Today I found myself irritable, annoyed and energy deficient. We’d run out of chocolate and I really needed the sugar rush. I’d woken up early and taken full benefit of the beautiful weather, post school drop off, I went for a run. An hour and 5.6 miles later, surely, I’d earned it. I didn’t care that I looked a mess or that my cranky daughter was sleepy, she would just have to nap in the car, en route to Tesco. On balance, chocolate makes me happy and happy Mummy= happy Baby, in reality I was doing this for her…right?
As I devoured my ‘Snickers’ bar (which by the way they have reduced drastically in size!), because what’s not to like? Chocolate…good, nuts…good…caramel gooood (imitating Joey, Friends), I came to the realisation that something needed to be done about my sugar cravings. On my research journey I found several articles suggesting that sugar is as addictive as nicotine and some go as far as suggesting it is more addictive than heroine! Wait, what? That’s frightening to hear yet it doesn’t come as a complete surprise, thinking about it, I would occasionally put my desire and cravings for chocolate down to my menstrual cycle or feeling run down. To be honest I can think of several excuses why chocolate is a requirement in my life. I dislike the idea of being dependent on anything, in fact I make it a conscious decision to stay away from things I could become reliant on. This is part of the reason why I don’t smoke, drink and rarely take over the counter drugs (or prescribed depending on their necessity). I’ve probably taken paracetamol on two separate occasions this year.
I also struggle from a degree of anxiety (self-diagnosed) which I disguise well, I find the concept of relaxing difficult. I know it’s importance, I just find it difficult to convince my mind to do it, I have this habitual need to be doing something all the time. Some studies suggest that in small quantities sugar can act as a stimulant, much like caffeine it can provide a source of energy. The difference is that after a small burst of energy, it’s often followed by a sugar low, fatigue and irritability.
I don’t want to abandon sugar entirely for the rest of my life, life is for living and I don’t want to give up everything I enjoy. Research suggests it takes 21 days to form a habit, to ensure I have tried my best at exercising restraint by limiting my intake of sugar, I am going to partake in a sugar free month. At the end of the month I will update you on how my sugar detox went, what I noticed and what it has taught me?
Benefits of a sugar detox
- Younger looking skin. An increase in sugar levels leads to glycation – a process which hinders the repair of collagen . Research suggests that reducing sugar prevents premature wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
- Improved energy that lasts throughout the day. Increasing your sugar intake results in a rapid surge of energy followed by a crash. Whereas increasing protein and fat intake means steady energy throughout the day.
- Bye belly fat and hello weight loss. Visceral fat around the abdomen accumulates overtime due to an increase of insulin throughout the body. Reducing sugar can help reduce pounds and subsequently reduce infuriating stomach fat.
Which sugar detox plan am I going to follow?
I did contemplate cutting all sugar from my diet, even naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and some starchy vegetables. That seemed a little extreme and impractical, I hate diets and that would trigger my compulsion to rebel and binge. As a substitute, I’ve decided to eat clean. Let me elaborate, I’m going to restrain from anything with ”added sugar” for a month. This includes sweeteners or anything likely to cause an insulin spike. I will keep you posted on my results in a months’ time, what I notice and how I feel?
Wish me luck. Has anyone tried a sugar detox? How did you resist the urge to give in? Also, if you have any tips for me, please comment below.
For my post on my experience with compulsive eating go here
“Sugar makes you fat, ugly and old” – Brooke Alpert, The Sugar Detox