Lets be honest for a second. We ALL consume wayyyyyyyy too much of the stuff. As adults, our recommended daily sugar intake shouldn't be more than 30g- the equivalent of around 6 teaspoons of sugar. One can of coke contains 9 teaspoons. A glass of orange juice? Around 4 teaspoons. This is just the drinks, before adding it to tea and coffee, eating biscuits and cake, the hidden sugars in most convenience food, not to mention the fact that carbohydrates metabolise to sugar as they are digested. I would wager that most of you reading this are easily hitting that recommended amount, and then some.
Before I go any further, I just want to throw a disclaimer at you. I'm a normal busy mum. I'm not following a regime, I'm not promoting anyone or anything, I'm just sharing my story.
A typical day for me a few weeks ago looked like this:
3 or 4 coffees with sugar.
Granola or porridge with sugar for breakfast.
A lot of biscuits and cake, especially when I'm teaching.
I'm not great at lunch, occasionally it looks like nutella on toast and an apple.
I eat a lot of fruit, quite often half a punnet of blueberries or raspberries or a couple of satsumas.
Dinner. sometimes a fabulously healthy veggie meal, often pizza or pasta. occasionally cereal or toast.
Maybe a glass of water if I remember.
My evenings are spent on my laptop and watching TV with ice-cream, nutella and a spoon, a bar of chocolate or a bag of sweets.
Shit man. Written down thats pretty horrific. I'm not a big drinker, maybe a couple of glasses of wine a week, if I go out out, its either vodka and lemonade or if I'm not drinking- I drink full sugar coke.
So let me explain my motivation. Its twofold. Firstly, I've invested massively in myself recently. I've joined a group coaching programme with my business mentor Suzy Ashworth. Every day for the last 2 months we've had work to do, journalling questions to answer. Lots of soul searching and working out what we want in every aspect of our businesses and personal lives. The growth, minutes work and motivation has been amazing for me. Totally life changing. One of the affirmations I chose to focus on has been loving my body and feeling comfortable and happy with the choices I make to nourish myself. Secondly, I made myself really ill a few weeks ago. I went to a party and made the choice not to drink alcohol. So instead I drank coke. I must have had maybe 6 glasses. So is it any wonder that I woke up the next day feeling horrific?! That was my point of no return. I CHOOSE not to feel like that any more.
So the change.
I won't pretend its been easy, that there haven't been slip ups or cravings- baking biscuits with my kids on day two was a rookie error- but this is a rough account of what I've done to rapidly reduce my sugar intake:
-Drinking a fuck tonne of water. Flushing my body and clearing the toxins. Bonus- I feel less bloated and my wrinkles are disappearing.
-Eating a banana a day. I read that potassium helps curb sugar cravings so thought it was worth a shot. I hate the texture of banana but can cope with it sliced. I've discovered that healthy peanut butter on toast with sliced banana is actually a good filling snack for me.
-A handful of raisins in my porridge instead of sugar. Boring but palatable.
-Eating a proper lunch. My local garage have a fab range of great exciting salad boxes packed with grains, sprouts (not brussel) and interesting flavours so I've stocked up on those, especially for work days.
-Swapping out my coffee for green and herbal teas. A non issue for me, I love green tea anyway.
Buying dark chocolate for dire emergencies. I am not a fan at all so easier not to bother!
-A colleague recommended crab apple bach flower remedy so I've been adding that to my drinking water.
Still eating loads of fruit. I love my fruit!
Making these choices has been conscious and honestly easier than I expected it to be (but still hard!!), but I am aware that I've probably still consumed a fair amount of hidden sugar without realising, but my main goal was always about REDUCING, not depriving myself of everything thats good in this world.
Word of warning, and something I was prepared for- sugar is an addiction. Cutting it out will give you withdrawal symptoms like headaches, sweats and cravings. On day 5 and 6 I thought I might actually die. I had the worst headache I have ever had in my life. It was possible a migraine but I've never had one to compare it to. Every time I moved my head I was nearly sick. I was actually sick too. I had sleepless, restless nights. I sweated buckets at night. At 3am on day 6 I had to get out of bed for an ice pack for the back of my neck. I considered phoning myself an ambulance and reminding my girls I love them. I can say this with humour now but at the time I was deadly serious. It was a pretty intense come down.
I write this on day 9. The last few days I've felt much better. Full of energy, clear headed and really positive. I really think I can stick to this. There may be slip ups, especially at christmas, but honestly the difference in how I'm feeling is amazing.
I have put these instagram photos side by side. Day 5 versus day 9. The frown in the first picture was caused by the mega headache. The smile in the second is a symptom of freedom.