Sunday, 19 March 2017

What Happened When I Quit Sugar


I know a lot of people don't believe in giving things up for lent, but I actually find it a really good way to give myself a little nudge towards healthier habits and it can be the kick start that I need (often ending in a good old binge when Easter arrives, but hey ho). In the past I've given up chocolate, coffee or crisps (which was a bit of a cheat year seeing as I hardly eat any crisps anyway), but this year I went big and decided to give up refined sugar. It's something I've been thinking about for a while, mainly because I was definitely eating too much of it - chocolate in one form or the other was a part of my everyday life - and I was just curious to see whether I could live without it. I'm nearly three weeks into no sugar so I thought I'd write a little about what it's been like so far.

I have actually found it surprisingly easy to give up sugar, although the fact that it is in so much savoury food makes things a little trickier (bye bye ready made sauces). I had severe chocolate cravings for the first two days, but since then I've actually not felt like I need sugar and have been surprised at how easy it's been to resist treats at work when someone brings something in pretty much every day. I did accidentally eat a biscuit about a week in and got a headache pretty much immediately - I'm guessing because my body had got used to working without refined sugar - but I had none of that 'it tasted too sweet' effect that a lot of people get when they give up sugar. It tasted pretty darn great if I'm honest.

One of the main things that people talk about when giving up sugar and one of the main reasons I wanted to try it is energy levels. Giving up sugar is supposed to make you feel more energised because you no longer have the highs and lows that sugar creates. I had visions of myself transforming into this new kick-ass version of myself who could juggle a million things at once and ace them all. So, do I feel more energised? Well, no, in a word. I feel just as exhausted as I did before so maybe I just need more sleep. Or maybe I just need to keep at it for a bit longer and it'll happen. The only other negative is that I appear to have replaced sugar with caffeine. I'm drinking a lot of coffee, averaging three or four a day because it means I still get a treat after a meal. I am going to try and cut down although I have read that four a day isn't all that bad so maybe I won't, we'll see.

There are three positive changes that I've noticed. Firstly, I'm eating less in general, presumably because I don't have sugar cravings anymore and also because I guess I've got less choice of what to eat! I'm also feeling fuller quicker and finding that I'm eating smaller meals and snacking on fruit and nuts throughout the day, whereas before I'd eat bigger meals and not really snack. The positive change that has had the biggest impact on my life is the fact that I haven't suffered from acid reflux since I stopped eating sugar. This is something that I suffered from quite regularly before and although I knew things that definitely made it worse I couldn't quite pin the exact cause down. I think I may have found it and unfortunately it's something I love dearly - sugar. I'm so happy not to suffer from it anymore and although I'm disappointed that I can no longer be a cake fiend I'll hopefully be going very low sugar for life after lent finishes. You may notice I said low sugar because I am no way disciplined enough to give it up entirely unfortunately. 

In general, giving up sugar for lent has definitely been a positive experience and much easier than I'd expected. I may do an update about my experience when lent has finished, but if nothing has changed then I won't because who wants to read an identical post to this?

Have you given up anything for lent? Have you ever tried giving up sugar?

Amy x
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52 comments

  1. I am super impressed that you've managed to do so well at this so far Amy, despite the one biscuit slip up (which totally doesn't count anyway hehe) ❤️ I have personally gone pescaterian for Lent and I've been surprised at how I haven't missed eating meat very much at all! I may well continue this after Lent is over! Well done you for taking on this challenge - I'm sure that a low refined sugar diet after Lent as well will improve your health no end!

    Abbey 💓 www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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    1. It's a great way to start new eating habits isn't it? I'm hoping it will improve my health in the long run too :) xx

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  2. Wow it sounds like it's had a lot of benefits you going sugar free, chocolate is like my best friend so I wouldn't be able to have the will power you do cxxxx

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    1. Haha, I used to eat chocolate pretty much every day but I've just used to not! xx

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  3. I have also wanted to give up sugar, but I don't think I could aahha I would crave chocolate too much so good job! Thanks for sharing xox

    •www.emmalanglands.co.uk

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    1. Haha weirdly I didn't have too many cravings - just need to make sure I don't get hungry with no sugar free snacks on hand haha xx

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  4. I'm really impressed you're sticking at it. Sugar is literally my only vice in life and I 100% know that if I cut it out I'd drop the tiny bit of weight I want to lose straight away. I'm definitely addicted though. I don't really eat crisps, have fizzy drinks, smoke or drink much alcohol though so I'm just letting myself enjoy my guilty pleasure...for now!

    www.therosebeautyfiles.com

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    1. Sounds like you're pretty healthy anyway then! I'm hoping a little bit of weight will drop off but I haven't actually been keeping track of it, whoops! xx

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  5. What a commitment! Hmm too bad it didn't make you more energized. Do you think you could still be a cake fiend once Lent is over if you bake your own cakes with Stevia? Haha ;)

    www.makeupisdelish.com

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    1. Haha yeah that's an idea! I've already got some sugar free cookbooks so I need to make more from those! xx

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  6. I think you've done well, from what i've read most people get cravings for much longer. I've given up crisps, but replaced them with more chocolate which I think rather defeats the point. I can't wait until Easter and I can eat Pringles again!
    Amy at Amy & More

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    1. Haha that's like me replacing sugar with coffee! I'm letting myself have it as a vice for now though! xx

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  7. I love how you're honest about quitting sugar not giving you more energy. Eating less because you don't have those sugar cravings is a great thing though. I know people who've done it and I'm always amazed. I don't think I could do it!

