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How I quit sugar in 4 weeks? #NoSugarChallenge: My Personal Journey

Updated: Feb 2


How to quit sugar


There was a nice and warm January night when I woke up at 3 am with an idea in my head. "Let's make #nosugarchallenge on my Instagram account!" As it was just the beginning of the new year and I heard that many people set their new year resolutions, why not to try not eating sugar for a month? Anyway, I wanted to try it because of my problems with guts and stomach.


In #NoSugarChallenge is not about not eating sugar at all, because it's almost impossible (only on hard ketodiet that I highly don't recommend). It's about avoiding added sugar in products that shouldn't contain it- it's just added during technological processes to improve the taste of the final product. And replace sweets (highly processed food same way - unhealthy) like cookies, cakes, ice creams, donuts, chocolate with fruits, that are naturally sweet (low or not processed food - healthy).

#NoSugarChallenge guidelines were easy:

  1. Avoid eating sweets -> pick fruits instead, up to 2 handfuls a day.

  2. Avoid eating products with added sugar or hidden sugar inside -> find no sugar alternatives.


The first one seemed obvious to everyone, while the second required us to spend a few minutes reading ingredient lists on each of the products we use in our kitchens. I've found mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce and canned beans in tomato sauce. I set them aside knowing they won't be used until later in the month and replaced them with mustard, which has no added sugar.


Quitting sugar - Week 1

I was fully motivated and happy that so many of you joined the challenge. It always makes me happy when I see people prioritising their health. So, I changed my sweet, porridge breakfast for savory breakfast - most often eggs and salad in any possible variation and kept the fruits as a snack, when I simply will have cravings for sweets.

Also, I prepared some recipes for no sugar desserts to have them in a backup and don't stress my body about that whole quitting sugar challenge (when we stress, our body release cortisol that increase appetite, can cause cravings for sweet, fatty and salty foods... Can you see that vicious circle?)


An example of no sugar snack you can find here 👇🏼

No sugar snack when you want to quit sugar

and more on my instagram account in highlighted stories #nosugarchallenge.


I played it simple - ate only savory meals; fruits or no sugar desserts kept for sugar craving moments. Very soon I observed that my body accepted that new way of feeding 😁.

I had few moments of weakness, mostly in the evening, after dinner. I still observe that even though I am not physically hungry, "I would eat something", for example nuts. But I am aware that it comes from my mind being bored (it's my time to relax and prepare to go to sleep) rather than sugar cravings.


One sunny Sunday I drank apple cider and post factum I realised that it has sugar. "Oopsie...🤭", just continued #nosugarchallenge.


In the end of week 1 I observed that:

  • I eat less snacks than I used to eat before challenge - no sugar means less snacking and better meals planning

  • I was less bloated

  • Sleep deficit = more sugar cravings (lesson learned and prioritised my sleep quality)


Quitting sugar - Week 2

Proud of myself, I started week 2 of #NoSugarChallenge and published a photo of my lunch on Instagram story - that was a salad and 2 sushi rolls.

Right after that I've got a text message from my friend "Maggy, where do you buy sushi rolls? Once, I wanted to buy some at coles and there was Mendeleev's table listed on the package!" I bought mine at sushi restaurant, picked the simplest one (salmon & avo) and thought that maybe my friend wanted to buy some mix of different kinds. Completely not suspicious what's hidden inside my lunch, I finished it, but that situation made me think.

As I can't eat milk at all, my choice of dining out options is rather limited and I don't eat there often. I considered sushi as kind of healthy choice, cause what can be wrong with rice and salmon?!

Very soon I realised how wrong I was. Asked few friends who's been working in sushi place if there is sugar added. I heard the answer "Enormous amount of sugar, Maggy, enormous". That was my first disappointment and time for reflexion had come.


Quitting sugar turned out bigger challenge than I thought so. I knew that sugar is added into so many products and meals in restaurants and if you won't prepare a meal by yourself, you never know what is inside. I ate sushi from time to time, as a quick lunch, just to grab and go. But I didn't realise that I eat so much sugar with it.

Some of you texted me, that are not ready to quit sugar, it's just too much and I totally understand. But meaning that, you thought about quitting sweets and sugar for example in a tea or coffee. Same time, none of us have an idea how much of sugar eat meantime in shown as an example sushi. Sugar is added everywhere, literally everywhere.


Today, writing this post, I fully accept this fact. I am just more aware of what I put on my plate and grateful that #nosugarchallenge widened my knowledge.


What I observed after week 2?

