Trending 3rd February 2016 by Victoria Stokes
I Quit Sugar For 21 Days And I Didn’t Anticipate The Results
STELLAR writer Victoria gave up the sweet stuff for three weeks and experienced some surprising results.
I’ve always been a sweet tooth. I’ve been known on occasion to devour chocolate pastries at breakfast, I always need something sweet after dinner, I can never stop at one chocolate and a can of Fanta is my ultimate hangover cure.
But here’s the thing; I got fed up with the effect sugar was having me. I felt permanently lethargic, dips in energy were effecting my focus and it was definitely starting to show around my middle.
I was worried about my health too. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that sugar is bad for you, it has zero nutritional value, is loaded with a tonne of empty calories and is stored straight to fat when it reaches your intestines.
So I decided to kick the habit, but how do you even go about ditching something that’s said to be more addictive than cocaine?
For my detox, I followed Sarah Wilson’s book I Quit Sugar. In it she suggests a weaning period, where you quit all the known sugary baddies; think fizzy drinks, chocolate, jellies and sugar-laden sauces. After this, she advises you to cut out ‘healthier’ sources of sugar, like dark chocolate, honey – and, yes – fruit. I followed the weaning period for one week, before moving on to a a two-week total detox.
Here’s what happened…
It was a lot easier than I anticipated
I didn’t expect to be writing this, but quitting sugar was a much more tame experience than I had expected. I did my research pre-detox and had myself geared up for wild cravings, intense hunger, headaches and withdrawals. In reality, only the first three days were pretty rough; I struggled with low energy and on more than one occasion I absent-mindedly reached into the biscuit tin, before coming to my senses. After day three though, the cravings subsided.
My appetite disappeared
As I said before, I expected raging hunger to kick in round about week two, but in fact, the opposite happened. My appetite decreased, drastically. I could get by on three square meals a day, and I quickly realised that all those times that I thought I was starving hungry (usually around 11am, 3pm and after dinner) weren’t down to hunger at all, they were my body craving sugar.
I didn’t get a massive surge of energy
Google the words ‘I Quit Sugar’ and you’ll be met with a tonne of articles raving about the energy-boosting abilities of giving up the addiction. With this in mind, I had myself all geared up to be as wired as a Duracell bunny 24/7. Instead, my energy levels stayed constant throughout the day. Most days I was as energised at 6.30am as I was by 9.30pm, and tellingly, my 3pm slumps became a thing of the past. I was focused, clear-headed, and most importantly there were no major energy dips or rises.
Once I took sugar out I inadvertently added healthy food in
Here’s the thing; it’s really hard to eat unhealthy when you quit sugar. That’s because it’s found in virtually all of the ‘bad’ foods, and cutting it out means ditching pretty much everything processed. By taking it out of my diet, I, by default, added in loads of extra veggies, lean meats and healthy fats.
I lost weight
One side effect I did expect, was weight loss, and although I steered clear of the scales I can confirm that my clothes are feeling a whole lot looser. In three weeks, I’ve dropped a dress size and I’m looking a lot flatter around my tummy in particular.
Sugary foods lost their appeal
During my detox, I fantasised about cheating with every food imaginable when my 21 days were up, but in reality, by the time I’d got to the end of three weeks, the notion for sugary food had almost completely gone off me. I felt like I’d developed more of a take-it-or-leave-it attitude when it came to foods I once couldn’t resist.
After the detox, sugar made me feel a little bit ill
Since the end of my detox (It’s only been four days, so lets see how I go) I’ve had one major cheat; a double chocolate brownie which I shared with my best friend. The result? The flavour tasted so intensely sweet that by the time I’d finished it I was feeling nauseous.
Now that my 21-day sugar detox is over will I be going back to eating sweet stuff on the regular? Definitely not, but I will be less strict about what I can and can’t eat. I’ll be adding fruit back into my daily diet, but limiting it to one or two pieces a day. I’ll use honey and dark chocolate as occasional sweeteners and I’ll be keeping the big sugar baddies, like cake and milk chocolate as cheat treats only.
The take-home for me? I can confirm that I feel better than I have in a long, long time and I don’t want to fall back into old habits. Ditching sugar has not only made me feel healthier, but also happier – Yes, even happier, than say, eating a chocolate pastry for breakfast.
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