We know that it’s tough keeping to resolutions every new year, especially if you make a pretty specific resolution, but in an effort to get healthy this year, I decided to give up something for a month to see if I could stick to it and how the sacrifice would affect my body.
It was a toss-up between a month without (added) sugar or a month without dairy, but I knew for a fact I would struggle with the latte, i mean latter, way more, so I decided to take things slow and cut out sugars. Also, I’d heard and read that cutting sugar and carbs were two of the key components of fat loss. So I had to give it a shot.
When you live a lifestyle that requires eating out a lot, there’s no knowing how much sugar is in certain foods and sauces. So to avoid making life miserable (shall I say, more miserable), I kept the restriction to excess sugars. That meant no desserts, sweets, chocolates, sugar in my coffee or tea or matcha lattes, or soft drinks of any kind.
While resistance was not futile, it was pretty freaking difficult. When you work in an office environment constantly visited by desserts, cookies and other food-related indulgences, it can be hard to refrain yourself.
Then there was also the issue of me doing this sugar fast across Valentine’s Day, which meant avoiding the hordes of chocolates and sweets that people around me were sharing.
The initial struggle
I think the first week was definitely the hardest. While I had an easier time cutting sugar out of my drinks and avoiding chocolates, I had a lot of trouble with ice cream. I don’t eat it all the time, but being able to have it whenever I wanted to was a luxury my body (or brain) didn’t want to give up.
Still, I persevered with motivation from my partner and close friends, and made it through two weeks with no incidents.
It was at the end of two weeks that I realised a difference in my body. I was no longer exhausted at the end of the day, I was more alert and less sluggish during work hours, and more importantly, my skin was clearer than before.
Being able to sleep soundly throughout the night was a wonderful change, and more often than not, I was feeling rested enough to wake up minutes before my alarm went off. I didn’t notice any weight loss, but that was because I definitely wasn’t combining my diet efforts with enough exercise.
I liked that I was no longer craving sweets the way I used to. I could easily turn down desserts at lunch and dinner, it didn’t pain me to abstain from chocolates, and I even stopped drinking coffee during the week. I will admit the coffee thing wasn’t too difficult as I only drink it for flavour and never out of habit or necessity.
One step forward, two steps back
There was a point in the last week that I caved a little. A close friend and colleague had left me a jar of my favourite cookies as a farewell present, and it was too difficult to resist, not to mention the cookies had an expiry date (logic wins, every time!). So I caved and had the cookies...so totally worth it, including the side dish of guilt.
At the end of February, I went back to consuming the occasional dessert and sugary items, and I started to feel my body change again. For the worse. I was getting sluggish again and exhausted by the end of each day, and even though I hadn’t eaten too much junk food or sugar I was noticing my skin’s disapproval.
So two weeks into March, I have decided to start up my sugar cut again, but for the long haul. While I will make allowances once in awhile (ice-cream takes me to my happy place and darn it, I need to be happy), they will definitely be consumed in moderation to avoid me going off on any benders.
If you’re looking to cut carbs or sugar yourself, know that the journey will be difficult, but the results worth it. And you don’t have to go cold turkey all at once, but rather slow your intake over time. I personally found it easier to cut sugar completely so I wouldn’t have to try and remember how much sugar I’d had or when I’d had it (I suck at food tracking or journaling). What worked for me might not work for you, so it’s important to find something you can handle.
Am I glad I did it? Hell yes. Would I recommend you try it too? Absolutely.
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