Sugar-Free Me: Day 1,493

Ok, so it’s not really Day 1,493. More like Day 29. But it sure feels like it.

Back in February, some work colleagues challenged me to give up refined sugar for Lent. No chocolate, no sugar. I figured I was up to the challenge, since I eat far too much of the world’s best chocolate. Yes I just said that. England makes the WORLD’S BEST CHOCOLATE. I have lived in America and yours tastes like shit. Or like cooking chocolate if you want to put it politely (but I’m not really in the mood for politeness).

So this was mid-February and on 5th March, the challenge began. I started reducing the amount of sugar in my coffee the week before, so by the time the 5th came round, I was pretty ok with having sugarless coffee. But I went cold turkey with the chocolate, which was tough. As it’s pretty tough to avoid sugar altogether, because so many foods have them, I allowed myself to have some sugar in savoury meals, as long as I went for options with the smallest amounts. I ate fruit, because that is “natural” sugar, and allowed myself the occasional smoothie, which have a high sugar content but again this is “natural” sugar.

As the weeks went by, I avoided chocolate and sugar in my coffee. Gradually sugarfied foods have crept back in, such as croissants and cakes. But the only time I lapsed on chocolate was during a work do, where they provided free-flowing champagne, canapés and mini chocolate macaroons. Other than that, no chocolate has passed my lips.

I have to say I think I have done well. Although I haven’t seen the results I expected. I haven’t lost weight, and as I mentioned in Jogga-Blog is Back! yesterday, I feel like I am heavier, certainly around the middle. I have read about people feeling so much better after giving up sugar, having more energy, being less tired and having whiter eyes. I don’t feel like I have any of these benefits. Maybe because I’ve been filling up on carbs, my hunger cravings going wild because my body doesn’t believe it’s full if it doesn’t have pudding (it’s an English thing).

But chocolate and “sugar” are not the only things I have given up. I am proud to tell you that the last time I had a Diet Coke was on Friday 21st February. 42 days ago. I have just equalled my record for giving up liquid caffeine. But this time I’m pretty sure I have given up for good. I only craved it once, in the first two weeks after, and I think that was more about craving a cold drink.

Since I gave up coke, I’ve been drinking more water, at work and home. I had a small glass of lemonade on my business trip while I was working (yes I realise this is sugar) but I could taste the sweetness in it and didn’t have another.

Again, I haven’t noticed the benefits I thought I would have from stopping the Diet Coke. My urine is a totally different colour now, being much clearer and not so neon (sorry was that too much information?). However, I am still as bloated as ever at times, which means after this sugar-free thing has finished, I’ll be going onto working out what my food intolerances are.

Another 14 days to go of the Sugar-Free Me. Why anyone had to organise Lent so close to Easter I’ll never know. I for one will be looking forward to a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, a proper British one, and a glass of water this Easter. And the knowledge that I survived this challenge, even if I didn’t blog about it as often as I should have. That’s a challenge I still need to work on.

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