What really happens when you quit sugar
Sugar: You either love it, or you really love it and it seems near impossible to get away from.
Nutritionists call it "the new cocaine" - it's that addictive. And eating too much of it, as we all know, brings a whole host of negative health consequences.
Quitting sugar is something I've always wanted to do, just like I've always wanted to sing in front of an audience of thousands wearing a sequined jumpsuit, which is probably not going to happen anytime soon.
But the more I kept getting tagged in "healthy eating" posts on Facebook by my mum, the more I realised, maybe this is something that needs to be done.
I've always been pretty knowledgeable about good food. For example, I drink almond milk - make of that what you will. I also know sugar is the devil. I've watched That Sugar Film and I have the I Quit Sugar books. So it's come time to actually practice what I've preached (in my mind) for the past few years.
And to up my accountability, behold my life for seven days without sugar:
Since we're being honest here, this should really be "Day one, Take two", because on the first day of my attempt at quitting sugar, I blacked out and ate French toast.
So "Day one, Take two" sucked. I was grieving my loss of sweet goodness.
I figured the best thing to eat was eggs because they fill you up and taste good and, to me, eggs are the catch-all healthy food: Don't know what to eat? Chuck some eggs on. Toast looking bland? Add an egg!
I was okay with lunch, a chicken salad. Then 3pm hit. It's that dreaded time of the day where you feel like a woman in a chocolate commercial. My self-control had one hell of a workout here. I ended up getting very grumpy and depressed, consumed by thoughts about how my life would only get worse from here.
I'm still trapped in my personal version of self-imposed hell. But today I'm a little better prepared: I cut up some carrots and ate them with peanut butter, which I kept telling everyone is my favourite snack. It's not. My favourite snack is chocolate but I'm confident one day I'll believe the lie.
In my efforts to cut out sugar, I'm not eating fruit. So I can't even have an apple to curb my cravings, which is a hard pill to swallow. When you can't even eat something that boring and call it a treat what joy is there left in life?
Today I found the key to keeping on the straight and narrow when battling an addiction: Distraction. I was so productive I think I covered about a month's worth of work in one sitting. When I got home I cleaned the house, did two loads of washing and painted my nails. It's incredible what you can do when you stop thinking about food for five seconds.
I also revived my love for yoga. It turns out seeing yourself doing downward dog is enough motivation for anyone to quit sugar, because no one looks flattering in that position.
Surprisingly, the pain is starting to ease and today I discovered another great tool in my bid to quit sugar: Lots of herbal tea. If you go into a supermarket and pretend that all the tea is yum as lollies you'll have a field day.
There are so many flavours, it's quite fun to go and buy a whole bunch. Do not, I repeat, do not get fooled by the "toffee" flavoured teas though. They are not toffee. They are yuck.
It's a Friday, which sucks because usually I treat myself to French toast from the cafe at work. I also treat myself on Mondays and Tuesdays but, since it's Friday, I treat myself and have the right to call it a treat.
Instead I had beetroot, avocado and egg on toast. I mean, it was fine but it wasn't French toast.
Now that I've reached day five, though, I'm quite enjoying the challenge. I feel like I don't want to give up. I also feel like my sugar cravings have subsided. And if I do feel like I need a little "summin summin", I make myself one of those delicious teas I told you about yesterday.
We all knew this was going to be hard - Saturday is a day for fun and activities! In my flat, fun and activities usually involves some sort of yum food, otherwise it wouldn't be fun and it wouldn't be an activity (ie. worth doing).
So I was hoping no one would want to do anything fun, but we ended up going to a burger place for lunch, and you know what that means: Milkshakes.
I was strong in the face of adversity. I didn't order the milkshake and I even got the burger without a bun. It's change like we have never seen before.
Today I woke up and actually looked forward to a sugar free day.
It hasn't been easy though. Temptation is everywhere, but if you like a challenge, try quitting sugar.
The benefits are indisputable. I've started to feel like I have more energy and my cravings are ebbing away, slowly but steadily. I've only had to throw a doughnut in the bin once.
Quitting sugar feels like more than a health trend and I'm hoping that after this first week it will only get better. It's already streets ahead of the time I did the Dukan Diet, because Kate Middleton was doing it, and fainted at a concert. Although my dream is to one day eat an apple again, I think I'll be sticking this one out for a while yet.