20 April, 2015

Week 1: Cutting back on sugar.

One day last week I was stuffing my face with the chocolate that had been dominating my thoughts and cravings all day. Amirah, just so happened, at that exact same moment to send me an interesting link about the connection between sugar consumption and anxiety. So whilst stuffing my face with sugar I sat and read the article (here). Not only did it force me to face my growing sugar dependency but also to question if my post-Christmas anxiety had somehow been caused by a massive sugar binge at that time? I decided on the 13th of April to do an experiment to try and cut back my sugar intake and document it as I go!

It is important to say that this journey has nothing to do with "physical health" - though I may see rewards there as well. It is all about my mental state. I am a small 7 stone, having been 6 stone most of my life prior to building muscle in pole. I teach and train large numbers of hours a week. I need to try and retain my weight, if not make gains. It isn't about cutting out anything unhealthy as such, or avoiding fats or carbs or anything like that. I know that some foods that are not on the surface sugary have high sugar content too. I want to cut out chocolates, ice creams, cakes, pastries, sweets and the like first and foremost. I believe that if I cut these out I will have a much much lower sugar consumption. I also want to pay attention to the labels of anything else I eat and try and keep within the recommended daily sugar intake.

Week 1:

Monday to Friday went well. I had mostly boiled eggs and brown seedy bread for Breakfast - sometimes bacon too. Lunches and dinners were mostly fish, meat, vegetables, salad, cous cous and some cheese, some potatoes, some chips. My diet actually was overall healthier than normal. I had bad cravings but I carried lemon water around with me to keep my sweet tooth happy and had the odd homemade smoothie or small amounts of sugar from whole fruit. I was tired though, most of Thursday and Friday was spent sleeping. I would put it down to not eating enough but actually I wasn't particularly hungry. I ate and felt full and stayed full until the next meal. I'm going to presume this is just an initial reaction to cutting out sugar. I felt calm all week other than at times when I had particularly strong cravings.

This weekend hasn't been so good. I had two pain au chocolat for breakfast yesterday in a rush to get out of the house. Had a pastry for lunch. We ate out for dinner and I had a super sugary fruit cider. I didn't eat enough and nearly everything I had was unhealthy. My anxiety levels were not great. Sunday was much the same. I had a sugary cereal for breakfast. Then a late lunch of crisps and a sandwich. But before lunch my anxiety levels were through the roof. I started to have waves of panic again, my throat felt like it was closing up. I didn't drink enough water either, only around 250ml today (my usual amount is to aim for 2 litres). I slept all afternoon for the 4th day in a row. Though the last 2 days I put it down to not eating enough and having high sugar foods rather than any reaction to eating differently. I told myself I could have a little sometimes on weekends but honestly it hasn't worked.

I didn't think I would see much difference by eating little to no sugar but I felt calm until Saturday. I wanted to eat healthier and craved healthier foods. Although it was hard; I found I could ignore my cravings if I really wanted to. I did feel tired at times - but actually more awake than normal at others. Sleep felt refreshing though, unlike normal where I can't get enough but am still tired. I felt more energetic when teaching. I want to do more research. I want to sit and plan some meals. This is my task for tonight.

- Bex