I Cut Out Sugar For a Month and This is What Happened.
First, I want to say that I thought about doing thing for MONTHS! Maybe almost a year. Every month when I would reflect on what I want my intentions to be most months I would ask myself, “is this the month I do no sugar?”. I would find excuses, think about the sugar I eat and conclude that I didn’t have that much so I didn’t need to cut it out. If you are reading this and thinking you could never make it a month without sugar or find fear around it. I am here to say, I hear you, I understand and although it might seem scary it’s only ONE month not forever, unless thats something you want.
Corey and I recorded a podcast with sugar detox expert Lorraine Kearney to celebrate my last week with no sugar Listen here!
I don’t have a sweet tooth. I’m more of a salty gal, give me all the popcorn, chips and salty snacks. So what changed from the excuses to cutting it out?
I began to realize that yes, I do not have a lot of sugar, I don’t have much processed foods that hide different kinds of sugar, sometimes I put a tsp of honey or coconut sugar in my tea but not every morning and if I have a piece of chocolate at night I can have a small square and be satisfied. What changed and why I decided to cut out sugar for the month is I started to realize that even with the small amount of sugar in my diet I relied on it. After a meal I would crave it, when I was feeling tired I would reach for dried fruit or a square of sugar, if I wanted to cheer myself up I would try and find a vegan treat (I wouldn’t act on it all the time but it was one of the first things I would think about). I realized that I might not know how much sugar I was really having.
I wanted to be more aware of the choices I was making and I knew if I cut out sugar that would force me to be more present and look at my choices. Luckily I was able to get some other friends to join me so I didn’t feel alone. HIGHLY recommended getting a friend to join you. It was nice to be able to text my sister or friends saying I was having cravings or when I denied it and was proud. If you do decide to cut out sugar and can’t find someone to be brave with you let me know! I’ll be your buddy!
What I cut out
No added sugar. Which means I wasn’t eating anything that had sugar added to it. You would be surprised what has sugar in it that you think wouldn’t. Some chips have sugar. WHY? It is very important to look at the labels of the food you are eating to make sure there is no added sugar. It also means I’m not adding any sugar to anything; honey, coconut sugar, agave, white sugar… nothing!
No dried fruit. Sure there are some dried fruit that doesn’t have sugar added to it but it has a lot of the fiber stripped out and your body digests the sugar in the dried fruit similarly to candy.
Sugary drinks or teas. I was most sad about not having kombucha but was happy to learn half way though that some of GT Kombucha’s used fruit juice instead of cane sugar. However, similarly to dried fruit fruit juices have the fiber stripped out and your body does digest it differently than a piece of whole fruit so I made sure to only have a little bit. I think I had a bottle last for 3-5 days.
Alcohol. I don’t drink that much alcohol anyways, so that was an easy one to let go of. I would rather eat my calories that drink my calories. That being said I did find that I was craving it more. My body was looking for any sugar it could get!
What I did have
Let’s focus on the positive! I did eat whole fruit. I don’t believe in cutting out food groups so I did eat fruit. Fruits have a fiber, essential vitamins and nutrients and something I feel is important to have on a daily basis. So you best believe I was eat fruit!
Tea that was unsweetened! Sometimes I did really want to add sugar to my matcha but I did need to.
EVERYTHING ELSE! I did my best to no focus on what I couldn’t have and was focusing on what I could have!
What helped me when I was having cravings
Tea! Late at night when I wanted to reach for a square of dark chocolate I would make a cup of tea instead. Mint was my go to. Then I found a vanilla rooibos tea that I really enjoyed, it had cinnamon and other “sweet” like flavors.
Fruit. I made sure to have berries, apples, oranges and bananas. I didn’t over eat on fruit but it was nice to have with breakfast or a snack. I made banana ice cream one of the first nights :)
Reminding Myself Why I Was Doing it. When I would have cravings I would remind myself why I was doing this and why it was important and finally, it was only ONE month.
Time and Patience. It might sound corny but I knew the more time I spend without sugar the easier it would be.
The first week was hard but I was making it harder by focusing on all the things I couldn’t have. The first weekend Corey and I went to a local coffee shop and I got excited because they have a delicious vegan banana bread. That was when I realized I need to focus on the positive instead and why I was cutting out sugar for the month.
What I Learned and What’s Next
To be honest, I was expected to see a lot more change. But, as I said, I didn’t have too much sugar to begin with so I guess there wasn’t a lot of room for change. There was an eye opening experience that happened around day 4. Without thinking I reached for a something sugary at home after lunch. I realized I wasn’t present when making choices around sugar. If I hadn’t been doing no sugar I wouldn’t have thought about it and eaten something sweet. I wasn’t listening to my body. Instead I was allowing empty cravings to make my decisions. I know I have reached for sugar without being present many times before. It was clear to me that I need to be more aware of when and why I reach for sugar.
It wasn’t until the second week that I began noticing more changes I was having a bit more energy and I didn’t need my afternoon pick-me-up. I know a lot of people say they loose weight or sleep better. I did not reap those benefits but I have been blessed with being a good sleeper so i’m not sure there is too much more room for improvement.
Most of what I learned and the improvements I made came after the month was over
I thought that as soon as the month was over I would be wanting a vegan pastry or chocolate but something different happened. I realized I don’t need it. My evening cravings for something sweet wasn’t strong anymore. When I had the opportunity for a pastry or dessert I didn’t want it because I didn’t need it. Now that my no sugar month is over I have learned to have more balance and to be more present around my choices which to me is a greater takeaway then better sleep for a month or loosing weight. Having a healthy relationship with food and is the most important to me .
Want to hear more? Listen to our podcast with sugar detox expert Lorraine Kearney. Listen here!
Thinking of doing no sugar? Let me know! I want to help encourage you and hear your journey.