I quite all refined sugar on the 2nd of January and wrote about it here: My Addiction. I’d suggest you read that post to really understand where I am coming from and how awful sugar was controlling me – I likened it to a drug addiction. Yes, as serious as that.
I’m sorry for the long worded post! Normally my posts are photo heavy, but this is a vulnerable, honest post so if you don’t feel like reading, I understand.
Tomorrow’s post will be back to more photos!
I’ve been Banting now since 2014, but to be totally truthful… I wasn’t doing it 100% properly. I’d cheat with sugar treats because the sugar controlled me.
The BIGGEST breakthrough I’ve had has been in my self esteem and my self worth. I’m feeling much more in control of my body, my mind, my emotions and my spirit. It probably sounds dramatic, but I didn’t even realise the extent of how my sugar addiction and cravings were controlling me and the negative affect it had on me. It created a self loathing, destructive pattern.
Emotionally eating and self soothing through food was common for me, which began in my early twenties. Whilst I knew logically it was making me feel worse, I couldn’t stop myself and it was a vicious cycle.
I just know that when I started my weight loss journey 3 years ago with the USN 12 week challenge, it started me on my path. This journey has been like an onion of layers and I’ve finally got to the deeper layer of understanding I even have a sugar addiction, the cravings and how it’s linked to my self worth. I’m taking back my control in a healthy way. It hasn’t been easy, but boy I feel AMAZING today and THAT is the motivation.
I wanted to share more about my experience because it’s been one helluva journey so far and I feel like I’ve made so many break throughs!
- I have never read more ingredient labels in my life. Sure, in the beginning, shopping took a little while longer, but you become so familiar with what’s out and what’s in, that after the initial few times, I knew where my go-to foods were without any fuss or distraction.
- I have never been more shocked by food labels and how they try to hide sugar by calling it all different names. I see what you’re doing and it’s aggravating.
- I have never been more appalled by things that I have always thought were healthy… I’ll give you an example. I was in a rush, I didn’t have time to steam my own spinach or veggies, so I thought I’d get a ready packed one and even better, a LCHF approved Creamed spinach. As far as I’m concerned there should be spinach and cream on the ingredients label, no? NO. Corn flour, flour, dextrose (sugar) and other ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce.
- In the beginning I hated it. I felt resentful and went through all the emotions attached to withdrawal. I became sick with detox headaches and more personal issues (you would have read that in the My Addiction post) and I looked at skinny girls eating cupcakes with laser beam eyes. BUT… After I got a week of gold stars, I felt a rush of achievement and realised:
- I didn’t die. I survived, quite well (besides the detox) and managed without sugar! I don’t need it to function and I can go through days without it… who knew?
- After such a bad detox, it made me realise just how bad sugar is if I’m having such a crap reaction.
- After such a bad detox there is no way in hell I want to fall off the wagon, to go through all of that AGAIN.
- It is actually getting easier and my cravings are not as strong as they were in the beginning. Good grief… I craved the weirdest things. Things I haven’t eaten in years… Coco pops, strawberry pops, a Milky Lane waffle… It’s like I had an inner beast inside screaming: “FEED ME THESE THINGS AT ONCE!” It’s quite scary… and victorious when you win and not the weird inner beast or emotion.
- I started noticing that my face wasn’t as puffy and I wasn’t as bloated. Being in a LCHF lifestyle, with no sugar, works even faster in being healthy and weight loss.
- I have lost 6kgs from January the 2nd (5 months.)
- My taste buds have changed and sometimes fruit is too sweet for me. What?!? Who am I? Amazing!
- The gold star system has worked an absolute charm! I have been completely honest in my gold star report and have only missed a few days… My sisters wedding, my engagement, The Taste festival. What was interesting was how sugary treats were too sweet and how gross I felt afterwards. Honestly, it was delicious at the time (if not too sickeningly sweet) but afterwards, I got headaches, sometimes felt nauseous and my stomach ballooned and I felt so uncomfortable. I also never gave myself a gold star when I had realised I’d eaten hidden sugar – I’m talking about having marinaded ribs – the BBQ sauce or the basting sauce on a burger. I also managed the guilt, with more ease and control and knew that the next few days would be hard in having all those cravings again. It wasn’t exactly as bad as it was in week one, but I definitely had to monitor my cravings and not give in. It is CRAZY when you realise how just a little sugar can trigger cravings and spike blood sugar levels. Sugar is sugar. Whether you eat obvious sugar like chocolate, pastries or cake to hidden sugars like salad dressings, basting sauces and so on, once sugar enters the body, it doesn’t care where it comes from… it does exactly the same thing.
- I gave myself a goal in May to get a full month of gold stars! I am bloody thrilled with myself.
- Old Bailey: I would have now rewarded myself with a chocolate or slice of bar one cheesecake – because I deserved it. New Bailey: I’m not a dog, so I won’t reward myself with food. I will reward myself a new outfit (I need a smaller pair of jeans) or a massage. I need one.
- Food has never tasted so good. I’m eating real food and really appreciating it’s taste without drowning it in processed sauces. If I don’t understand a food label, I don’t eat it. I am seeing food as nourishment and each mouthful is a decision on whether I nourish myself or punish myself.
It’s become such a part of my life now and I am so happy. It’s still not easy… but it’s easier. It’s not always easy to say no to birthday cake and cupcakes, but I know what I’ve done and been through to get here. I know that at the end of the day I’ll have a gaping hole in the calendar where a star could be. It makes me triple check myself as to whether I really want to break it.
I can hear you asking: Bailey, what about fruit/natural sugar?
I have fruit… but I limit myself so that I’m not eating too much. In the beginning (first 2 months) I tried to not have any fruit to get my body used to little sugar. I started introducing a bit of fruit through berries/strawberries and a little watermelon and it was like a sweet dessert for me. Again… who am I?
I have the occasional glass of wine – wine spritzer and I know that there is sugar there but I’m such a light weight drinker so I’m not overly concerned and I feel like I’ve cut out so much already – a glass here and there is OK.
I use Xylitol, but only really in baking.
I use a little drizzle of raw honey if I have a cup of lemon, ginger and honey tea – but I’ve had 3 cups of that this year only.
My only thing now is that I have not exercised properly this year and I feel bad for it. I hate making excuses, but my days are so full of work and other commitments that exercise has been sacrificed.
What it’s made me realise is:
- It’s taken me 32 years to truly understand now that 80/20 rule about eating and exercise. Weight loss and health really is all about diet, and exercise is an aid to keep you fit and toned. I’ve lost weight more from just eating right.
- I keep wondering how I will look when I eventually get these 2 right. Last year I was exercising a lot, but cheating with the sugar and so I was maintaining. This year I’ve been eating right and hardly exercising – I can count the number of times on 2 hands and I’ve lost weight, but I’m unfit and soft. I really need to tone and get definition.
- Perhaps I need to add silver stars to the gold stars for when I exercise, but I’m cutting myself some slack and being proud of all that I’ve achieved not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too.
- Getting the balance of eating right and exercising and turning it into a maintainable lifestyle is perhaps the next onion layer, if you will, to my weight loss journey… I’ll get there.
Have you quit sugar? How have you found it and what are your tricks? I’d love for you to share in the comment section so that those who are wanting to do the same can also read your comments and advice!
If you’re still reading this… Thank You! It hasn’t been easy to write and be this vulnerable so thanks for taking the time to read it!