  • My taste started changing - I ate sushi one more time after "that incident" and easily tasted sugar in it

  • I was even less bloated, less constipated and my metabolism speeded up 💪🏼

  • I didn't feel sleepy after eating meals


Quitting sugar - Week 3 and 4

I just keep going, skipping sugar as much as I can, trying not get crazy about it.

My taste keeps changing and I see difference between what I ate before #NoSugarChallenge that wasn't sweet to me, and how I react now. For example my coffee (long black with dash of oat milk) seems too sweet for me right now and I treat it more as a dessert, same time pouring less and less milk into it. Even now, I am writing this post, drinking my matcha on oat milk, and think "That's too sweet for me though!" I am glad I've found another milk alternative with good ingredients (coconut milk) and probably will swap for that sooner than later. I don't feel like coming back to eating sugar in the way I used to. Rather eat some sweets for special occasions, like birthdays and celebrations. I feel much better, have more energy, my guts are in really good condition (there is still room for improvement, but I know I am on a good track) and I simply don't miss sugar. There is a lot of products that naturally are rich in sugar, like oats and fruits that I regularly use and I don't feel like have to add something sweet into them. Of course I will use ketchup sometimes or BBQ sauce, eat dark chocolate as well or vegan ice creams, but I prefer to keep all "sweet moments" for special occasions rather than be addicted to them and struggle everyday.


Why I succeed?

Very often, when we want to change something in our life, we make decision on moment of desperation or an emotional impulse what gives the motivation only for a short time. Every changes are stressful for our body and stress doesn't help anyone at this point.


The key role plays preparations.

For me that was analysing what I eat in a day, what are my routines, checking where the sugar comes from in my diet (what kind of products and meals) and how can I adjust it with minimal effort.


As I am used to eat oats with fruits for breakfast (especially when I have to leave home early in the morning and that's the simples, quickest option for healthy breakfast to take away) I knew, that keeping that routine will cover my daily requirements for fruits and something sweet same time. What I did? Found healthy, no sugar added wraps at store and prepared with them savory breakfast a day before.


An example of quick and easy savory breakfast you can find here 👇🏼


Savory breakfast when you want to quit sugar


Meals prep, especially breakfasts.

This point is connected with previous one, but has additional benefits. First of all helped me avoid situations when I was hungry, didn't have anything ready to eat and as a result, just grab whatever to full fill my stomach. Moreover, I could prepare few meals at once and save time for other activities.


Stock up with emergency food, eg. carrots and hummus.

Sometimes I come back home hungry and preparing a meal takes time, that is considered by me as a risk 😆. Every week I buy a big pack of carrots and hummus and keep that in the fridge just in case of these kind of situations. When I start cooking, just grab a carrot of two and eat them with hummus (healthy habit and additional portion of veggies in a day) and satisfy my hunger until the lunch or dinner is ready.


No sugar desserts or snacks ideas.

I thoroughly planned no sugar snacks and bought all required ingredients before starting #NoSugarChallenge. That was coca powder, oat milk, coconut yoghurt, nuts, bananas and other fruits. I came up with handful of possible combinations, what I could do with these simple products? For example shakes, hot chocolate (no sugar - find on my instagram in highlighted stories #nosugarchallenge). My strategy was to make it simple, quick to prepare and available to take with me whenever I go.


Get rid of sweets and products with added sugar.

Give them to someone else, put into invisible place, so they don't tempt anyone.


There is also another, huge part called "the reason why". Why do you want to reduce sugar in your diet? What is pushing you to make this decision? And what are you afraid of the most? That's not a breaking news that our mind plays a big role in... actually, everything we do. And knowing why I am here and want this change is your individual biggest motivation.


__________________________________________________________________________________


#NoSugarChallenge is over and I am super proud of myself and all of you who manage quitting sugar this month. As I wrote in this post earlier, I feel great and don't want to come back to my old sweet habit, just don't see the point.


I'd love for you to comment with your insights and challenges that surprised you during #NoSugarChallenge. Let's share our experiences and support each other!


XO,

Maggy

1 Comment


Quitting sugar is hell of a task! And if you’re not careful enough, it sneaks up on ya from nowhere 😂

But let’s be honest, the effort you need to put into this is not too big of a price for what you’re getting back - having more energy, heightened taste, less cravings, better sleep, better skin etc.

And I think it’s not about having no sugar at all, it’s about eliminating it from your diet whenever you can. Small steps. Having a piece of chocolate should come from a place of choice, not a feeling like ‘if I won’t eat this chocolate I’m gonna die’.

Maggy thanks a lot this challenge and daily remainder to keep going! I think…

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