I have always struggled with my addiction to sugar. I have written about it on numerous occasions, and with all the best intentions, tried to give it up with little success. On my journey to self improvement and better health, I have made massive changes over prolonged periods of time and now my general eating habits are fairly healthy. However, sugar has always been my biggest downfall. In particular chocolate. Chocolate is like a drug to me, I crave it, need it, get grumpy and nasty without it…or I used to.
I decided a few weeks ago that I would see how I could do with removing all the extra added sugar from my general eating. Now, a few things I should point out: pretty much all foods contain sugar of some sort, carbohydrates after all are saccharides. So I won’t be worrying about the carb content of my food in that sense – I don’t eat much bread due to being gluten and wheat intolerant, and to be honest carbs are not the big evil everyone makes them out to be (that’s a whole other blog post), but in short we need glycogen to fuel our muscles. The easiest source of that comes from carbohydrates, and that doesn’t automatically mean white processed starches. Vegetables and whole grains are the daddies when it comes to giving our bodies nutrient dense foods that contain carbohydrate so…ease up on the carb bashing people, your body needs it. Also, of late, I have been feeling frumpy, fat and utterly miserable. I have put weight back on (my clothes are not as comfortable as they were) and I feel like I’ve let myself go. Old habits have started to creep back in, so I need to nip them in the bud. I made a promise to myself a long time ago, to never go back to the old me and thankfully I now recognise those old habits when they rear their ugly heads. So….
True to form, the moment I decided that I need to omit extra sugar from my diet, I went on a binge. I immediately walked to my local shop and bought two small Raspberry Ruffles, a small bar of Bourneville and a sugary soft drink. And I scoffed the lot in 15 mins flat. I have a rebellious streak that flies in the face of everything I do. I’ve always had it, it’s a compulsion that I’ve never truly understood and I don’t think I ever will but I recognise it. To many reading this you may think three chocolate bars and a very sugary drink aren’t really a binge. But oh yes it is. In one sitting I consumed over 1000 calories and around 75g of sugar – that’s fifteen teaspoons, FIFTEEN, of sugar scoffed in approximately 10 minutes. THAT, is a binge!
The daft thing is, as anyone who has a binge like this will tell you, the satisfaction is momentary and within minutes you are filled with remorse at the fact you’ve thrown so much rubbish in your face because you craved something sweet. It’s absolutely ludicrous. Yet, I know all too well that I am not alone in this and that makes me quite sad.
Saturday just passed, I didn’t resolve to remove added sugars from my diet on that day, I decided that I would set a date so that if I needed to get a binge out of my system I could and I would slowly remove the sugars from my diet over the course of the week. The damnedest thing happened. I just stopped eating anything that wasn’t really healthy. Out went the chocolate, soft drinks, relishes etc and I removed as much added sugar from my diet in one day, in what I can only surmise as a rebellion against weening myself off (reverse physiology on yourself is quite something). I admit I have had the odd craving. I have stood in front of the free from section in the supermarket and have said loudly to myself, ‘you don’t need it, leave the free from chocolate buttons on the shelf’ as habit has been I automatically pick up a pack of those pure sugar and cocoa discs and scoff them mindlessly. Yes, I did get a odd look from another shopper, but I couldn’t give a rats arse!
You know something? It’s not been the massive ball ache I thought it would be. Seriously. I thought I was going to have a huge headache, become a grumpy so and so and have to go a number of rounds on the punch bag each day due to withdrawal. None of these symptoms have appeared, yet, although i am half expecting them to appear any moment. And the strangest thing? I can honestly say I’ve not missed chocolate, and for me that is HUGE!
So here I am, day 5 without chocolate or sugar as a whole (or at least I think it’s day five), the only thing with added sugar in, that has passed my lips, has been the odd glass of very weak blackcurrant squash and even now I’m already preferring good old fashioned tap water. I have more energy already (this is the most surprising element), and I’m smashing my workouts. We, Gav and I, have also set ourselves a training plan and we either run or workout every day except Saturdays where we might have a light jog if the mood takes us, and so far we’re hitting our 5 or 6am wake ups and are usually in the gym by 6:30/7am. It’s been a very determined and focused few days and I absolutely love it. That’s not to say I shall never have chocolate or a piece of cake again, it’s just instead of it being an occasional treat, I found myself ‘needing’ it every day. I found I would come up with the most idiotic excuses and that is an old habit I thought I’d overcome.
Some people who read this blog, may not have read the old No More Mrs Fatty McFat blog, and be wondering why I’m writing this? Well, when I started this journey I made the conscious decision to make an effort to not just be another ‘here are five exercises for fabulous arms’ trainer. I want to be honest with, well, the world I suppose and I most certainly need to be honest with myself and my clients. So in the interest of honesty, this category of my blog is all about my own continuing journey. I am, after all, only human.
I shall continue to let you know how the no sugar journey goes, but so far so good.