I am a self confessed sugar addict. Like a proper sugar addict.
I tried earlier in the summer to curb my sugar habit. It didn’t go as well as I had planned as in I still was consuming a lot of sugar! I wouldn’t say I am the worst at eating sugar but it had definitely become a habit of mine. I don’t even feel particularly hungry and I will snack on something. I find it a little tricky in the evenings when I am out with friends as I don’t drink alcohol or when I do it’s a tiny amount. I would substitute my drink to a soda water with fresh lime or a diet coke with ice. I would occasionally do a virgin drink of something like a mojito – again all of the substitutes have a sugar content of some form.
- Diet Coke (who doesn’t deserce a diet coke break… or two or three)
- Chocolate bar – my favourite would be a Lindt dark chocolate with orange or salted caramel
- Cookies (lots of them as they clearly help with procrastinating from my to do list)
- Pain au Raisin as a mid morning snack (I’m not even a big fan of pastries)
- Piece of cake from the tea shop
My habit of drinking a diet coke to unwind after work was a mini ritual for me to destress and started as an occasional habit… It would include sitting on the sofa and simply having a chill out moment. I would sometimes make a call to a friend or family. But most the time it was a moment to disconnect and decompress. This habit started creeping into my day at work or over the weekend.
When I was traveling I was consuming a lot less sugar and when I was having the sugar it wasn’t processed. It was more likely to be fresh fruit or a fruit juice rather than chocolates and cookies.
I decided I was in need of some help on the sugar front… I had watched a couple of lectures by Sarah Wilson who created the I Quit Sugar program. She made me think about all the places where the sugars are hidden such as sauces, drinks, ready prepped food in the supermarket to cupboard staples. I signed up to the 8week program. It’s been really interesting and the program is supportive. There is an online community that you connect with to share and get support from depending on whether you want to or not. The option is great to have.
I made it clear to family and friends that I was on a mission to cut down on my sugar. My sister was half joking in telling me that she wanted to know the dates I was doing this for so she could avoid/have minimal contact during the withdrawal weeks! At home, I had to make a few changes of using up things and imposing a ban on sweet treats being in the house. If they aren’t there then they can’t distract me from the goal of cutting out sugar. The first week of the IQS program is about reducing your sugar intake in preparation for the cold turkey stage. I found this stage to be quite funny as in my sugar addict head I kept thinking this will be the last time for a long time that I will have a diet coke so I am going to saviour it and really draw it out. There wasn’t a thought of oh I should stop now and be proud of myself taking a step in the right direction! The program sends you updates with info from shopping lists for meal plans, snack alternatives, insight into the issues surrounding sugars and generally a feel good vibe to support you in the transition to no sugar. There is part of the program where you don’t have any sugar processed or fruit/natural followed by the reintroduction to fruit and natural sugar.
Week 1 and 2 of the no sugar were the most interesting in sense of reaction to stopping all sugar (processed and fruit). I had crazy headaches that wouldn’t really shift with anything, I was incredibly thirsty throughout the day, gassy, and a bit fatigued. I found that as time went on I was far more prepared in having snacks with me on the go to curb any hunger pangs I felt. I had a transition in listening to when my body was actually hungry and then fuelling up on snacks that would sustain me for longer whilst on the go. I had a moment on one of the days where I was out and couldn’t find anything that would be suitable so just bought a water and had that. I keep little snacks like almond butter shots in my bag so that if I do want something then I can have it but the meals I have been having were sustaining me on the whole throughout the day.
I am now just over half way with the program. I am not sure if I will really lose much weight in the process. The benefits that I have experienced so far include more energy, skin clearing up on my face and being visibly brighter, sleeping better, fewer energy crashes, snacking less, feeling like my cellulite on my legs is fading a bit. Oh and my bestie’s added feedback was that I seem much happier and energised when I’m doing things so far with the no sugar.
There will be a follow up post when I complete the program and how the remaining weeks are for me.
Check out I Quit Sugar for more info on the program, recipe ideas or lots interesting articles.