I gave up sugar on 1st February 2017. 1 was 12 stone 4 – at the lower end of the “obese” category for my 5ft 3 height – the category I had been in for almost all of the last 25 years….but still the lowest weight I had been for 6 years.
Nearly 19 weeks in….and I am only 8lbs away from moving into the healthy weight zone, having dropped to “overweight” just a couple of weeks into February. The weight loss is no longer as steady – but then as I am not on a diet – just cutting out sugar, I’m not complaining…..I’m still astonished at the difference that one simple change has made – and not just to my weight. My skin is much much clearer, my temperature regulation has improved, arthritis symptoms in both my back & knees have reduced and my alertness after hours at my desk has increased.
The effects haven’t just been limited to myself. I had said, way back in February, that I wouldn’t be inflicting my decision to go sugar free on the rest of the family….and although that is still true….what I have done is stop stocking the house with sugar….no more fizzy juice, no more packets of sweets, chocolate biscuits – no more fruit juice or sugary cereals. All our meals are made from scratch – and I would guess for the rest of the family – over 95% sugar free. (I have let them off with reduced sugar ketchup & brown sauce….but I am being more strict with myself). Occasional treats find their way into the house….my husband often being the source….but these have slowed to a trickle….and no one seems to be complaining. I think the biggest impact has been on my middle child – who has trimmed off some of his “softness” and is wearing more form fitting clothing – with much more body confidence. The youngest is also feeling the benefit – self reporting more comfortably fitting clothing & less mood swings.
The last week in May saw two events directly linked to my decision to give up sugar – both pushing me out of my comfort zone. The first – an invitation to address the local Rotary club – giving a talk on going alcohol & sugar free….and the second – a request to help out at a fashion show – modelling! (For someone who still thinks of herself as a size 18/20 and sees “loose & black” as a pre-requisite of any clothing item….a massive leap!) Both events passed successfully – and having been helped with props for the talk by my daughter – I can honestly say, worthwhile. Even if it was only to see her face as she realised how much sugar there is in a granola bar….as she counted teaspoonfuls of sugar into bags for a game of match the product to the sugar. She’ll not be fooled by the “healthy option” advertising – and that, in itself, was reward enough. I hope I gave some of the audience food for thought – and not just guilt for scoffing the shortbread that had followed the meal!
Am I still going to continue? Absolutely. The more I read about the health effects of excess sugar, the more evangelical I become. The links to a large range of inflammatory diseases are becoming more and more concrete – diseases which are prevalent in my family – arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease – not to mention links to cancer. Maybe it’s just that I’m middle aged….but those diseases no longer seem as something that might happen to somebody else….they are waiting at the end of my journey….sooner rather than later…..unless I stick to the path I am on now.