I quit sugar.
Not all sugars, but refined sugar. I quit.
Today marks Ash Wednesday. This is just another Wednesday for some people but, for me, it marks my commitment to forty-six days of sacrifice. As Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days, I will give up something that tempts me for the next forty-six days (forty fasting days, plus Sundays which are typically non-fast days).
My decision to quit sugar did not come lightly. I have given up many things for Lent in the past: coffee, crisps, chocolate. I have always succeeded so it is not my doubt in myself that makes me question what I am choosing to go without. More than that, it is my want for sugar. Do I want to stop consuming sugar? My birthday is always during Lent. Do I really want to not get to eat my favourite birthday cake?
Last year, I gave up chocolate, as I believed it had the added benefit of not just being a sacrifice but also a great weight loss tool as I didn’t like cakes and biscuits that much. It turns out, however, that, when you can’t eat chocolate, you learn to love cake and biscuits and I gained weight instead! I knew that, this year, I had to work ten times harder and really sacrifice something that I, currently, cannot live without. The obvious choice was sugar.
I have been looking for loopholes for weeks. I considered going vegan instead, because at least then I could still eat sugar. I considered only giving up added sugar, or maybe just white sugar. I considered giving up sugar but allowing myself sweetener and starch. Eventually, I said, “Enough is enough. Go hard or go home. Give up sugar or nothing at all,” and here I am. Day One of what will undoubtedly be a very difficult forty-six days.
It is true what they say about sugar addictions. We are all addicted to sugar. You may not believe me but, until you decide to do a completely sugar-free food shop, you can never quite grasp how many items of food and drink contain sugar. Sure, scientists and doctors tell you all the time but did you really think the problem was that bad?
Sugar tastes nice (supposedly, although I’m convinced we’re actually just addicted and probably wouldn’t like it if we had it for the first time) but it is also cheap. My food shop for basic items (not even the fresh stuff that I will actually cook with, like meat and vegetables) came to over £50. That is for one person and, get this, the food I bought will barely last me a week.
I have been preparing myself for this ‘journey’ for a good while, reading Sarah Wilson’s book ‘I Quit Sugar: Your complete 8-week detox programme and cookbook’ and removing added sugar from my coffee. Last night, however, I divulged and ate two pancakes topped with Nutella, as well as some Mini Eggs and Cadbury’s Caramel Nibbles. Oops…
I cannot deny that a large part of my deciding to give up sugar was to lose weight and I am very excited to see how my body (and the way it feels) will change in the next forty-six days. I have a uni reunion shortly after Easter so hopefully I will be feeling fab and confident just in time!
I will not ignore the meaning of Lent to me, however. This is penance, a thank you, a reflection of the sacrifice that our Father made for us. Yes, I will miss sugar but, let’s be honest: it is the smallest thank you I could ever give.
Stay tuned to see more updates from me on my sugar-free journey…
What did I eat today?
I didn’t eat much today because I forgot to pack a lunch to take to work but I have, surprisingly, had zero cravings for anything sugary so far. I am sure the next few days will be very different (I’m waiting for the withdrawal to kick in) but, for now, I’m feeling good!
Dinner: Whole-wheat pasta, tuna flakes, kale and soy sauce
(Potential) snack: Banana with almond butter and coconut