…but its fruit is sweet,’ said Aristotle. He was probably thinking of loftier challenges than giving up sugar, but that is where I am and my sweet tooth clings hopefully to that little snippet of advice.
It’s been 5 weeks since I divorced myself from sugar and I still grimace when I take that first sip of unsweetened coffee. Worse than that, I’ve had to give up normal tea – tea, people! Because there are some things that just won’t work in my sugarless world. Instead, I grudgingly drink tea with a slice of lemon, mouth pouting although one might mistake it for a sour pucker. Still not the same, but better than no tea at all and that is something I refuse to contemplate.
Why was it was such a wrench to give up sugary tea? I think it’s because tea was our childhood panacea when times were hard, fraught or we were ill. It was our comfort, along with hugging arms and I feel as though someone has whipped away my inner blankie.
I started on this ‘bitter’ path with my cousin. I’m rubbish at motivating myself and will procrastinate, find excuses to cheat and convince myself to leave it for ‘just one more week’. But with her conscience (and strong kicks up the arse) I have managed to remain true to our pact. Neither of us can let the other one down and we confess our slip-ups immediately (trying a bit of the banana bread to check it is cooked; automatically grabbing a crisp off the table; taking a sip from the wrong mug [I may not have admitted that one yet, so I hope she’s not reading this]…).
The first two weeks were all about the sugary drinks. Out went the sugar bowl completely – well, actually, figuratively, because it still sits there for the hubby and kids to indulge, but I am only allowed to look upon it wistfully. I used to be a ‘three spoons, please’ person and have now gone cold turkey with all its attending ailments (I’ll come to those). No sugar in tea or coffee (bleuch!), no squash or colas and no camomile with honey.
After a couple of days the headaches set in – I’m unsure if it was the lack of sugar or lack of caffeine (hating the taste of sugarless tea/coffee I drank hot water or green tea). I had more paracetamol in that first week than I would have had sugar.
Then, the early morning wake-ups struck like unasked for extra me-time. I’m not kidding. 2 or 3 am, I’d be wide awake and restless until around 5 am, but too tired to do anything but think of how much I wanted to sleep. Added to which, I had restless leg syndrome (paracetamol worked great for that, too; my chemist began to worry) and I tossed and turned enough to warrant remaking the bed from scratch every morning.
After two weeks, my cousin (I might disown her) and I gave up crisps, biscuits, cakes, ice-creams and pudding. That wasn’t as tough for me as the drinks, because I don’t normally indulge, but my cousin found it hard-going (she’d been having way too many biccies with her sugarless cuppa) and we’d both naughtily squeezed in an ice-cream pretty much every day. Instead of crisps I have a small handful of nuts and seeds.
While I never have pudding on weekdays, I used to indulge and help myself to a slice of the cake in the staff kitchen (courtesy of someone’s birthday). Now, all I am allowed to do is sniff that wonderful chocolate, creamy, baked-goodness aroma. I supplement my weekend pudding with fruit platters – bananas, apples, berries, mango, papaya, pomegranate, nectarines, melon… No fruit juices, as concentrated, squished versions have way too much fructose, which the body has no resistance to.
I’m finally sleeping a little better (I wake up around 4 for an hour), but I still cringe at the taste of sugarless coffee and I want a proper cup of tea!!! Do I feel better – not really. Am I more alert? I don’t think so. Do I have more energy? Nope. Are my skin, hair and nails healthier? No, no and no. Have I lost weight? I wished.
I’ll check back in another month and let you know if anything’s changed, except I have a feeling we’ll be cutting out alcohol next and I may be incarcerated for cousinicide.
We’ve told ourselves we’ll treat ourselves, sometime, somewhere. If we’ve been good.
I’ve decided I need concrete goals; ‘somewhere, sometime’ is not a reward, it’s just teasing.
BTW – I did my research and everyone says I won’t notice the lack of sugar after a few weeks. 5 weeks on, I’m telling you THEY LIE!