Believe it or not, this is not a gif of Miss Piggy, but an image of me on an average workday. Or at least it was me, as I have now successfully completed my first sugar free week!
I'll be honest, I still can't quite believe that I've gone a whole week without sugar, and not at least tried to kill someone. This is something I never ever thought that I could do, and I can see how hard it must be for people to give up smoking and drinking when I couldn't even give up something so silly!
As you can imagine, I am therefore writing this with a HUGE grin on my face, I feel like I've really accomplished something. Although to someone else this may seem so small and trivial - to me it is a real achievement and I am actually surprised but how easy it was in the end. Sure I had some cravings, but nothing I couldn't distract myself from (I reread the whole Harry Potter series - in hindsight maybe not such as a good idea as every other scene seems to contain a feast!) and after a few days I felt ok. Sure, I wanted a strawberry tart, but I was able to ask myself 'why?' and really consider what good it brought me over a non sugary snack. Surely if I was hungry then I would want anything - so why did I always reach for the nearest Snickers?
I've already noticed a few changes since giving up the white stuff. There are little differences such as my skin starting to clear up, having more energy - no more mid afternoon slumps, and I was definitely a much brighter person. All in all I would say that the sacrifice was worthwhile and something I'm going to keep up. I think that in my head I built up going without sugar and made it seem like it was a big scary thing, when really it's just about making better choices. I didn't feel like I was going without at all - instead of a bar of chocolate I was having a small bowl of fresh strawberries instead, so I was still getting something sweet just without the guilt. I also had two pounds drop off me like that.
If there is anyone out there looking to give up sugar then go for it! Just make sure you have plenty of other tasty, non sugary things prepared and lots of distractions. When I was feeling a bit wobbly I just took my pug out for a walk (I found I never feel I want to eat anything after I've been out in the fresh air) or stuck my nose in a book. I'll make a list of my top tips below:
MY TOP TIPS FOR QUITTING SUGAR
1) Don't go without! - If you're used to having a little something at a certain time each day, then don't think you can't have anything just because you're off sugar. Just be a bit more prepared and have some berries or something else ready. I had a very small pot of natural yoghurt when I got in from work & before I took the dog out for a walk as I can usually feel a bit shaky at this time of day.
2) Have plenty of distractions - Line up a series of books, or a box set to get through. Something that will really grip you so you either can't get to the kitchen as you just need to see what happens next, or you're too engaged to realise you fancy a snack.
3) Tell everyone - they will keep you accountable!
4) Take a picture of your skin before and after - seeing the difference in brightness will make you swear off sugar forever. It's super ageing, and to me that is as good a reason as any to give it up.
5) Brush your teeth after meals - you won't want to spoil your lovely minty fresh breath by consuming anything else.
6) Start a new routine - perhaps have a mug of mint or green tea after meals? I prefer hot water and a lemon, it's meant to aid digestion but it also seems to signal to me that thats the end of the meal, and kind of fills up the space I always have left for pudding.
7) Go for a walk - lots of lovely fresh air will do you the world of good. Just don't go near any shops!
8) Keep yourself occupied - in the same way as a book & a box set can distract you, plan out some new activities to do which keeps you away from the snack cupboard, or catch up on some errands. I must have washed every piece of clothing I owned last week, as well as cleaning the kitchen several times and teaching my dog two new tricks.
9) Remind yourself of what your end goal is - sure a few squares of chocolate every so often isn't going to prevent you reaching your target, but if you're addicted to sugar and those few squares seem to be happening each and every day then it's going to make the journey that bit longer. Plus it stops you from truly gaining that discipline that you need to exercise in order to smash your targets.
10) Go full cold turkey. Just don't buy anything! If it's not in the house then I won't eat it, so I'm just not going near it. Not even biscuits.
Anyway, I hope this helps a few people - I wouldn't say that I was scratching my eyes out last week over a bar of chocolate but I certainly think keeping myself occupied and preparing a bunch of other snacks kept me from storming the local corner shop. It's always good to be prepared and to have a few tricks up your sleeve when you're trying to go cold turkey from something. In the past when I've tried to give up sugar I've felt like Renton in that scene from 'Trainspotting' so I wanted to make it as easy as possible for myself this time round.
Let me know what you think!