Today marks 4 months since I went sugar free. It feels like much longer, not because I miss sugar but because I’m so used to living sugar free.
It sounds weird but I love being sugar free. I love the ‘freedom’ I now have – I can easily turn down cake and biscuits, and most people know I don’t eat them anyway so won’t bother offering them to me. I don’t have cravings or feel I ‘need’ to eat chocolate in the evening if I’m feeling low. I love all the new exciting recipes I can try out. I can eat whatever I want (obviously not sugar, though).
That may sound bizarre. In the olden days when I ate sugar, the idea of eating whatever I wanted would mean chocolate, cakes and doughnuts. But now I look forward to eating exciting snacks I’ve made like these really yummy cashew, coconut and chocolate crispy squares (we had run out of coconut so I chopped up some pecans and I put some cacao nibs in the mix instead of using chocolate).
I don’t count calories. I’m not afraid of carbs but I make sure my bread and pasta are wholemeal and rice is brown. I’m not afraid of fats either. I mostly stop eating when I’m full, unless it’s something delicious that I just want to eat more of. That’s partly because I’m eating lots more whole grains and veg which keeps you full. But also, because I’m eating a much more healthy diet than before, aside from the odd packet of crisps, a tiny bit more won’t make a huge difference to my waistline.
I’ve fallen in love with new food. I love almond butter and crunchy hazelnut butter. I am absolutely in love with porridge. I’ve gone back to cooking it on the hob with milk and I eat it with a banana or blueberries and a spoon of nut butter. No, it’s not new, but I will happily eat it every morning and when I’m going to sleep I even think, ‘ooh, porridge for breakfast tomorrow!’
Better still, the weight I lost when I initially stopped eating sugar has not returned. Admittedly I have been running a lot recently too but that means there will probably be an increase in weight as hopefully some fat will turn to muscle. I’m not actively trying to lose weight any more, just being healthy and trying to keep fit.
I don’t usually stick to diets or exercise plans for very long, but being sugar free has definitely stuck. The books say it’s because I’m no longer addicted to fructose, the bad part of sugar. And I guess once you’ve kicked a habit and found life without it is better, that’s that.
Even four months in I still sometimes forget to read the ingredients list though. For example, we often have eggs on Saturday morning which is especially nice after a longer run (I ran 5.5miles/8.9km on Saturday. Did I mention that?!), so thought it would be nice to have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon which we don’t have very often. After eating said smoked salmon I was reading the back of the packet and spotted sugar. We live and learn.
After yesterday’s post about dextrose I was massively encouraged to hear from two friends who are trying to go sugar free – one was even inspired to do it after reading my blog! It is incredible that I no longer feel like the only ‘normal’ person doing this and I am learning from ‘newbies’ to the no-sugar scene. One has recently bought Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar books and told me how she’s ordered rice malt syrup from Amazon, so I’ve been looking into getting some for myself as a maple syrup and honey substitute. Another has previously lent me one of Sarah Wilson’s recipe books. And another has said they’re trying xylitol and stevia as alternatives to sugar.
It’s a fascinating, if sometimes quite frustrating, world without sugar. Have you thought about giving it a go?