So I guess that explains why this Challenge was such agony! I've been short tempered, irritated, sleeping poorly and exhausted. But I made it through, by the skin of my (miraculously cavity free) teeth.
And I'll admit that now I do feel better. My moods are a little more stable, my energy is coming back, I'm concentrating more and I feel better at the gym (probably because I had a healthy snack before my run, instead of the usual 12 Gobstoppers). I'm surprised to find that coffee tastes pretty good without sugar (bless you Melbourne baristas) and now that I've gotten through the mega cravings of the first few days, I'm actually feeling less like I need it.
I'm so proud that I made it through this challenge, but also more than a little concerned that I found it as hard as I did. It's made me realise that even though I look healthy my body isn't doing too well. After a love affair that's lasted most of my life, sugar has started to betray me.
|How could you cookie? HOW COULD YOU?!|
1. Know whether your an abstainer or a moderator
This is a great tip I picked up from The Happiness Project. If you're trying to manage an unhealthy habit, do you find it easier to have just a little of the bad thing to manage your craving, or is it easier for you to avoid it all together? If it's the former, you're a moderator. If it's the latter, you're an abstainer - like me!
Take my best friend and I. She will have just 2 squares of chocolate and be completely satisfied. She has actually thrown out chocolate because it's gone off in the cupboard. I didn't even know this was possible. She's a moderator. I, on the other hand, cannot have chocolate in the house - at all - because I will eat the entire block within the day. Surprise! I'm an abstainer.
Some people will say that's bad to abstain from something and that you should have a little bit of what you crave or you'll binge. But for me that just doesn't hold true. I'm better to give something up completely, than just have a little whenever I want it (because then I want it all the time).
2. Get help
I had so many moments where I nearly caved - and I'll admit to having a hot chocolate when I was particularly cranky on Tuesday - but because I'd told people about what I was doing and let them know how hard I was finding it, it was easier to stay strong. No one would have told me off had I had a cupcake over coffee, but the fact that they knew held me accountable and helped keep me on track.
Mum's are also really good for keeping you accountable. (thanks to one of our lovely readers for this!)
3. Eat breakfast
"Wow. Really? This blog is totally life changing"...
Firstly, stop being sarcastic with me. I'm still vulnerable from the sugar loss. Secondly, YES. Eat breakfast. I know this is Healthy Eating 101 but I never do it (that sound you heard was the sound of my naturopath and Bill simultaneously slapping their foreheads because they've both told me this 800 times).
This is partly because I go to the gym in the morning and the idea of eating a banana at 5:30 makes me sick, but partly because I've been holding on to the 1984 Diet Theory that if you eat less you'll be skinnier. Which is completely insane. Because all it actually leads to is a hot chocolate at 8, a very enjoyable high at 8:30, a horrifying crash at 11 and an emergency cupcake at 11:02. Anyone else starting to feel really sorry for my internal organs?
|See! Scientific evidence that Bea's diet is totally working for her.|
4. Find good substitutes and plan plan plan
If you're anything like me, you get to the middle of the afternoon, feel like you are going to faint and immediately scoff whatever is closest to your mouth. When your office has an overflowing chocolate box this is not ideal.
So I realised I needed to find some good substitutes for the bad snacks I used to eat and plan my meals so that I never get so crazy hungry that I'll turn to my faithful box of Nerds.
Turns out, finding healthy and interesting options is not as easy as it sounds. Everything has sugar in it now!
Energy bars have sugar in them?
So I did a lot of searching for healthy snacks (Eva and Joy have some great ones) and tried to stick to the tried and true "if you're grandmother wouldn't recognise it as food, don't eat it". Nuts and seeds in, Giant Freddo out (sorry Freddo).
5. Stick with it but don't get crazy
Do I think I'm never going to eat another piece of cake in my life? No way! But when it comes to the really hard core stuff - nerds, sugar in tea, gobstoppers, chocolate - this is the end for us (sob). I want to make a commitment to my health and having those kinds of things pretty much every day is hurting my body, which means it's also hurting my happiness.
So I'm going to abstain from having sugar in my trolley and in my cupboards. I'm going to give up sugar in my coffee and breakfasts. But I'm also going to accept that there will be times when I want to eat cake. I'm just going to work really hard to reserve this for special (and rare) ocassions.
Maybe that sounds boring. But do you know what else is boring? Type II Diabetes.
So this is it. Challenge complete. Goodbye Nerds. Goodbye Gobstoppers. Goodbye my sugary lovely beautiful friends. We'll always have Paris (and that roadtrip where I ate an entire packet of gummy bears and nearly died)...
And at least I still get to enjoy your hilarious and charming ads.
Does anyone else out there have a sweet-tooth? What works for you in keeping it under control? A lovely Google Year reader recommended this book yesterday - thanks Buggles, I'm going to pick this one up on the weekend!