I’ve been promising details of a change for a while now and I am nothing if not a keeper of promises. So here goes…..
Exactly four weeks ago I made the decision to quit a certain white substance.
Ummmm…..I’m talking about sugar, fructose to be exact.
Wait, what white substance were you thinking of?
And pray, what is the reason for this self-inflicted torture you ask? Well, the decision was driven by a few things. Firstly, I have always struggled with my weight and have had various levels of success in the past with different methods of weight loss. In my early twenties, I found that if I buckled down and ate well as well as engaged in a decent amount of exercise, the kilos would obediently melt away.
But sadly like many things such as skin collagen regeneration and the ability to do stupid things and not care, age puts a damper on the metabolism and a moderate level of discipline was simply not good enough in my late twenties and now, in my early thirties. The kilos that sneaked up on me over the last few years have obstinately clung on, refusing to listen to reason or be moved by weekly cycle classes.
I have long known that my main vice is sugar, my favourite food being a thing that starts with ‘ch-‘ and ends with ‘ocolate’. A previous flatmate had a fridge magnet that said ‘A balanced diet is a chocolate in each hand‘ and I thought that was perfectly reasonable.
Lollies, Indian sweets, desserts and supposedly healthy sweet snacks such as museli bars have also co-starred in my diet. Couple this with my work environment, a place where bags of lollies are always sunning themselves on benches and boxes of chocolates, cakes or pastries gifted by grateful clients make frequent appearances. Place a pile of sweets in front of me, especially on a stressful day, and I turn into a weapon of mass consumption. A weakness which I’m sure some of you can relate to (if not, please at least pretend to).
So I have been toying with the idea of cutting down on sugar for a while now. After about a year of trying to cut down, I came to the conclusion that ‘sugar’ and ‘moderation’ for me, do not seem to belong in the same sentence or even the same postcode.
As if by fate, just when I finally understood that weakness in myself (it only took about 30 years), I bumped into a friend who invited me along to a book signing by a lady called Sarah Wilson. Sarah is one of the pioneers in the sugar (fructose) free diet, and her research and work on the subject has allowed her to create a wealth of knowledge to help others who want to go down the same path. Sarah is an inspirational talker, yet I walked away after the talk clutching her book but still fairly sure that this way of eating would never be for me.
To cut a long (and probably boring) story short, it took a couple more months before I finally decided to give it a shot. It was a daunting decision, and anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that sugar was previously a huge part of my life. Currently, I am exactly at the halfway point of Sarah’s 8-step program to being fructose-free. Much of the research supporting a low fructose diet is on Sarah’s blog and she explains it much more comprehensively than I could.
It has been a tough road but nowhere near as painful as I expected. I have had some intense cravings which I have fought off with a cup of tea, a sugar-free snack or a distraction (online shopping, anyone?). I have been lucky not to experience the physical withdrawal symptoms that some people describe. I had visions of being curled up in a corner in the foetal position rocking back and forth in my first 2 weeks but instead I have experienced better energy levels and mental clarity than I remember having for many years. I have lost a little weight, which supposedly should not be the main motivation…..but who are we kidding, right?
In a couple of weeks time, I will start to re-introduce small amounts of fructose into my diet. My ultimate goal is to be able to enjoy a little piece of chocolate or a divine dessert on occasion minus the guilt trip and the self-bargaining that goes on internally.
So how will this affect this here little blogarooni of mine? Well, it probably won’t, much. There will be less sweets and the ones I do post will likely be low fructose. Otherwise, when it comes to savoury dishes, I don’t anticipate much change at all.
And the inane, mostly irrelevant babble? I vow to you that that’ll continue as pointlessly as always.
I would love to hear from any of you, but especially others who have been or are on the same journey in the comments box below. What led you to ultimately make the decision? What did you find most difficult? What are your tips and tricks for doing this successfully?
20 thoughts on “Bye Bye Sugar High”
Brilliant Photos…and that review in Gram is great also.
Thanks, thanks and Congratulations 🙂
Welcome to my world! I’ve been on zero to very low sugar for about 6 months, but two months ago went fructose free too on a recommendation from another IBS person – I’ve also got the IQS book too and think it is excellent – especially all the snacks as this is the hardest part of a no sugar diet. I’m obviously not on this for weight loss (!) as I’m a bean pole, but it has made a huge difference to my IBS, energy levels, sleep quality & concentration. Welcome aboard! Keep up the good sugar free work! Xxx
Hey Alex, yeah you and I have been talking about this a little and it really helped to know that I wasn’t the only one who was contemplating it. I know what you mean about snacks being the hardest- that and breakfast. I’m now eyeing Sarah’s new chocolate book! Thanks for the encouraging words and lets keep each other posted 🙂
When I first read about this on Sigs blog I was SO taken. Because I have attempted going of sugar, quite successfully in the past. It helped that this was at a time in my life when I wasnt an obsessive foodie/bloggie.. Also my average intake was much lower and it was easier to cut off the teaspoon of sugar in my tea and avoid desserts and sweets. Couple with exercise, it had fantastic effects on my efforts to stay fit. SO I know I can do it, but I realise there is far more to going fructose free than just eliminating sugar, and now I feel like if I ever embark on this, I will need to do it with a fair bit of reading up about supplements, so I dont starve/deprive mys body of essential sugars. Also, I will need to do it in a place that gives me access to supplements that I know I wont be able to find in Goa.. But it is an idea that has stuck wiht me, and one that I want to explore at some point in my life.
