For September I thought I would try two 30 day challenges. The first is to give up sugar (eek!) and the second is to do a 30 day abs challenge (more on that in another post).
The sugar thing has been somewhat influenced by all the negative press about sugar that is around at the moment. But mostly it’s because I have a very sweet tooth, and whenever I have had a savoury meal, I always crave something sweet. No doubt linked to our family habit of having pudding after our meals as I was growing up (note to self – make sure I don’t create the same habit in Holly).
The Slimming World healthy eating plan I am doing helps me restrict the amount of sweet things I eat, but I still get cravings. So I thought I would see if giving up sugar completely for a month would make any difference. Now a lot of die hard sugar critics have given up all processed sugars (including fruit, bread, flour, pasta and rice), but frankly I think they are mad, so I’m giving up all obviously sugary things like chocolate, cake, biscuits etc. This includes my beloved Alpen Light bars that I often eat as a snack, but I don’t have to give up cereal as mine is Dorset Cereals Simply Nutty muesli and it has no added sugar.
I also don’t eat much processed food (baked beans occasionally!), so don’t have to worry about hidden sugars, and I don’t drink fruit juice (which is full of sugar) or have sugary drinks, so again, not something I need to worry about. I also don’t eat much bread, and eat brown basmati rice, which has a lower GI than other rice. I also often mix it with quinoa. I’m also transitioning over to brown pasta (I currently have half and half -mostly to trick Holly into eating it), and tend to have Courgetti a lot of the time these days (particularly as I grow yellow courgettes and tend to have a glut!).
I’m now 6 days in, and have been pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t been as painful as I thought it would be. Even Saturday night, watching X-Factor, I managed to refrain. No doubt helped by the fact I was alone, so there was nobody next to me eating chocolate! I do use Paul Mckenna’s I Can Make You Thin app from time to time. He has an NLP style ‘craving buster’ activity that I find actually works. If I fancy a snack, I’ve been having an apple and some cheese or a bag of skinny salted popcorn. Or a fruit salad with 0% Greek yogurt.
Update: I made it through the month, and was totally amazed that it just got easier and easier. I even managed to not have some of the amazing looking cakes at a charity coffee morning.
I broke my ‘fast’ on the last day of the month as I was at a work event with tiny cute cupcakes. I had a couple. And I could be one of those annoying people who says ‘and now I found them too sweet’. But f**k that – they tasted amazing!
And it’s now 3 days after the end of my 3 days and interestingly I’m not craving sugar, and haven’t yet gone back to my ‘a bit of chocolate a day’ habit. My plan is to be sugar free in the week, and indulge a bit at the weekend.
It has made me much more aware of my sugar consumption, and how much my daughter is eating. I’ve now switched her to low sugar cereals (I found shredded wheat bite size and wetabix were the best,and there is now a low sugar version of Cheerios). So far no complaints from her.
If you’re interested in the whole sugar debate then the Jamie Oliver Sugar Rush programme was very enlightening. And Davina McCall has a staged way of giving it up (though I think she is on the more extreme end of what you give up).
Have you ever given up sugar? How did you find it? Any tips?