I am conducting an experiment on myself. I believe that my sugar habit is getting out of hand and bordering on addictive behavior. I have seen many films and documentaries espousing the ill effects of sugar and how much health improves when it is not consumed. So I figure, it can't hurt to go 90 days without sugar. If nothing improves it certainly won't get worse and perhaps I can at least save my teeth from more cavities.
I made a decision two weeks ago that my start date would be February 5th and I was completely committed to quitting sugar cold turkey just like I had quit cigarettes twelve years ago. Twelve years ago I was a casual smoker, I didn't have a raging addiction, so it wasn't really that hard for me to quit once I had decided that I would. Also, at the time smoking had become a very taboo thing socially and publicly. I didn't come into contact with it unless I was hanging out with specific people who were still smoking. It was wasn't staring me in the face every where I went. Sugar, on the other hand, is everywhere! Almost everyone eats it everyday and some people even react as if I have grown a second head when I say I'm quitting. Or, they treat me like I'm be overly dramatic. Sugar seems to be the legally accepted addiction that no one wants to talk about.
The first day I quit was rough, I had some intense side effects. Within hours of not having flavored sugared creamer in my coffee I developed a headache and experienced extreme fatigue that lasted the whole day, it was hard and I didn't accomplish much that day. The second day I felt pretty good, my body didn't ache as much and my energy was up. The third day was even better, I felt lighter and less bloated, shoveling the driveway was easy and didn't knock me out for the rest of the day as it usually does. I was impressed. That day was also my Step-Son's birthday so I had bought him the cake he wanted, ice cream and other of his favorite junk foods. I was resolved to not engage in birthday cake, and this is where my spiral downward started.
By the time we were lighting candles and singing happy birthday I was in the celebration mode; years of tradition and cultural conditioning took over. Of course I was going to have a piece of his cake with him, how could I not? I don't want to be a downer and put a negative light on his happy occasion so I joined him and my husband in eating cake. I immediately regretted it. I could feel the sugar moving through my body, it made my stomach hurt and I soon felt very sleepy like I was crashing. The next morning I had a sugar hangover; mild headache, aching joints, and heavy sluggish fatigue. One piece of cake was not going to stop me from my goal of sugar free for 90 days though. I would start again that morning back at Day 1.
Unfortunately that's not how it went. I did get through that day of sugar-free eating, the day after that, I allowed for a little more sugar to creep back in the form of my coffee creamer. The following 12 days I incrementally added more and more sugar back in until I was back up to sweet treats every day, sugared creamer in my coffee and feeling achey, heavy, bloated and grumpy. I find this to be an extremely hard thing to give up. I have, in the short time I was completely sugar free, realized that sugar is something I use to manage stress, so whenever I am feeling anxious, angry, sad or I want to not feel something, I immediately want and search out a sweet treat. For me that's chocolate or pastries of some kind. These are easy to find and are cheap, if you are not picky. I am not picky.
Now here I am, February 19th, and starting over at Day 1 again. I must confess that I tried having my coffee with a mix of almond milk and heavy whipping cream, (don't do it, the cream will curdle, gross!) then I added some sugared creamer into it so I could actually drink it. So, I am already not completely sugar free this morning, but lesson learned. Tomorrow I will drink my coffee black. The rest of my day is not lost, I will move forward from this point without sugar!
The purpose of this blog is to hopefully keep me accountable and also to give me some warm-up writing before I start my day of writing the book I'm working on. For the next 90 days I will not eat added sugars of any kind. This means that I will be looking at all the labels for packaged foods I typically buy and not eating anything that has sugar or other forms of sweeteners listed as an ingredient. I am not going to be militant about the rest of my eating habits, however I think avoiding added sugars will cause me to naturally shift to eating mostly whole foods and more vegetables.
I will write about what happens here in my blog, it may not be every day, but it will likely be pretty regularly. Thanks for reading!