I had to quit cold turkey - that is the only way it will work for me. I am not one of those who can eat 2 cookies and be happy. I can't have a small piece of cake and be satisfied. Once I start - I don't stop until I pretty much make myself sick. Set a cake in front of me with buttercream frosting and I go nuts. I have had my moments of demolishing a whole box of Little Debbies. I have terrible luck setting boundaries for myself when it comes to sweets. I know it is a pale comparison - but just like an alcoholic can't handle a glass of wine or one single beer - I can't handle just one candy bar. It sends me on a binge.
Understand when I say "sweets" - I am talking about cake, pie, candybars, candy. I am not totally "sugar free". I eat yogurt, fruit - I eat some things that are naturally sweetened - for whatever reason I don't have a problem with those types of foods. I just try to stay away from most anything that is sugar loaded.
Some other changes I have made - I have switched from diet coke to diet 7Up - diet cherry 7Up - less sodium - no caffiene.
I have lowered my sodium intake all the way around. I am using a salt substitute and reading labels to try to keep my intake under 2300 mg daily.
I am trying to watch my starches, too. With a lazy gallbladder - I am watching my fats more.
I am finding it easier and easier to just say no. It helps to find support in reading blogs of others who deal with the same kind of addiction and believe me it can be an addiction.
By the way - I have lost 6 pounds since going "cold turkey".