Sunday 3 May 2015

The Battle of Giving Up Sugar - The Good, The Bad and The Fuzzy

Do you ever have one of those weeks that just feel a bit blurgh? You feel a bit of a 'fuzzy' version of yourself, rather than the composed person you normally feel. Well, I've done a bit of an experiment, to determine what makes me feel like this, what stops me feeling like this, and generally how to control that fuzzy feeling that leaves you out of sorts. 

The answer, may or may not be surprising based on the multiple articles, blogs and general hype around the subject, but sugar is my kryptonite. It is the biggest crippler of my mood, productivity, skin and overall positivity. How do I know this? I decided that I was going to cut out sugar and carbs for two weeks, to see if I could shift a few pounds, take control of my eating again and generally feel healthy again. 

Let me set the scene for had been 'one of those days' at work, there had been treats at work and I'd been one of the biggest gannets, shoving in biscuits, chocolate bars and sweets as if it was the end of the world. On my way home I was starting to feel the effects of a major sugar crash, so naturally I went to the store on the way home and purchased some chocolate Fingers on offer - get in my basket, along with a bottle of wine to see me though the night...I would say don't judge, but I judge myself. 

The next morning (thankfully a weekend) I felt like absolute garbage. I was bloated, lethargic, moody and all I really wanted was to sit on the sofa and gorge myself silly again. Not good. So instead I sat on the sofa, trawled the internet for answers to terms such as 'why am I so moody', 'how do I kick the sugar habit' and truth be told, wallowed for a while. But then, after giving myself a bit of a mental talking to, I opened the laptop, ordered the weeks food shop and included nothing that had any sugar or carbs (apart from the bits for Dan, I couldn't inflict the punishment on both of us after all). 

The next day I set about preparing so much food, chilli, chicken dishes, snacks, fish dishes, more snacks, so much so the fridge was fit to burst, and I realised I started to feel really productive. That night when I went to bed, I told myself I could do it, and really set my mind to it. 

Week One
Day one to three were the hardest, my body was used to getting through until lunchtime, eating lunch and then getting something sweet a short while later, so not giving in when those usual pangs hit was really hard. I should also mention, that when I decided to give up sugar, I also gave up on fruit as part of that. That's because I'm much more of a veg over fruit kinda person, and when it comes to fruit, it can often feel like it triggers my sweet and sugar cravings but then never satiates them, so I thought it best to pack the morning apple or orange in too of good measure. 

By the Wednesday, even though it felt like it had been an eternity, I had a 'look how far you've come' moment. Yes, I know it was only the third day in, but I felt proud of the fact I had lasted those three days and didn't want to crack and go back to day one, even though the cravings were bad. So I stuck to my guns and I'm so glad I did because I got so much better, and the whole cravings situation got so much easier. 

By the end of the week, I wasn't even thinking about what I wasn't eating, I was thinking how less bloated I felt and how the spots on my face were looking less angry than before. 

Week Two
Not going to lie, week two really wasn't bad at all. The no sugar thing had kind of become accepted by my body and it had got used to a peppermint tea after lunch instead of a chocolate bar, and I was so determined to reach the end of the two weeks, that nothing was going to stop me. Happy days, all was well and good in the world and I was feeling on top form. 

Week Three
Funny that once you reach a target you set yourself, you're not quite sure what to do, so you reward yourself for making it through those two weeks, and I rewarded myself with some pasta and it tasted delicious. The no carbs thing was actually just as hard as the no sugar thing, because I was still continuing to work out in the gym and my body had felt the effects of not having the extra energy it needed to run at its optimum. The pasta went down so well, and before clearing my plate, I noticed I actually felt full, so I left the rest (something that I rarely ever do). Cue the smug smile when the waiter took away and asked 'was everything OK?', 'yes thank you, I'm just full' - ha, I'd never said that before. 

Slowly, I started introducing healthy carbs back into my diet, I'm talking quinoa, soy noodles, brown rice and was still not having anything really sugary or anything you'd consider 'junk food'. I was also still not including fruit. But then one day I just had a really bad day. I can't remember what or why but I began feeling pretty crap and literally didn't even give a thought to what I was doing until I had finished a small bag of peanut m&ms. Shit! 'Oh well, it's only one bag, this needs to be a lifestyle choice and these things will happen every now and again'...I just hadn't banked on it being the very next day when I was still feeling pretty unfulfilled and frustrated and again turned to sweets, this time hiding them in my draw so nobody could see my shame. 

Week Four
A few days of frustration turn into total meltdown, and snap, I was back to binging, moaning and sending out SOS messages to friends for moral support. What an idiot, and I knew it but I couldn't break the cycle I was in, I just felt out of control and fuzzy, not my together self as I had done a week and a bit ago. Shit - I'd done it, I'd slipped from being in control to spiralling in less than a fortnight again, and without the good talking to and sense of 'pull yourself together', I just let the fuzziness take over me....

Week Five
I've given myself yet another talking to. If I can do it once, I can do it again. But this time, it needs to be the long game. No two week achievement, two week binge. This is about being good 85% of the time, and allowing myself to indulge when I want to, but not using every weekend, Thursday or Friday night as an excuse....that being said, I'm giving myself a two week period where I'm going to cut out all the sugar again, just because I know I can, and how hard those first few days are. 

I know this was a rather rambling post, but hopefully it's useful for those of you, like me who get frustrated when you OD on the white stuff, and I'd love to hear if anyone has got any successes or tips that they can share. 

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