tomorrow in my neck of the woods: rain.

    Sun to come out on the weekend.

    If you’re interested in being coached by Connie, click below:


    Read Connie’s March 2 AOL piece here about Ellen De Generes and Jeff Garlin kicking sweets.

    More on Connie to come.

    Keep paddling. I hear there’s real light at the end of this.


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This American candy addict/journalist in France writes about quitting candy – and all desserts – for at least one year beginning Feb. 28, 2010. Follow my progress – or relapses – as I delete candy corn, moelleux au chocolat, peppermint patties, Carambars, tarte tatin, After Eights, crème brûlée, Nutella, tapioca pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Haribo Polkas, M & Ms and more from my life. Learn about the evils of white sugar and its effects on mood and health from my interviews with experts and friends! Let the sugar fog lift!

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