I am giving up sugar today. For 90 days. Not for ten days or 30, but 90. Yep, three whole months without the sweet stuff. Why? Because, as they say in 12 step parlance, I am powerless against Cadbury’s. A full on addict.
I’ll be regaling you daily with the ups and downs, the good, bad, ugly, useful and not of my journey.
Why, oh why?
It’s hard to ignore the hype about how sugar is the new tobacco. Hell, I’ve written a lot of it myself for various newspapers and magazines, interviewed some of the biggest names advocating we give it up and had the neurochemistry and biology explained to me in exacting detail. I will elaborate in another post but suffice it to say sugar makes you fat, tired, sore and old. It’s also addictive; a drug that involves the same pathways in the brain as heroin or cocaine.
I am not so bothered about the fat thing. Well, obviously I don’t want to be fat. But I am not. Having gone paleo lite a few years ago, I now avoid most grains and managed as a result to lose that pesky last half stone and have kept it off. I got my energy back and go to the gym and do HIIT and weights a few times a week. I walk about an hour most days. I’m pretty happy with my body which is now strong and lean.
Trouble is, I am tired all the time and at 44, I feel old. I work long hours and have a super-stressful job. Because I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, when I need to feel better quickly I eat chocolate. Like a five year old, I quickly inhale the stuff then half an hour later am lying in a crying mess on a Malteser downer under my desk. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic but you get where I am going.
It came to a head last week. We were sent an inordinate amount of posh chocolate to the office for Easter so the place was teaming with sweet treats. On Thursday and Friday, the interns were away and the office was empty. I had newspaper deadlines and some intense stuff going on at the business end of Healthista.
The only way I could find to deal with it all was by making myself feel better with that luscious no-fail emotional salve: chocolate. I inhaled about eight of said posh choccies plus two gluten-free cereal bars from Alexa Tucker – our GF blogger’s – stash until I felt quite stuffed. Then typically, half an hour later I wanted to curl up and go to sleep.
That’s the trouble with me and sugar. A little is never enough. That goes as much for chocolate as it does for clementines or grapes or pineapples. I must be sensitive to that sweet sensation as even with sweet fruits, I can’t eat a little, I have to eat four clementines in one sitting, even a whole large pineapple can disappear in one sitting with me around.
I have given up sugar before and it was difficult. I had no crutch and was forced to face the ugly emotions that I usually turn to sugar to numb. It got too painful and after about a month I had my head back in Galaxy bars at least once a week. That’s why I want to do this for longer than I would normally do one of these trial blog things; to give it the time and space to really see if it changes the way I feel. I have written so much about the evils of sugar and the theoretical benefits of giving up and I want to put my mouth and my body where my stories are and find out exactly what will happen when I stop.
I would love to see improvements in my sleep – right now I get about five hours a night and am always knackered. As a result I use industrial quantities of concealer. Plus, I want to know if it really is true that giving up sugar makes your skin look better and if it helps my energy and my mood.
Look, I know everyone says ‘oh I just want to feel better,’ but I really am doing this to feel better. I can’t afford highs and lows in this job as a busy jobbing journalist and the editor of healthista.com. I need a cool head all the time as I am daily required to make quick decisions, mentor people, solve problems, edit copy and interview medical experts about complicated conditions and bodily processes. There’s no time for Malteser lows.
I will be blogging daily with advice and help from the amazing experts and products and people I have access to each day. I hope to bring you both useful and useless tips, advice and help so you can learn from my success and mistakes. Who knows, one day you might want to make a similar journey.
Wish me luck!
Oh and for the record – my starting stats:
Weight: 125 pounds
Hips: 35 inches
Waist: 28 inches
Bust: 35 inches
Upper thigh: 21.5 inches
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