I don’t believe in short term diets or ridiculously and unnecessarily cutting out food groups as a better way to health. I will always preach moderation and a healthy relationship with food. It therefore seems wildly contradictory that I am doing a month-long no-sugar added challenge. My goal for this is not to lose weight or adopt this as a long term plan. I really just want to challenge myself to eat more whole and natural foods, ones that are less processed, and force myself to consider that though I don’t eat much of it, there is still excess added sugar in my current diet. I thought I would let you know my thoughts, updates, and interesting things that happen to you when you stop eating added sugar for 4 weeks.
So, it’s day one. I have the ridiculous mindset whenever I start these stupid challenges that because I’m giving up added sugar for a month, I should consume even MORE before the challenge begins. As if, my eating a chocolate bar the night before March 1st is going to cure me of sugar cravings for the entire month. Like, if I stuff my face full of sugar on the last day of the month then I probably won’t even want sugar for the next 4 weeks. I literally stopped at Safeway on my way home from spin class on Monday just to buy dark chocolate so I could eat it one last time before my challenge began. Ugh, food psychology at its finest.
Now that I’m bloated and feeling sick and pre-diabetic, I am ready for my new beginning. Let the challenge begin! Let the sugar-free journey to goddess yogi health immortality commence. Ah, think of how great I’ll feel in a month, when I can preach to all around me how the human body doesn’t need that sugar to survive. How my cravings vanished within days and I’ve discovered a new me. Woah, not sure if that vomit in my mouth is from that sentiment or the whole chocolate bar I ate last night.
I am completely fine with not eating added sugar at home. It’s easy to buy foods after reading the ingredients list. It’s easy to wander the produce aisles and think about how much of this colourful goodness you can consume without blowing the challenge. The tricky part is that our environment isn’t really sugar-free-friendly. I spent a solid hour grocery shopping on Sunday and an easy 27 minutes of that was trying to find vegetable broth to make soup that didn’t have added sugar.
Sure, everyone jumped on that gluten-free train as soon as it took off, but can I get a restaurant menu featuring sugar-free options? Hells no. It’s funny how as soon as you decide to try a new eating approach, the world seems to test you and see if you can even make it through day one. YEAH I’M LOOKING AT YOU WORK EVENT THAT IS SERVING COFFEE AND “TREATS” TODAY. I’m already starting to resent the people around me that haven’t internally committed to this challenge. Oh look at that bitch Karen, sitting at her desk eating her Fibre One granola bar without a care in the world. You know what’s in that granola bar Karen, besides happiness and an immediate rush of insulin? 9 GRAMS OF SUGAR.
By noon you feel like you’ve been through the worst. Someone asks you how your day is going and you say “fine,” while really thinking, “Well, I ate egg whites and spinach for breakfast, then walked passed my local bakery on the way to work and of course they had just thrown their cinnamon buns in the oven as I strolled past like the ignorant people they are. Then, I met my coworker for a meeting at a coffee shop and the barista had the audacity to ask if I wanted to try a new flavour of hazelnut syrup in my latte. OF COURSE I DO, but my physician recommendations, dentist, and internal OCD to finish the challenges I commit to won’t let me. RUDE I KNOW. Then I strolled past the office kitchen and saw that some asshole left a plate of banana bread on the counter with a cute little note that said “take some” with a smiley face that made me want to scream. So, yeah, that’s how my day’s been.”
It’s okay though, because you are slowly becoming the health god you know you are meant to be.
By the end of today I expect to be showing off to people how I survived the entire 17 hours I was awake without sugar. I’ll probably snap a photo of my sugar-less post-spin snack to my mom tonight and brag about how well I did today. The fact that I had weird sugar-envy rage all day aside, I am in full control of my blood sugar now.
It’s day one. Let’s all take a moment to mourn the loss of my nightly dark chocolate squares. Honestly, I’m optimistic. It’s not like I’m dropping a major food group or cutting out something that is actually beneficial to my diet. I am working on bettering the quality of food I eat. It’s simple really, read the ingredients, don’t eat out as much or when you do, go simple, and be a mindful eater.
Oh boy, here we go. Until next time in The Sugar-Free Chronicles, happy eating!
*My definition of added sugar = cane sugar, syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, etc. This doesn’t include fruits and natural sugars that are found in whole foods.