HEALTH. STRENGTH. POSITIVITY.
I am sat writing this post on day 100 of no refined sugar. 100 whole days of no cake, no chocolate, no biscuits, no sweets, no ice cream, no jam, no cereal bars. This is the third time since February 2015 that I have cut refined sugar from my diet (the other two attempts averaging about 75 days sugar free each time), and although each attempt has left me feeling exponentially healthier and better about myself, this attempt has really influenced my whole approach to my diet, so much so that I now have absolutely no desire or cravings to eat any of the above foods.
Let's start with a bit of background information: I used to be a fully fledged sugar addict. I didn't just eat sugar because I liked the taste or needed the energy (although both these were components), I ate sugar because I felt like my body and mind needed it. There was a time when I stopped eating meals all together, I would roll out of bed with a migraine which refused to subside until I had eaten my 'breakfast' of chocolate. Sugar became my coping mechanism. When life got too much, when work got too stressful and when I was feeling down sugar was the only thing that got me through. It was a reward and a punishment, it made me feel instantly better but ultimately ten times worse and the only thing that could get me back out of that hole was... you guessed it: sugar. I was stuck in a viscous cycle which I was too scared to break. I was in denial of how much I depended on sugar and convinced myself that my anxiety would spiral back out of control without my sugar-fix self prescribed medication. Sugar was ruining my life. My progress in the gym had stifled because of sugar, my insomnia was getting worse because of sugar and no doubt my insides were absolutely crying out for nourishment all because of sugar.
Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting every one goes as extreme as me and completely cuts sugar out their diets. Despite the plethora of really quite scary information out there about the dangers of sugar, unless your consumption is incredibly high and you are eating foods full of refined sugar every day, then cutting down is more than enough to help lessen the detrimental side effects.
If you're used to eating refined sugar every day, then I would be lying if I said cutting it out was going to be easy, and if it is something you are seriously considering doing then you need to be prepared for the horrible few days that follow. The first time I ever eliminated sugar it was a hell worse that I imagined- I suffered from shakes, I had a constant migraine, I had horrendous stomach cramps and I really struggled with sleep. But soon after this my mood was lifted, I no longer had spikes in my energy levels and felt so much more awake. My concentration has improved and I am managing to get more sleep than I have done in years. Giving sugar up for the second and third times was even easier, with this attempt making me feel instantly healthier, more awake and drastically improved my performance in the gym.
If someone had told me at the start of last year, that with my three no-sugar periods combined I would have managed around 250 days sugar free I would never have believe them, and my effort is something I am incredibly proud of. I now eat healthy home cooked meals every single day, and I actually feel like a happy, fully functioning, healthy human being.
My advice? Try it, you never know it might just make you feel better too.