I did it. I reached the end of Lent. On March the 1st I made the decision to commit myself to 46 days of cutting refined sugar from my diet. Party because I wanted to lose weight, but mainly because I needed to gain some control back over the way I was leading my life.
If I look back 46 days ago, I can describe that girl back then like she’s a different person altogether. She’d wake up after a rubbish night’s sleep and feel exhausted as she dragged her arse out of bed, late for work because she’d hit the snooze button too many times. She’d get to work where she’d snack on whatever treats were in the office, adding an apple or banana in the vain hope it would offset the amount of sugar running through her veins. At 3pm she’d be in such a slump she’d want to take a nap right there on her desk and concentration levels would be so low, she might as well have been asleep. Off she went home, calling in at Tesco’s to pick up sugary snacks for the night, including chocolate and sweets because what if it got to 9pm and she fancied something else? She’d settle in front of the TV, ironically reading her newly ordered I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson book, snack away until she hit a sugar induced coma and head to bed grumpy, to do it all again the next day.
What a life hey?
So six weeks ago, that girl decided to make a change. That girl decided to quit refined sugar. And here’s what happened.
How My Weight Changed
Here’s a disclaimer. Back in February I started Slimming World but my love for sugar meant I wasn’t getting very far at all. In fact, I lost 2.5lbs in four weeks. Big up myself. When Lent kicked off, I was able to take some control back and learnt to cook everything from fresh, planning healthy meals and not falling at the first hurdle because I’d accidentally stuffed a fourth donut into my mouth. According to the scales this morning I’ve lost 19lbs, just shy of a stone and a half. I could not have done that in a million years without kicking the sugar habit.
How My Body Changed
I’m about to get frank here, so jump ahead if you’re not a fan of TMI. I suffer from digestive issues and have done for years. It’s not something I obviously talk about on here, but it was getting to the point where it was affecting my everyday life. I was in pain with bloatedness, would have to plan my meals out knowing I couldn’t go for a drink afterwards because I’d have to run home…quickly, and it was starting to really get me down. Taking a big chunk of the sugar out of my diet changed that. It meant my digestive tract was able to calm down a little and although I still have spurts of discomfort and reactions to certain foods, it’s certainly not a daily struggle like it was before.
My skin has also improved so much, and although I know this has a lot to do with having a proper morning and evening skincare routine with Liz Earle products, I genuinely haven’t had a spot since the start of March. I also used to get small red spots on my chest that seem to have disappeared as well, which I suspect might have had something to do with my shocking diet.
How My Mind Changed
This is an important one for me. Probably the most important. Whether it’s because my hormones are not being regulated by the sheer amount of sugar running through my system, or I’m shedding weight daily and becoming more like my old self, my happiness levels are the complete opposite to what they were on March 1st. I have so much more energy and motivation now. I’ve joined the Female Entrepreneurs Association and I’m working on a lot of things behind the scenes here at Apartment Number 4 on an evening – something I simply wouldn’t have had the energy for if I’d have come home to troff on the sofa all night. I wake up early every morning after 7 hours of sleep, feeling awake and not needing to press snooze. The fact that I’ve managed to stick to something for 6 weeks and have made so many changes to my life has given me my confidence back and I’m safe in the knowledge that I do actually have self control. My mind overall feels clearer and in so much more of a positive state.
The Challenges I Faced
Quitting refined sugar definitely been one of the hardest things I’ve done after quitting smoking six years ago. The first week was fine as I was on a high of telling everyone about my challenge, and I was completely in the zone. The second week was really tough. I can see from my diary that on day five my face had broken out in spots, and day six and seven I only had 4 hours sleep each night, leading to being super agitated all day. Day eight and the insomnia was still bad, with the headaches and aching fully kicking in by day nine. By day ten I was starting to get a lot more energy and not having to pull myself out of bed. I had to make choices every single day, whether it was swerving the birthday cake at work and eating some strawberries instead, or looking up how to make sugar free chocolate so I could consider making this a lifestyle change instead of just for Lent. I slipped up three times in the whole of the six weeks – one was having a small piece of white bread, two was ordering a mojito out with the girls and forgetting they add brown sugar and three, eating a macaroon yesterday during afternoon tea.
But I did not put one piece of chocolate, sweets, cake, biscuits, McDonald’s, fizzy pop or processed food in my mouth during these last 46 days and I’m so proud of myself.
Do I still get cravings? Yes. Sporadically. I’d lie if I said I haven’t thought about eating some Malteasers, but I know now my will power is strong enough to say no. I can say that with conviction as I currently have a Malteasers Easter egg sat in my spare room from work which I’m waiting to give to my mum and dad to eat.
The biggest challenge for me was realising how sugar is in pretty much everything we eat. You only have to take a look at Bran Flakes for example, which is loaded with the sweet stuff. I make my own tomato ketchup now, because there was too much in Heinz to even consider. I still eat fruit and vegetables as I don’t believe these are an unhealthy sugar. Berries have kept me going through the dark nights people. It’s been difficult, actually really bloody difficult, at times but I can honestly say making that decision back on March 1st (when I fully imagined I’d fail before day four) was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Will I go back to eating refined sugar now? Nope. There are so many positives to come from this, I don’t see the point in regressing back to the plump, unhappy, unmotivated couch (sweet) potato I was back then. Here’s to a great Easter lovelies and if you’ve ever battled with giving something up then let me know below.