Ok, so the title is a little misleading. I kind of have and kind of haven’t stopped eating sugar. But I have made some big changes, and I thought I’d tell you about them!
I’ve always liked setting myself little challenges. I love the idea of a monthly challenge, and have done them in the past. But, have lagged a bit recently with ‘challenge Sam’!! I noticed that I was slowly eating more and more sugar. I was craving it. I don’t get enough sleep, work hard, exercise, mother, and all that, and I just felt exhausted all the time and was reaching for the easiest thing to give me a boost – sugar!
I’m pretty good at being strict in what I buy in the food shop. I rarely get sugary things in. But I noticed, I was starting to add in the odd packet of biscuits here and there. If I was out and about, I was ‘treating’ myself more than I’d have liked to. Now, I’m not really talking huge volumes of sugar here. It really would be the odd thing here and there. But I didn’t like the craving element, like I was becoming a slave to it.
The other thing is I’ve been trying to lose weight for a good while now (like my whole adult life!!). It’s been down and up and down and up, and I’ve not really managed to get it down again after having Sienna, despite doing a good bit of exercise. I have a shocking metabolism and an underactive thryoid, and I think my sugar consumption was making this worse.
So, I decided to go sugar-free for September. Though not 100% sugar free. I didn’t scrutinise labels. I had a bowl of soup one day, then looked at the tin after and there was sugar in the ingredients list. I’ve had ketchup, baked beans, and that kind of thing that does contain sugar. Mainly I wanted to stop the habit of picking at sugar – biscuits, chocolate, cakes, etc. And so I cut out anything that was obviously sugar. I didn’t cut out fruit though. I know the full ‘no sugar’ approach is to omit fruit too, but I decided to create my own rule of cutting out refined sugar, and still allowing myself fruit, and honey in my porridge. I also still drank alcohol. I have cut back my consumption of wine and prosecco recently, and am drinking more gin and slimline tonic, which has very little sugar content. But, we’ve got to have our vices right?!
So, yes I quit sugar, but not completely in all it’s entirety. And I didn’t really find it that hard. There were days when I fancied something. But I didn’t feel gutted or depressed that I couldn’t have it. I had some fruit or a different snack, or nothing at all even, and just got over it! I didn’t really feel all that different I don’t think. Though looking back, I do think my energy levels were a little higher. I wasn’t experiencing as many sudden waves of complete exhaustion.
Once September ended, I didn’t go on a major sugar binge. Instead I decided to carry on, but maybe not be quite so strict. I got through a trip to the Isle of Man and a few days away on a holiday park, without giving in. I got to October 23rd before caving and having some chocolate. It tasted good. But not as good as not having it has felt. Does that make sense? I’ve heard the saying that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ and scoffed at it. But actually, I kind of get it in a different sense. Like, that chocolate didn’t really taste as good as I expected it to, and challenging myself has felt more rewarding than a piece of chocolate ever could.
So, I’m back on track now. I think I’ll probably allow myself one treat a week, if I fancy it. A slice of cake or a bit of chocolate (not a complete sugar binge!), because I don’t want to deny myself the good stuff forever. Watching the Bake Off made me a bit sad to think I might never get to experience the delights of a good slice of cake again, so I think this is more workable going forward!
And finally, the weight is starting to shift. It’s not been dramatic. But I’ve definitely lost more weight than I have since having Sienna, while still having treats of takeaways or meals out. And I have more energy, I’m not as exhausted as once I was. I’ve heard that sugar can also affect hormones. I’ve read of people quitting sugar to overcome PMS. I haven’t really experienced that. I still feel like my hormones are a bit all over the place, but hopefully carrying on the no sugar will help that.
And I decided for October’s challenge to go with no bread, another thing I’m going to continue. I can physically feel the difference in my body when I eat bread. My tummy swells, I feel sluggish and uncomfortable. I’ve probably missed bread more than sugar in all honesty. I love egg and toast for breakfast. Toast is an easy mid-morning snack. And bacon butties…I don’t want to think about what I’m missing really! But again it’s having a positive impact on my weight. It’s not just the bread, it’s what goes in it too that I’m having less of – butter, cheese, mayonnaise, etc.
I don’t want to be one of those ‘I don’t eat this and I don’t eat that’ people. It’s not me. And I do still have a lot of naughties – particularly alcohol and takeaways! So, I really hope no one thinks I’m some nutrition-focused person, because I’m not really! But making these changes has definitely had a positive impact. And the upshot is, it’s passing on to my family too. I no longer offer the girls anything sugary as a snack. It’s just fruit or healthy kid snacks for them now. They’re not sugar free by any means – just yesterday I treated them to cake while we were out! But they are definitely having less. And Ella’s mood actually seems to be much improved recently. I do wonder if the two are related.
It’s all too easy to reach for the sugar, to keep both us and kids happy. But I’m realising that it definitely has a negative impact overall and I’m really glad that I decided to make the change. It honestly hasn’t been as hard as I ever expected it to be.