A few months ago I made the committment to go sugar free for 10 days. I decided to post about it on Facebook every day for 10 days as a way to hold myself accountable and to stay true to myself. I want to give you a glimpse into what it was like and into how I felt on a day to day basis.
I am beginning my post with a confession. Well I find it to be a bit of an embarrassing confession given that I am a Yoga student and teacher. I LOVE all things SWEET. There, I said it. I find it hard not to eat the chocolate in front of me, to leave the cake, to have the cookie. I admit that once I start, I feel like I am losing control. I want more, NOW. Even though I know it is not good for me, I crave more.
And of course I feel bad afterwards, I feel guilty, also like a cheat sometimes (where has all the discipline and self-control gone that others see in me?).
But worse and really harming are the effects of me eating anything sugary: headaches, foggy brain (I love that; the expression, not the actual state), itching, …
10 days isn’t much, is it? But 10 days focusing on not doing something (especially something as addictive as cocaïne… which I can’t tell if it’s true given that I have no experience with the former or any other drug for that matter. Ups, I guess that was another confession.) is actually a long time.
Because not eating sugar is not just about not eating the cake or the cookie… No, that would be too easy. The evil sugar is EVERYWHERE.
So basically I will not eat any of the following:
- honey (I put this first because it is the most difficult for me to ditch)
- cane sugar
- raw cane sugar
- gluten (though I am cheating a bit, I will keep eating my oats in the morning (simple plain oats))
- anything starchy (aka potatoes and the like)
- any sugar substitutes (Agave sirup for instance)
- anything processed (anything in a bag basically)
Fruit is allowed by the way. Very important detail.
On day 2 I was faced with my first challenge at work where I was tempted by savoury snacks that my colleagues and I were asked to test.
The weird thing is I often feel awkward in social situations around food. I seem to lack the confidence to stand up for myself and say “No thank you, I do not want to eat this.” I know I don’t want it, I might like it, yes, but I know I do not want to eat it. But simply to keep people from commenting and to not have to justify myself I will eat it. Isn’t that stupid? Does anyone else even do that? Maybe that is my education: eat what’s on your plate, someone put a lot of energy into making it, so respect that and eat it. And also don’t make a fuss in public.
Despite all this I made it through day 2.
Someone asked me why I was contemplating a life without sugar. I gave this a longer thought.
My reason for all this, other than the obvious health concerns and my wish to be feel good in my body, is that I want to be happy and feel good without any crutches.
I find nothing wrong with eating sugar for enjoyment or the pleasure of tasting something nice. On the contrary.
The thing is most of the time I eat sweets out of boredom, anxiety or anger (BAA, I just made that up). When I am in a stressful situation at work, often my first thought is to grab some chocolate. Same when I am sad or lonely or things aren’t going the way I imagined or when I am really angry. WIth these thoughts come the excuses : “one serving won’t hurt.” “it’s ok, you deserve it, you worked hard.”
And everyone knows that a) I won’t eat just one serving and b) it surely won’t make my negative feelings go away.
It is my goal to find other means to get out of the negative thought patterns, to seek satisfaction inside rather than outside. Yoga helps a lot. And then I also try to meditate on a regular basis to shift my thoughts. Even 10 minutes in the morning before leaving the house can have a huge impact on my day.
Oh and I have a confession to make. I ate 2 chewing gums today. Totally mindless, not thinking about it. Tststs. For the rest, all good on day 3.
Halfway through! Yay!
How I feel on day number 5? Great! I started my day with 30 minutes of Yoga and felt great afterwards and throughout the day. I find that my digestion has improved. My skin isn’t as dry anymore (not where I want it yet, but better). I am back to drinking lots of water without forcing myself.
Not eating sugar for 10 days actually teaches me a lot of things not related to actual food.
When you are determined to go through with something you find yourself saying “no” a lot. And I realise that I am actually not saying “no” enough in my life. Why? Out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings, out of fear not of not fitting in, out of fear of being judged, … Simply out of fear really.
I often find myself not listening to what I really want when confronted with requests or situations.
Here are e few things I reflected on last night and that I would like to be true for me:
- I look after myself always
- I stand up for my beliefs and I am not shy about them
- I stay true and honest to myself, to my personality
- I say “no” when something does not resonate with me or does not suit me at this point in time
And I made it through day 7. It is getting easier and more natural. I feel well.
I made it ! I successfully completed a 10 day detox from sugar. Yay!
Now how do I feel?
On a physical level I feel overall lighter, I have more energy (especially in the mornings and also in the evenings, I feel like I can stay up longer without then missing out on sleep), my digestion has definitely improved, I do not feel bloated or unwell around my stomach, I haven’t had any headaches or brain fog action going on, during my Yoga practice I feel lighter and less stiff.
On a mental level, I feel proud that I made it, that I had the determination and will to keep going. It feels good to not eat something that isn’t good for you (even though there is some temptation). I clearly noticed how it got easier by day, that during the last days I did not even think of sugar as an option. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on something. It gave me confidence and the conviction that this is the way to go.
Posting daily messages here gave me an extra boost to keep going.
Right now I am still contemplating on the exact next steps and on how to make sure I am hanging in.
I will keep you posted.
Credits: Illustrations by Linda Dieschbourg