Monday, 28 July 2014

I have this conversation at least once a week...

"Oh, wow, so you've completely quit sugar?"

Yes, for five months now.

"I don't have much sugar"

[Cue lengthy and often frustrating discussion about their diet, which is usually high in artificial sweeteners, low fat sweetened options, and fruit.]

"I shouldn't eat this [double chocolate cookie ice cream thingy laced with caramel] in front of you then... So sorry"

Actually, I really have no desire to eat it, or anything sweet really. And I know that if I did, I would have such a paralysing headache for days afterwards that it wouldn't be worth it. So it's fine, you can eat it in front of me. I promise I won't snatch it out of your hand and gobble it up.

"But what about NATURAL sugars, they must be ok? Surely you can have honey / agave / bananas?"

No. Sugar is just sugar. Natural sugar does have some benefits, but no, I haven't replaced sugar with honey. I really really have quit sugar.

"But you MUST have SOME sugar??"

Well, now that I have a couple of pieces of fresh fruit a day, I average about 3 or 4 teaspoons of sugar a day.

"Oh that's ok, that's quite a lot. I don't have sugar in coffee..."

Well, when you consider that when I first quit I shaved 12 teaspoons of sugar off my school lunch by not having a low fat yoghurt (7tsp) and a juice carton (5tsp), actually 4 teaspoons all day is very low.

"Ooh, it must take loads of willpower!"

I have precisely no willpower. I never have, and never will. If I want something, I have to have it eventually, and if I can't have it straight away, I will quietly obsess, dream, yearn, and ache for it until I finally give in and have it. So diets requiring willpower fundamentally don't work for me, if anyone. I believe that if we could say, righto, from now on I am only going to eat small portions of super healthy food, we probably wouldn't be the middle of an obesity epidemic, in my humble opinion!

But quitting sugar wasn't about willpower. After the first five days when I was clucking like any other addict, and had the mega hangover headache from hell, then suddenly it was fine. Easy in fact. And if ever there was a day when I thought "I'd like that... Oh I can't" there are plenty other things, not diety things but actual nice food that you would want, that you can have instead. A cheese plate instead of dessert, or a latte, or a glass of red wine. Not too shabby.

"Well, if you're managing to stick to it, fair play to you. Do you think you will do it forever?"

To be honest, yes. I just wish I had known about this 15 years ago. It would have fixed everything. Do I think I will ever go back to eating loads of sugar? No, absolutely not for the same reason as I never envisage going back to smoking cigarettes, or living in student houseshares.

Life is better without it.

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