Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm sweet enough already

People in the comments to the last post asked a few questions about my sugarfreeness, and I thought I'd answer them in a post instead of writing the world's longest comment.

Profgrrrl asked:

How does it feel to be sugar free after a month? Aside from the shock of eating it again, I mean.

(And Ianqui and Jana had similar questions.)

The main benefit I have noticed is that healthy food like fruit and vegetables, grains, etc, all taste so much better than I have ever remembered them tasting. I think sugary food was dulling my tastebuds. Right now I seriously cannot think of any yummier foods than brown rice, broccoli, grated carrots (not all together) and as a sweet snack, a mango or some papaya.

Over the last few weeks I've hardly ever felt the desire to snack on junkfood, or even to snack much at all. Back in my sugar-frenzied days :) I used to bounce from one snack to the next, always thinking about what I would eat next. Lately, I eat a small breakfast, have an apple around 11 o'clock, a sandwich for lunch, a substantial snack (another sandwich, a kebab, noodles, tuna on crackers, or similar) around 3:30 or so, and then dinner in the early evening. I often don't feel like eating after dinner, and I hardly ever think about food in between each of these. (I'm not denying myself food apart from sugar, though, so if I do feel like eating an entire bowl of nachos with three types of cheese, I go for it. It just doesn't happen very often).

I think I have finally de-coupled the psychological associations of food with certain events, too. It used to be that I always bought a chocolate bar when I went shopping, I always bought sweets at the movies, I pigged out on chocolate biscuits every week at our Monday department afternoon teas, and I always ate some chocolate or biscuits when watching TV in the evening. The hardest times during the early parts of last month were these, but now, I can do all of these things without thinking about snacking, so I'll only eat something if I'm actually hungry.

I think maybe sometimes I forget to eat when I am hungry too, which could be a problem. When I first stopped eating sugar in December, I lost three kilos in the first two weeks, then with my relapse in New Zealand, I put it all back on again (which was fine, because I'm not overweight, and this wasn't a weight-loss thing). Now I'm once more three kilos below my former weight, and I don't want to lose much more. I might have to start eating bigger meals.

Finally, I think my energy levels are a lot stabler when I'm not eating sugar. I used to always get very sleepy in the early afternoon, perk up mid-afternoon (which was when I usually ate some cake or chocolate) and get sleepy again around 4:30. I haven't noticed this happening at all in the last few weeks.

Rageyone asked:

Why did you decide to celebrate now? Are you reintroducing sugar back into your diet?

I was only ever planning to trial this for a month and see what effects it had. But seeing as they were all positive, and seeing that I really didn't enjoy that dessert last night (and still feel crappy for it), I might just stay sugar-free-ish. I'm not going to refuse dessert at other people's houses or pass up free chocolate, but I think I might continue not to eat sugar as a regular part of my day, and keep avoiding the high-sugar versions of things like yoghurts, muesli bars and cereals.

Ianqui asked:

Are you planning on splurging once a month or whatever, but generally staying away from sugar?

That's not a bad idea. Right now, the thought of anything sugary makes me feel like throwing up, and I can't imagine wanting to splurge again even in a month, but in the unlikely situation that I start to think an ice cream sundae or piece of cheesecake is a good idea, I could make it a once a fortnight/once a month-type deal.

But really? I wasn't joking when I said I thought I had poisoned myself last night. I had hot flushes, jitteriness, couldn't concentrate on anything, and my stomach did back-flips all night long. Worst of all, the whole sundae/brownies deal tasted terrible (and I know it wasn't that I screwed up the brownie recipe, because Geekman loved them.)

I think I'll have no trouble staying off sugar for at least another month after this.


Ianqui said...

That's amazing. Wow, you really make it sound like the greatest thing ever in the world ever! Maybe I should do it. I don't think of myself as a huge sweets-eater, but at this point, any kind of drastic change would probably help me kick-start a stagnating nutrition plan.

StyleyGeek said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound evangelical. It probably had such huge effects for me exactly because I used to be the world champion sugar-eater (I would eat it by the spoon-full if I had a craving and no desserts were handy). I'm not sure it would change your life so much if you don't eat much sugar to start with.

That's not to say you shouldn't do it, but alternatively you could always consider working out what is the biggest problem with your current eating (for me it was sugar but for some people it might be high-fat foods or too much processed meat or something) and cut that out instead...

Julie said...

Do you still drink alcohol?

StyleyGeek said...

I didn't cut it out along with the other sugary things, but I'm not a big drinker anyway. I probably only drink once every two or three weeks, and then its usually one beer, or two or three glasses of wine.

Miss M. said...

Wow, reminds me of a friend of mine who was advised by her doctor (after a long sickly period) to stop eating anything with gluten in it and then developed coeliac disease.

I did much the same thing with red meat and bread - feels good, eh?

Anonymous said...

4 years out, are you still sugar free or on reduced sugar? Thinking about making the plunge myself and came across your blog...