Like every other time, the new year brings renewed inspiration to make resolutions, with the aim of inculcating better habits to lead an ideal life. But as opposed to my earlier instances where I kept impossible-to-achieve resolutions, which I ended up dropping out of in a few months, or even weeks, this year I decided to set realistic goals which I would be more prone to completing.
I am a fairly fit guy who completes his daily quota of step count, avoids too much consumption of junk food, and hits the gym 4 days a week. However, I am like many people who are guilty of having a sweet tooth and love eating sugars of all kinds, such as sweets, chocolate, and ice cream. The decision to stop consuming sugar was a difficult decision that required great effort and will to implement. On the other hand, the results that I got were surprising and unexpected, and this is my account of 30 days without sugar.
The first step is the hardest.
In the beginning, I started strong with the determination to follow a healthy diet without sugar. And this motivation became stronger when I learned that sugar consumption is associated with a wide range of chronic diseases such as diabetes and that it is considered a contributor to obesity and high blood pressure, which may lead to death. This further bolstered my decision to stop consuming sugar, which I discovered is common in many foods, as it is present in 80% of packaged foods.
Going off sugar had its own preliminary effects.
The first week I stopped consuming sugar was tough. My body started showing immediate symptoms of missing something that my body is used to. I kept experiencing frequent headaches, a sudden drop of instant energy, and fatigue. After my experience with sugar and watching many documentaries about sugar consumption, I found that there are many symptoms caused by stopping sugar, including headache, depression, lethargy, dizziness, feeling hungry, and cravings for sugary foods in particular. This happens because your body gets used to sugar as a primary source of energy.
When you stop consuming sugar, the body does not immediately get rid of its fat. It keeps storing it until it feels the danger, and here you should know that if you returned to sugar consumption and then stopped again, the symptoms of stopping consuming sugar will return anew.
How I powered through the initial struggle
To avoid the symptoms of cutting off sugar, I devised some remedies to counter these effects. I did thorough research and followed some solutions, including sleeping as much as possible at times when the body benefits from sleeping, i.e. at night hours from 10:00 PM to 07:00 AM. I also tried to increase my intake of protein to overcome hunger, adhering to three basic meals and two healthy snacks.
There are many foods and drinks that have helped me achieve this goal because they contain little or no sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, raw nuts, eggs, fish, lean meat and poultry, and some drinks such as coffee, tea, water and any herbal drinks that do not contain added sugar.
What did I learn from my experience?
As I stopped consuming sugar, I learned some amazing lessons and benefits, which is that I became more aware of what I eat, my activity and focus increased, my energy increased, my skin and complexion improved, my weight decreased, and I felt a significant improvement in the quality of sleep.
I also learned that abstaining from sugar for just ten days will drop the level of cholesterol in the blood by a full five degrees. It also reduces triglycerides by 33%, and, consequently, reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Based on my experience with sugar, I can conclude that it requires a strong will and extensive knowledge of the danger of sugar to health. However, preparing the right meals was key to my success. It’s also important to have healthy snacks. and to carefully read product labels to make sure they are free from hidden forms of sugar.