At the start of the challenge I was feeling nothing but optimistic, positive and determined. With my wedding this October I have visions of walking down the aisle a picture of glowing health. The more I think of my big day the more determined I am to do this challenge #letsdothis
Naturally quite slim, I have always been conscious of what I eat, starting the day with breakfast and having three meals a day, but for some reason my food conscience instantly disappears when I am in work, often never thinking twice about tucking into the ‘office goodies’.
There have been far too many occasions when, by early morning, I’ve already drunk two cups of tea with sugar and eaten a few handfuls of crisps, a flapjack and some chocolate – and that’s on top of my breakfast of toast with strawberry jam. Only when I started to think about it, did I realise just how much sugar I was putting into my body – and it’s not even lunchtime yet!
To try to make sense of it all, I joined my team on Davina McCall’s 5 Weeks to Sugar Free challenge. I wondered if I cut out sugar would I feel better? And how much of life without sugar can I tolerate?
It’s now week three, so how have I been getting on?
Week 1 passed by in sugar free ease, I was even feeling slightly smug with just how easy I found it. I wasn’t hungry, I planned my meals in advance, happily tucking into Davina’s home-made shepherd’s pie, Moroccan spiced lamb and filling salads at lunch.
With sugar the new enemy, green tea is my new friend. Normally I start the day with a comforting cup of tea (milk and one sugar), on average sipping 5-6 cups a day. Green tea on the other hand tastes horrible and it leaves a bitter taste as I drink it. When the obligatory ‘tea run’ comes round at work, with regret, I decline my usual and instead opt for my green friend – yawn! However, apparently it takes 21 days to change a habit, so who knows!
Another positive start to the week, the green tea is starting to taste less offensive and I have quite a bit more energy. Meal planning has proved a little more tedious this week, having now discovered that ‘the white stuff’’ is pumped into almost everything from sausages to bread to yogurts and soups and even baked beans.
In the afternoons, I start to develop a slight headache, which I put down to my sugar withdrawal, and towards the end of the week, after about 9pm, I’d crave something sweet. I quickly begin to flick through my bridal magazines to take my mind off things and keep myself on the ‘sugar-free’ track.
I’m bored with the sugar free challenge. This has been the toughest week so far and I find myself starting to daydream of chocolate and thick white bread. I feel grumpy and slightly restless because I have another two weeks of guilt free eating. I’m in desperate need of a chocolate fix so I opt to make Davina’s chocolate brownies. I’m no baker, but they were incredibly easy to make, using natural honey as a replacement for sugar. They were exactly what I needed. As week 3 concluded, I started to feel less guilty about my mid-week slip-up and convinced myself that the remaining two weeks will be as good as the first two.
The results so far
Overall it’s been an up and down few weeks.
But I’m proud to say that I’m giving this challenge a damn good go.
Do I feel better? Do I look thinner? Is my skin glowing? The truth is I don’t particularly feel any different in myself, a pound lighter in weight (I was hoping to say I dropped a dress size) and my stomach seems a little flatter (or am I just breathing in?) but I’m really pleased with how I’ve done so far. I definitely feel less sluggish in the afternoon and I’m also pleased to say that I’ve passed over to the green side and am honestly enjoying green tea.
It’s not easy and I know that I won’t go cold turkey with sugar goodies for life, but I now know that I can manage my sugar intake and make informed decisions about the nutritional value of what I am consuming.
So, do I recommend the sugar free challenge? Absolutely – respecting your body and challenging yourself is always a good thing. And it’s certainly reinforced for me that healthy eating is a choice and that lots of foods are bad for us – but that often the key is awareness and moderation.