… to sugar. Yup, that’s right. I’m taking a break from added/processed sugars indefinitely, and I wanted to share this with you for a few reasons: 1) this is a wellness site, so obviously I want to share about my personal wellness journey, 2) I’m an Obliger Tendency, which means I need accountability and making a public statement will force me to be accountable to this choice outside of myself, and 3) because it may encourage others who decide they want to take a break from sugar themselves.
I’m pretty sure one thing that all diets, scientists, doctors, and nutritionists agree on is that added/processed sugar does not contribute positively to anyone’s health in any way. The average amount of sugar consumed per person in the U.S. is over 150lbs per year. So imagine those 5lb bags of sugar you buy for baking, but imagine 30 of them. Yeah, that’s a lot of sugar. Chronic consumption of sugar It not only leads to long term blood sugar regulation and diabetes, but it contributes to chronic stress, mineral deficiencies, heart disease, mental disorders, inflammation, and so much more. So it’s a pretty clear choice if you’re looking to improve your health, to start by reducing or eliminating the amount of sugar in your diet.
I decided I need a break from sugar mainly because I feel very reliant on it right now. I add sweetener to my coffee, I crave chocolate all. the. time. and dessert has become a regular part of our evenings. I’m also looking to reduce some inflammation around my ankle (short story is: I shattered my ankle 3 years ago, have 2 metal plates and a bunch of screws in there, and still experience pretty regular swelling), and frankly because I want to lose weight.
Eliminating an entire food group (lol) from your diet is not necessarily easy and should not be done impulsively. You need to be mentally and physically prepared to support yourself through the first few weeks because your brain sees sugar as a drug, and it will go through a detox period. I prepared myself by creating a clearly defined line in the sand for what I am and am not giving up:
- I’m not eating anything with high amounts of added sugars (I don’t care about the few grams in my organic ketchup) and I’m not adding any type of sweetener to my coffee, tea, etc.
- I’m not eating any processed treats/desserts, even if they’re “sugar free”, because they have the same psychological affect on me that real sugar creates.
- I’m not setting a timeline for my sugar moratorium, because as soon as I do, it will turn into a count down to when I’m “allowed” to have sugar again. By simply choosing to not have sugar “for now” I’m setting the expectation that I made a choice for myself, and I can choose to end my moratorium whenever I want. This way there’s no pressure or specific end date, and it gives me more control over my choices.
- I’m still going to eat naturally occurring sugars in fruits and some fruit juices. It’s really hard to overeat fresh fruit, and eating fruit in it’s whole form brings with it a lot fiber and nutrients. I’m allowing small amounts of fruit juice to add flavor to my mineral water, but that’s about it since there’s no nutritional value to drinking a glass of juice.
I planned for this by setting a start date (today), and removing any tempting treats or habits either entirely, or at least from my line of sight. Other action items that will help you plan for a dietary change are: meal planning (I already do this), ensuring you have enough snacks/back up plan depending on what you’re changing (I bought fruit), and telling someone about your plan to hold you accountable (that’s you!).
Some ways I’ll be measuring success with this experience is to take note of my mood, cravings, energy, and sleep. I’m also expecting that this change will help improve my relationship with food overall because I’m removing the most addictive part of my diet. I’m going to be taking notes of how I feel each day for the few 2 weeks so that I can share my experience through the sugar detox phase and any tips I manage to uncover to make it easier for you if you ever decide to ditch sugar.