I so hear you about the body slowing down in the late twenties. As I inch closer to the big 3-0 i find it harder to knock down the calories as easily as I used to be able to just not too long ago. Its funny how the body changes.. Sigs blog has some extensive posts about her attempt to quit sugar. Id love to hear more about how you’re holding up..
You know it’s funny but I really haven’t used any sugar supplements at all so far. My dinners and lunches haven’t changed much and snacks are often nuts, cheese, milk, hummus etc. so I think you could probably try and do it. I initially approached it the way Sarah recommended- as an experiment. Plus u guys have amazing coconut water and flesh on demand, unlike the pretty good but definitely inferior tetra pack stuff we get here! Will continue posting my progress….
Maybe I will get my hands on the book first. I feel like I need to know what I am doing before blindly jumping in. The prospect of going sugar-free doesnt seem impossible or scary even actually..
Great to hear that #IQS is working for you too. Like you I was a sugar…well chocolate junky! I’ve just entered my third week on Sarah’s program, i’ve also been blogging the experience to share with others and to remind myself along the way of why I’m doing it.
I’m absolutely loving it and completely shocked at how easy it has been to give sugar up all together. I’ve tried in the past many very poor attempts to eat sweets in moderation. Bottom line is it never worked, but this seems to be so far and I’m feeling fantastic for it.
Best of luck with the rest of your journey. Keep at it. Looking forward to hearing more 🙂
Hi Jessy, thanks for dropping in and commenting. I’m glad I’m not the only one for whom the moderation thing didn’t work. I had a look at your blog and it sounds like you are doing really well. All the best to you too, I think it’ll be worth it.
Deepa I was so thrilled to read your latest blog post about quitting sugar and the mention of our trip to the Sarah Wilson book signing! It sounds like your journey to quitting sugar is going well, albeit a difficult one. I hope you make it to the end of the 8 weeks and I promise you, your life will never be the same again. Sugar is indeed the devil and people eat way too much of it as is. I don’t really eat sugar apart from the occasional 85% cacao dark chocolate. But i dont miss it- and you wont either I promise! In fact things with sugar in them taste sickeningly sweet to me these days, and thats including my mum’s indian sweets much to her dismay.
Anyway good luck for the remaining weeks, I would love to catch up with you soon for a tea and a sugar-free snack! 😉 xx
Shruti! You really were instrumental and inspirational in all this. I’m pretty determined to follow through and will keep you posted. Good to hear you haven’t regretted it. Lets definitely make a date……tea and sugar free snack…….wine and cheese platter…..or even a walk……I’m up for it! Thanks for the encouragement Hun 🙂
Oh wow – that is so great that you are doing this. I don’t know if I have the willpower yet, but ever since I had my daughter and started reading labels on packaged food for more than just calories I have been horrified by hidden sugar and sodium so more power to you for taking such a brave step!
Ah ha…..that’s how it starts Sarah! Soon you will join us on the dark side Mwahahaha…….
Yeah I never thought I could do it either but it honestly has not been as difficult as I anticipated. Thanks for the encouragement.
Best of luck! I’ve been “toying” with the idea of going gluten free. My eldest daughter was diagnosed celiac 3 years ago, and she is convinced that I am gluten intolerant at the very least, but the idea of such a radical change is scarey. I’m sure cutting sugar would feel equally daunting. Looking forward to following your progress.
Thank you Terri! Yeah gluten free is almost as hard if not harder than sugar free. Did you know there’s both sugar and gluten in soy sauce?!?! Geez……
But if you think it would benefit you, you should so try it. There are so many gluten free options these days and I often post GF recipes here too.
I will definitely post my progress……
I have never tried what you are attempting but I wish you the best with it and good health also 🙂
Thank you so much.
I too am a choc-o-holic, and I too learned the hard way that I cannot do sugar moderation – it’s all or nothing for me. I am thin, I work out every day (run, bike, jog, weights etc) and maintain an otherwise very healthy diet. In my last annual physical my sugar levels were flagged as a bit high and I was found to have higher-than-normal plaque in my arteries (family heart history/genetics). So I bit the bullet and went cold turkey as it was the only vice left to give up 😦 I allow myself 2 alcoholic drinks over weekends but otherwise NADA. It’s been a struggle but I’m 3 weeks into it and glad I did it. I did lose 5 lbs, but not on purpose and I’m a bit too thin now but will enjoy eating more to make up for it LOL. Good luck to you on your journey–sugar is definitely an addiction, at least for some of us!