I’m addicted to sugar.
Even mid-way through stuffing a chocolate bar in my face, I’m worrying about when and what my next fix will be. I crave sweetness the moment I finish a meal and when I finally satisfy the yelling in my brain telling me to eat literally anything containing the white stuff, I get a sugar spike for ten wonderful minutes before an epic crash that leads me feeling so lethargic I’m almost falling asleep at my desk for the rest of the afternoon.
But perhaps worse still is my compulsion to comfort eat. The moment anything in life seems to go remotely off-track I reach for something sweet, and momentarily feel my entire body sigh with relief as I gorge on whatever I can get hold of. Recent achievements include eating a whole swiss roll in one night and the time I ate a packet of sweet popcorn and bag of chocolate raisins in one sitting. Of course the comfort doesn’t last. I’m left at the end of a binging session feeling sick and even more miserable when the sugar low kicks in. And while I try and keep the house empty of chocolate and sweets, I find myself desperately searching for other fixes; I’ve been known to chain eat handfuls of cornflakes for half an hour, or spoon jam from the jar if I’m desperate.
Why am I disclosing this gross information? Having recently failed to make modest cutbacks in my sugar intake I’ve decided it’s time to go a bit more extreme. I am using Lent to quit sugar. Cliché I know. But Lent provides the perfect amount of time to break a habit. And that is what I want to do: I want to break the addiction and reset my body.
I’ve done a lot of research over the last few weeks in preparation and one of the best resources I’ve come across so far is I Quit Sugar, by Sarah Wilson. This is an 8 week plan to going sugar free and in comparison to many diet books I have read it is incredibly down to earth and practical. As Lent is six weeks I will be skipping the first two weeks of the plan in which Sarah recommends initially just cutting back on your sugar intake. I’ve thought about this a lot and know that when it comes to sugar I can’t just cut back. Sarah explains in her book why many people have this problem. It is all to do with fructose. It is the only food that we don’t have a stop button to. The reason for it is in the cavemen days we would rarely come across sweet things, when we did find something like a berry bush, we would gorge ourselves on it as much as we could and immediately store the sugar as fat ready for when we needed it. Our bodies still do that but today sugar is so readily available that we no longer NEED to gorge but we still do.
And because fructose is the addictive stuff I’ve also decided to cut out fruit. This has alarmed many of those I’ve told so far but it is just a temporary decision while I break my habit. I want to be able to eat a meal and feel satisfied with it in itself. I know that if I allow myself a piece of fruit afterwards, or whenever I have a sweet craving, I am not going to break that habit of hankering after sugar. I will at the end of the plan, slowly begin to reintroduce it if I feel ready, just as Sarah’s book recommends.
I will very much be listening to my body throughout the next few weeks to monitor how it responds. My body has been telling me for a while that it’s not happy but I was either not sure what it wanted or was ignoring it. I’m hoping cutting out the sugar will rectify several complaints I’ve been having and make me more in tune with my body. In particular I’ll be focusing on:
- Quality of sleep
- Afternoon slump
- Stress and anxiety level
- Body image
This is partly why I am blogging about this. I want to monitor my progress as I go along so that I have a reminder of how I felt before the programme and how quitting sugar made me feel. Because I will inevitably slip up. But the trick is to not beat myself up for those relapses but acknowledge them and move on. Blogging about it also means I have some form of accountability and hopefully support. Because I am going to need it.
What’s your relationship with sugar? Leave me a comment.
Resources so far:
But I’m on the look out for more info. so leave your recommendations below!