I have given up sugar before for more than 30 days.
But it’s been a while, I think I can safely say I haven’t done more than 7 days in over 3/ 4 years.
So yes, I am ashamed to say, I was eating quite a bit of rubbish. In my defence, there was also a lot of healthy in there too.
But by mid-afternoon I was reaching for the biscuits and chocolate. Well, anything I could push in my mouth quickly.
I can do 7 days easily, so why not 30 I thought.
After all I am a habit specialist, time to put my money where my mouth was. I’ve got pretty much everything else cracked.
Time to bash the sugar.
Here is what I learnt:
· It’s good to plan for it. Know when you are starting. Not long in advance just a few days.
· It really helps if you get all the rubbish out of the house, I don’t know about you but I don’t want any temptations in the early days. If it’s there I am going to eat it.
· Don’t make it complicated, just eat healthy whole foods. People talk about dried fruit, fruit and fruit smoothies, different types of sugar. But Initially I think it’s easier if you just cut out the crap. Otherwise you can run the risk of being too restrictive.
· If you want to take it further and become a sugar boffin then take specialist advice. 1 hr with a good nutritionist will set you up. There is so much information out there, especially about sugar. Being able to talk to someone who really knows their stuff makes all the difference. Thanks Rachel Martino .
· Variety is the spice of life, you need to eat lots of different types of whole foods, mix it up. Eat things you wouldn’t normally eat, make it colourful. Otherwise you can get bored.
· Variety and recipes get more important as time goes on. “I hate cooking” I here you say. I know I am with you on that one. I picked 3 different recipes a week just to keep me interested but not at the point I couldn’t bare it because I was cooking and washing up all the time.
· Be prepared, make sure you always have a banana or nuts or both. Any healthy snack really to hand. There will be times when you get cravings, that’s normal. So, if you have something in your bag that’s healthy it will be ok.
· There is bloody sugar everywhere. A couple of weeks in I became aware of it. Posters of food, food in shops, looking at food and thinking most of it has sugar in it. When you can’t have it and you are trying to find things you can eat, you suddenly notice that there is a lot of food around you that is off the menu.
· My teenager eats a lot of sugar.
· I love chocolate and I have yet to find a good healthy chocolate substitute.
· After a while, not long actually 4 -5 days your taste buds change, I mean really change. Sugar free banana cake tastes good, I mean REALLY good. A couple of weeks in things start to taste good, I got quite excited about a sesame, ginger, garlic, nut butter, soya and lime sauce I made, the flavours where amazing.
· It’s easier if you do it with someone. It could be a group of people, or just one person. Doing it with the lovely One Year No Beer peoples made it easy.
· Going out is tough. I’m not kidding on this one. I would go so far as to say a wedding is nearly impossible. What do you drink? I don’t mind not drinking, it doesn’t bother me at all. But there is a real need for someone to come up with different tasting non-alcoholic drinks that aren’t super sugary. There is only so much soda with fruit in you can drink, trust me.
· I like being aware of what I am eating and when. Mindful eating. When we did the 30 days we took advice from a nutritionist. She said for us to chew our food more, 30 x if we can. I really struggled with that and will need to keep working on it.
· You need to drink more water than you think you do.
· Your teeth feel amazing after a while.
· If you have given up booze, or drugs or both, then seriously after the first week this is easy. You recognise all those things you learnt when you gave up, it’s like using a muscle that you have used before, its familiar giving up. You can do it.
Stephanie Chivers is a habit and addiction specialist. She works mostly with women to change their relationship with alcohol.
If you want to learn more about taking a break from sugar check out Sarah Wilsons website and recipe books https://iquitsugar.com/