I miss chocolate. It’s a thought I’ve had every single day whilst doing my added sugar ban. I bloody love chocolate.
However, I do feel that the sugar ban has been really beneficial. As well as forcing me to curb my 4pm chocolate habit, it’s also encouraged me to read packets more carefully, discovering that snacks I had previously thought of as ‘healthy’ had sugar in the list of ingredients- even the savoury stuff. It made me rethink my snacking pattern at work, become more organised and plan my snacks in advance.
I ate more fruit as a sweet hit, both dried and fresh, as well as adding nuts into my snacks. I also ended up eating bars such as Nak’d bars that are made from all natural sugars, and homemade energy balls to replace my 4pm chocolate bar with a cup of tea.
There have been moments where I’ve slipped- yesterday I ate a mint after lunch when offered it without even thinking. And that’s the point, we don’t even think about how much sugar we’re consuming on a regular basis. It’s hidden in everything, or so it seems.
This added sugar ban has drawn to my attention just how much sugar was in my breakfast in the past, whether a fruit compote with yogurt, granola or as golden syrup in my porridge. I’ve eaten plenty of eggs for brekkie in the past two weeks and noticed how they kept me full for so long. Obviously I don’t have time to poach myself some eggs every morning, so I’ve been eating homemade muesli with yogurt and fruit and making overnight oats on other days.
One side effect that I wasn’t anticipating was my new found justification to eat more chips. I don’t usually eat chips but I’ve had them 3 times in the past two weeks. Weird. Clearly when one part of my self control is being sorely tested, any previous self control goes out of the window. To be fair, the post North London Half marathon chips were the best chips I’ve had in ages. Warming, salty and delicious, and exactly what this cold and grumpy runner wanted!
I gave myself a 3 day break from my sugar free ban whilst in Chamonix, partly for the beer, partly for the pain au chocolat, They were great- food is such an important part of my life, and I knew that going on holiday, I would feel so restricted if I couldn’t eat the things I wanted. The downside of this is that I feel a little like I’m back at square one in terms of positive side effects of sugar free. The upside is that I am going to continue for another two weeks until Easter. I’m also hoping to continue with some of the principles that I’ve picked up, e.g. more nutritious snacking, savoury breakfasts, and less chocolate going forward on a weekly basis, from Mon-Thurs, to make treats really feel like treats again!
As I haven’t cut out sugar completely, I haven’t felt the side effects, both good and bad from a fully sugar free diet. I didn’t suffer from headaches (extra ones, anyway!) or irritability, but I also haven’t noticed my skin clearing up or better sleep. However, I have noticed that my stomach isn’t so bloated, and that I’m not eating so mindlessly.