Giving up sugar – a piece of cake?

A little over a year ago, I bought a book called I Quit Sugar For Life. I’d heard of Sarah Wilson in passing before, but never really looked into her I Quit Sugar programme as I didn’t have any intention of giving up sugar. However, I had a gift card to spend, and the book was on offer, and I bought it out of interest – I love reading about nutrition, and figured there might be a few good recipes.

I read the book, then put it back on the shelf, where it stayed for quite a while. Once Christmas 2015 was over though, I was really feeling like I’d had a bit of a sugar overdose, so I got the book out and read it a bit more thoroughly, this time seriously thinking about actually trying to cut out the white stuff.

Sarah offers an eight-week programme, but seeing as I was travelling for work and wouldn’t be able to cook my own meals a lot of the time, I decided just to go it on my own and use recipes from the book. I did four solid weeks, then travelling again kind of threw a spanner in the works. However, I’d made a start and was already feeling so much better.

I ended up buying two more of her books, I Quit Sugar (the original book) and Simplicious. I’ve tried quite a few recipes from all three books and they’re absolutely delicious. Even though I’ve gone through periods of eating more or less sugar, I’ve still cooked recipes from the books as they’re so good. (Erin is working her way through every recipe in Simplicious, an amazing feat!).

Again, after Christmas 2016 I was feeling like I’d had a bit too much sugar, so just before the end of December I decided to go back to basics and cut right down on sugar again. I’m still eating some, just a minimal amount – a piece of chocolate with my tea after dinner, for example. I get that it’s not super easy to just not eat sugar, but in all honesty I haven’t been craving it. I think my body was just really ready for a break from it.

I’m not saying that I won’t eat more sugar over the course of the year – of course I will. There will definitely be times that I will want cake, and that’s okay. There will also be times where I think I want sugar and I eat it, and I wish I hadn’t – that’s also okay, I’m only human. I’ll learn, and hopefully do that less and less. I’m just trying to be conscious about how much of it I eat, and whether I actually want it. I remember once (well before cutting down on sugar) I’d really been looking forward to having a piece of cake at the weekend, then when I had it, I found it disappointingly sickly and felt ill afterwards. That’s what I’m trying to avoid. I also notice if I have chocolate at work, I feel super sleepy – sugar crash!

Sarah’s main advice is to JERF – just eat real food – and that’s something I can really get on board with. It’s what makes cutting down on sugar so easy, as if I only buy real ingredients, there’s not going be added sugar in the things I eat. When I do truly fancy a piece of cake, I’ll eat in and enjoy it (and if I don’t enjoy it, I won’t finish it – hopefully!).

I must stress that in saying all of this, I’m not trying to say that what I’m trying to do is what everyone should be doing. This blog is just the tale of my journey to find the best me, and at the moment, my body is super happy without alcohol and sugar, and with loads of veg. I’m sleeping better, and my skin is way better. This is therefore what works for me, so I’ll probably try to keep alcohol to a minimum once January is over as well.

What I would say is that if you’re not feeling your best, try making a few changes – be that drinking less alcohol, eating more veg, getting more sleep – whatever you think might help you feel more amazing. Listen to your body.

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