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?