I’ve done it! My eight weeks completely sugar-free are done and dusted. Over the last two months I have given up all sweets, cake, biscuits (bar a few attempts at sugar free versions) chocolate, ketchup, fruit, sugar-loaded sauces, processed food, sugary bread and I survived Easter without letting one Hot Cross Bun pass my lips, save the sugar free ones my mum made. (thanks mum!)
How did I find the process?
Although there were a couple of tough moments when I would have liked to have been able to eat something sugary – PMS, I’m looking at you – on the whole I haven’t found the whole process at all difficult.
The main thing has been trying to make wise substitutes when I realised that something I would normally eat had too much sugar content. I based this on what it says in the I quit sugar book, and tried to keep my sugar consumption of any product to between 3-6 g per 100g, or less if possible. Tomato ketchup for example has about 35g per 100g, and it was only when I visualised this, as in a bottle of ketchup with 1/3 of it being pure white sugar that I really managed to steer clear of it.
I was surprised at what I missed the most. I am such a cake fan and thought this would be my biggest vice, but I found that I was really really craving fruit juice at breakfast. I did manage to resist, but I might try and reintroduce it perhaps once a week, and water it down, that way it’s not such a massive sugar rush, and I don’t have to deprive myself.
I was expecting to go through major sugar lows and withdrawal symptoms especially in the first few weeks because I went completely cold turkey and was meant to start it gradually, but I didn’t experience this at all. Nor did I suffer with any headaches or nausea, but I think this might be more acute if you are a big sugary tea/coffee or soft drink- drinker.
In terms of positive effects, I was mainly hoping to achieve a general better frame of mind. I’d read in the book that Sarah felt like she was a nicer person to be around, as well as enjoying other benefits such as clearer skin, mind and a bit of weight loss. I don’t think I’ve lost any significant weight, although I am starting to feel a bit trimmer around the middle, and less bloated. On the whole, I definitely feel better for giving up sugar, although it’s not the ‘wow I now feel amazing’ result she talks of in the book. The main thing is, this is the longest time I have ever not eaten cake or chocolate, and I actually don’t even feel deprived. The best thing that I will take away from this experiment is feeling like I am more powerful than the sugar. I now decide when I want to eat sugar, rather than my mood or my stomach demanding it.
I actually think this is the hardest part of this whole process. I have just spent 8 weeks obsessively avoiding sugar and totally getting used to that, and now I am suddenly free to go and eat whatever I want again. Luckily, I don’t actually feel like going and gorging myself on a load of cake. I will probably eat sugary treats again sometime soon, but only if I feel like I really want it, and even then it won’t be every week or every day like it was before. I am keen to see if keeping up a general avoidance of sugar, albeit reintroducing low-fructose fruits and a bit of almost unavoidable hidden sugar here and there, will make me feel better on a long term basis.
Has anyone else completed the I Quit Sugar programme or done something similar? I would love to hear how you got on and mostly how you felt come the end of it.