sugar free, you and me – REVIEW

As you may have read, last week, my sister and I committed ourselves to a no-sugar added challenge.  The reasons for such a challenge were:

  • We’re both addicted to sugar. 

Excess sugar consumption is unhealthy.  Addictions are unhealthy.  An addiction to sugar is unhealthy.  Pretty straightforward reasons to want to break the habit, no?  I may get some flack for being so bold with the “addictions are unhealthy” statement.  But addiction, by definition, is compulsive need for a habit-forming substance.  When you have such a desperate need for a particular substance, feeling, or activity, one is giving that fill in the blank psychological control.  Actually, physiological control as well, because when breaking from the addiction, whether it be over-exercising, sugar, alcohol, whatever, withdrawal symptoms are usually present (which I’ll talk about later).

  • Health issues

I have been dealing with some intestinal issues which I thought could be due to eating too much overprocessed food.  One sure-fire way to avoid overprocessed food?  Cut out added sugar.  It’s looming EVERYWHERE!

  • To see if we could.  Who doesn’t like a challenge? 

In my family, even everyday activities were made into a competition.  I used to hold an imaginary stopwatch and “time” my sister while she ran upstairs to get me something I’d forgotten.  Ha – I still laugh at my ingenuity.  …And Katy’s naiveté.

***You’ll notice that I didn’t include “to lose weight”, and for good reason.  I’m very happy with where my body is at right now and don’t feel the need to lose weight.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point of self-love.  It’s something I constantly battle, one day at a time.***

Moving on….

We started Monday and ended Saturday.  Not quite a week, but we knew we were going to have a fun day on Saturday and didn’t want to have to read labels.

Breakfasts were usually “Eggs and Leaves”, a term coined by Henry, my 3-year old.

I have this most mornings, so it wasn’t really a stretch.  Lunch was typically cheese, turkey and almonds.   Or a salad with homemade hummus.  And dinners were a meat and vegetable.  Looking back, that menu seems so blah and low-carb.  And it was.  I’m sure that I could have found some pasta or rice recipes that had no added sugar, but most of the time, I just didn’t want to worry about it.

The hardest part came in between the meals.  Where before I would have reached for whatever my hand fell upon in the pantry, during this time, I had to be cognizant about my snack choices.

Some observations:

  • Whole foods were my go-to.  One ingredient items were the easiest to eat since they didn’t require me looking at the label.  I ate a lot more fruit and vegetables that I normally would have due to this.  That’s always a great thing!!
  • As I alluded to, when you try to break an addiction, withdrawal symptoms are usually present.  I definitely had some headaches on days 2 and 3, but they went away once my body started to break the addiction.
  • I slept SO much better!!  This was probably the biggest benefit of the entire challenge.  My snacking was getting a little out of control before bedtime (brownies, ice cream, cereal) and I was eating a) too much volume and b) too much sugar before asking my body to sleep.  During the week, however, I had a frozen protein shake and called it a night.  It was so much easier to get to sleep and stay asleep.

I’d like to tell you that I eased back into eating sugar on Saturday.  But I can’t.  On Saturday night, I totally had a big bowl of ice cream.  And you know what?!?  I felt like crap the next morning!!!  So I may try to experiment with closing the kitchen off after a certain time at night.  I’m not a big fan of that “diet tip”, but if it will help me sleep better, it may be worth it.  I’ll just eat more calories throughout the day.

Will I do this again?  Yes, probably.  It couldn’t hurt to keep my sugar consumption in check once in a while.

Once in a while.  And with that, I need to get into the kitchen.  Some Honey Nut Cheerios are calling my name.



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