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.***
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.
- 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.