If you remember, a couple of weeks ago I told you all that I had had a couple days of sugar overdose lately and needed to take a little bit of a time out. Well, time out I have, and let me tell you, it has actually been glorious.
It’s now been two weeks that I’ve avoided all “added sugar”, and yes, that includes sweeteners such as honey, agave, etc. because sugar is sugar, people. I have, however, still been eating fruit, in fact at first I was craving it like there’s no tomorrow, but other than that it really has been surprisingly easy.
But to be perfectly honest, the two weeks has not been 100% sugar free. I cheated twice (intentionally), but I’ll explain why. The first was for Will’s father’s 70th birthday celebration last weekend. I had done a faithful week of no sugar, and honestly wasn’t having any sugar cravings, but at the birthday party there was ice cream cake. So I had about half of a small piece, because HELLO, ice cream cake! The following day, I was at an awards dinner with one of my colleagues. Honestly, the only reason I had any of the dessert wasn’t even because I wanted it, it was because I kind of felt weird being the only person at our table at this fancy dinner that wasn’t touching their dessert. So I had literally about two bites of a delicious chocolate mousse cake.
There’s just something about ice cream cake…
I did feel a little bit guilty after these two “cheats”, but not because of what I had eaten. I really just felt guilty because I was cheating on my own challenge. Oh, the shame! I guess in the grand scheme of things though, a few bites of decadent morsels over a two week period is really nothing to write home about. I think it’s also important to note that as long as it’s not going to throw you into the depths of a sugar binge, having a few bites of something “off plan” is not going to derail your efforts all that much.
The funny thing is, I would have expected that I would have gone absolutely crazy at the opportunity to have sugar on both of those occasions, but it was actually the exact opposite that happened. When I took a bite, I noticed how sweet they were, appreciated the flavors, but had a very easy time saying “no” to anymore than a couple of bites. Instead of gorging myself on sweets like I had heading into this little challenge, I was satisfied with just a small amount.
It’s funny, because before this, I didn’t think that I ate much sugar at all. But I think that I ate just enough sugar to have it be a fairly constant (although small) part of my diet, so my taste buds were just accustomed to it. So when it came to something truly sweet, it was almost as though I had to eat more of it to really appreciate it.
Now, without any added sugar on a daily basis, my taste buds are much more responsive to it. Just a little bit is good, and too much is, well, too much.
The best part about this whole thing though? Is that I haven’t even really had any sugar cravings at all. The first five days or so I had an inexplicable salt craving, but even that has gone away. Sure, there has been a few times where I’ve wanted some chocolate, but it’s been fleeting and nothing strong enough to call a craving. The other day, someone brought cupcakes into the office, and I didn’t even want one for a second.
Take away the consistent stream of sugar in your system, however insignificant it is, and your body easily forgets how much it wants it. It’s like I’m free from something that I didn’t even know had a hold of me.
Strange, but I’ll take it.
The only negative has been something that I think is related to the sugar, but I can’t be 100% sure. On Wednesday of each of the past two weeks (after having sugar over the weekend, and then none going into the week), I have felt tired, lethargic, and had the worst headache I can remember. This past Wednesday, I was positive that I was getting sick, and I felt like I probably had the plague or something equally as terrible. The next day though? I Woke up feeling fine both times. The only correlation I can find between the two is that they were both a few days after cutting out added sugar. The one thing that makes me question it though, is that my body was technically still getting “sugar”, although it was through apples and bananas, not honey in my morning yogurt. So was it the lack of sugar that made me feel like the plague after 3 days each week, or was it just a fluke that I felt equally crappy on the same day two weeks in a row?
It’s certainly something to ponder. Maybe I should do it again just to test the theory, although I’m not sure I can handle going through that headache again.
So now, it’s been two weeks with a few bites of dessert in the middle. What now? I’m going to keep going in general, but am going to allow added sugar back in on a very limited basis without stressing about it. A special occasion, the occasional special treat, but not every day. Not nearly every day. I’m going to keep the honey out of my yogurt bowl in the morning, and also the brown sugar out of my oatmeal. Candy around the office or dessert after the staff meeting? No thanks. Those things are really just unnecessary. If I want dessert a couple times per week, Ok, but without overdoing it. But you better believe that when I do have dessert, or a croissant from my favorite bakery, I’m going to savor and enjoy every morsel of it! I might even try to commit to doing a couple weeks of strict “no sugar added” every couple months or so, just for the heck of it.
Have you ever kept track of how much added sugar you eat per day? Do you count honey, agave, etc. in your added sugar total?