I Quit Sugar as featured in OK Magazine, and posted on the IQS FB Page this weekToday is the end of Week 2 of my I Quit Sugar 8-week THING. First I am going to list some essentials from Week 2 of Sarah Wilson's book, and then I'll give a recap of how things are going for me.
- Replace sugar with fat. Once you take out sugar, the best thing you can do is replace it with fat and protein, as in, wholesome, unprocessed fats and quality protein, like eggs, cheese, nuts and coconuts.
- Fat doesn't make you fat; sugar does.
- Fat fills us up, so we can't gorge on it. Fats and proteins have corresponding appetite hormones that act as messengers to the brain to control our appetite. We don't get fat from eating fats and proteins. Our bodies won't let us. We get full.
- When we eat fructose, our body doesn't notice it in our system. It goes undetected, so we can eat it and eat it, but our bodies don't feel full.
- We are programmed to actively seek out and binge on sugar. Back when it was hard to find (the rare beehive or berry bush) we had to stock up when we could.
- Sugar turns directly to fat. The way that fructose is converted to energy in our bodies means that it side-steps the fat-creation control mechanism and is converted directly to fatty acids, and then body fat.
- Sugar messes with our hormone systems and leads to cravings and deficiencies, thus adding to the binge cycle.
All in all, this has been a good week. Though it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
I had an almost sugar-free week. Let's talk victories, first. There were several occasions where I was able to decline sugar, strengthening my "good decision muscle" each time.
Last week I handmade some rocky road for my BF for Valentine's Day. Although I know that I shouldn't sugar binge vicariously through other people, it was a special occasion so I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm looking forward to adding some baked treats to my repertoire that don't involve using fructose. The positive thing is that even though I was completely surrounded by chocolate and lollies, I didn't consume a single morsel, not during the cooking process, nor after it was made. This involved having to throw the extras in the bin. It was not an easy thing to do; I was very tempted. I don't promote wastage, however, keeping the chocolate sitting in the pantry and whispering me name would only make it harder for me, so it had to go. Another victory would be Valentines Day. We had a special morning tea at work which included Cherry Ripes, Strawberry Milky Ways and cheesecake (my favourite) all laid out and free for the taking... I resisted. On Valentine's evening we went out for dinner and I managed to decline the little heart-shaped chocolate on the table. Argh! (It's still paining me a bit to say no sometimes, when I still feel a little like I'm missing out... in reality I know that it's not the truth, in terms of my health, anyway.) On Sunday night I said "no thankyou" to the Pods that were offered at Tropfest. As you can see, there have been quite a few opportunities to eat sugar this week, and once again, these are all offerings that I would usually be only too happy to accept. Every one of them.
Things went slightly pear-shaped on Saturday evening. We were at a house party, a very fun house party, and after my beer had run out and I was still in the mood to partay (I should have stopped, I really should have stopped) I had some vodka and Coke Zero. Not completely criminal, but then the night got rowdier and I committed a true sugar crime by drinking first a vodka and lemonade and then a rum and iced tea, of all things.
On the one hand it was disappointing, on the other though, I'm happy I didn't give in to an actual craving for sugar, as in, in the usual form I'd crave it (chocolate, cake, biscuits, juice). It's not as though I had cravings for a rum and iced tea. I was just craving... what? A hangover? Well, I definitely got one of those.
Sunday was difficult because all I wanted to do was bury myself in a bucket of hot chips and a litre of apple juice. I managed to pull through though; I didn't want to drag myself down, just because I was silly enough to land myself with a hangover.
Due to a lack of sleep and still feeling a bit ordinary on Monday, I bought a croissant at the bakery. They're not overly sweet but they do contain some sugar and it clearly doesn't fit into the healthy end of the food pyramid. Lesson being... I think that looking after yourself in general, that is, being sensible with alcohol and getting enough sleep, are huge factors when it comes to being able to make good decisions about food.
As I spoke about above, Sarah Wilson encourages us to start eating more fat when we stop eating sugar, so that we don't feel like we're being deprived. She is referring to good, healthy fats though. I have room for improvement in this area. It's one thing to let yourself enjoy some chips at a party, if you're managing to avoid the fairy bread and cake, but it's another thing to start introducing non-healthy fatty treats, such as chips, into your life to replace your sugar habits. I'll be honest with you, I purchased 2 packets of chips this week when I was craving a little summin' summin'... there may have been a sausage roll thrown in there too, and that's something I want to discontinue as I go into Week 3. I've never been addicted to chips; I could count the number of times I've opted to buy a packet of chips over chocolate on one hand... so it's not a habit that I'm going to form now. I think that it's a matter of planning snacks better, and also building up a repertoire of interesting healthy options.
To sum up: today is day 14 of being [almost completely] sugar-free and I am feeling really good, and in control for the most part. I'm not finding it ridiculously hard; I'm not struggling. I'm feeling a lot better about myself, especially at work, where I would always feel sluggish and guilty after eating sugar to combat bouts of boredom or stress. I do still have some doubts and fears about slipping back into bad habits down the line, but I just keep telling myself that all I can do is ride this experiment out, and hope that some permanent changes stick. Physically I'm feeling better too; I've lost 2.3kg without changing anything else in my diet or exercise regime, without counting calories and definitely without starving myself. I eat when I'm hungry and I eat until I'm full.
Bring on Week 3.
Sarah posted an article on her blog this week about how society has been duped about the dangers of sugar consumption, and why we're only now starting to be educated about it. Check out her article here, or click here to see a pretty interesting timeline about sugar.
Week 3 recap next Wednesday. View my other I Quit Sugar posts here.