    Single Vegas Girl
    http://singlevegasgirl.blogspot.com

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    1. I think you'd be surprised - I was! It's a shame about the energy but maybe in the long run I'll notice a difference! xx

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  8. That was really interesting to read, it's amazing that giving up sugar made you feel better! I think it might take a while for your body to get used to the lack of refined sugar or it could be that you're not having enough carbs or B12? I think we often use sugar as substitutes - either to substitute nutrients or sleep haha. I'm not giving anything up for Lent but I'm currently trying to stick (emphasis on trying haha) to a high carb low fat diet and it's easy to maintain at home but so difficult when eating out. xx

    113thingstosay.com

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    1. Yeah it might be getting used to it - I definitely have enough carbs haha but I have been deficient in B12 before so it could be that. No sugar is really difficult when eating out too! xx

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  9. I've given up sugar for lent too (but only on weekdays as I have no willpower!) I've done it for my skin and I have noticed a difference in that but I'm still craving chocolate!
    Have a great day :)
    Rosanna x
    Rose's Rooftop

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    1. That's great you've noticed a difference in your skin - I think because I'm not having any at all is why my cravings have gone away! xx

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  10. Up to January, I was one year and 4 months without chocolate, but not sugar. It's interesting to read about the energy levels (that didn't improve - I am firm believer of sleeping, I love it :) and that you eat less now. It happened to me without chocolate - if I really felt like eating it 5 times during the 16 months that I didn't eat it, it was too much. But now I am eating it again, but considering to stop once more. Sugar, on the other hand... I have to ponder a bit more :) Hope you have a lovely week!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. That's interesting that it happened for you with chocolate too! xx

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  11. I've got to keep this post in mind for next year! I thought about giving up sugar for lent, but I'm weak, and I have a sweet tooth. I gave up alcohol instead. You're really convincing though, so I might give sugar up next time.

    Amber - amberelb.com

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    1. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! xx

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  12. I've never been a huge fan of sugar but salt on the other hand is a completely different story :D
    Good luck with your decision, it sounds like something I would never manage to do myself!

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    1. I probably need to think about salt too - feel like I've eaten more of it since giving up sugar! xx

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  13. Well done for giving up sugar Amy! It's a great move.

    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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    1. Thanks Gemma, I'm hoping it'll improve my health in the long term :) xx

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  14. I'm trying to quit sugar as well but it's been quite a difficult process. Thanks for sharing this.
    So inspirational.
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_zn7IqrAY1I44bRuN6dH-Q

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    1. It is difficult to get started - good luck! xx

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  15. You know I would give up sugar but I have such a sweet tooth haha. x

    vvnightingale.com

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    1. So do I actually but I seem to have managed to curb it! xx

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  16. This is really interesting! I'd love to try doing the same but I have the worst sweet tooth ever, it's impossible! Thanks for sharing though, definitely food for thought!

    SHAKIRA / SHAKIRA SACKS

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    1. I have a sweet tooth too but seem to have trained it haha! xx

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  17. I need to give up sugar. I take one small sugar in my tea, and I drink roughly 5000000 cups a day. I dread to think what its doing to my body. Thanks for the insight!
    Kate x

    themakeupartistschoice.com

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    1. Aw, my boyfriend does the exact same! Good luck! xx

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  18. I don't eat a lot of sugar but I wouldn't be able to stop eating sweets in workshops!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. It's good that you already don't eat a lot of sugar - you're really healthy anyway! xx

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  19. You've made me really want to try and cut down my sugar intake now, although I already drink a lot of tea and coffee haha 🙈 Well done in holding out this long, one biscuit is absolutely not the end of the world! My mum suffers really badly from acid reflux and tried giving up so many things so maybe this will help!

    Thanks lovely;

    Izzy | www.ADoseOfChatter.com

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    1. Oooh I'd be really interested to hear if this does help her - hope it does! xx

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  20. That's amazing I'd love to go sugar free but can't for health reasons. This is the first time I haven't given anything up for lent!

    Tania || www.taniaalexandraribeiro.com

    xxx

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    1. Aw that's a shame, but best to not give it up if it's for your health! xx

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  21. I'm so impressed and jealous you have the willpower to give it up. I gave up Cola last year and it changed my life (seriously!) so well done. I was shocked to see how much sugar was in ready made sauces so now make my own for my little lad. Scared the hell out of me lol. Xxxxx
    lucylovesbeautyxo.com

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    1. Aw go you for making all your homemade sauces! It is scary isn't it! xx

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  22. You must have the willpower of a saint! I would love to give up sugar but I just love chocolate so much! I've been trying to cut back though and have mini chocolate bars rather than a whole sharing bag! Keep up the good work though :)

    Sian x
    http://theenglisheverygirl.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Haha I'm stocked up on plenty of sugar free treats otherwise I wouldn't have survived it! xx

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  23. I really want to give up sugar, I have a really bad sweet tooth. I dont think I could do it.

    Zeynab x
    The Beauty Load

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    1. I'm sure you could! I'm still having natural sugar and luckily there are some quite tasty sugar free treats around these days :) xx

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  24. Wow, this is super interesting! I try to limit my sugar intake from things that aren't natural (fruit etc) but I'm not sure I could ever do a detox- maybe one day!

    www.natalieleanne.com

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    1. I'm still having natural sugar so it's definitely easier than if I'd given it up altogether! xx

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  25. I can pretty much guarantee that I will never, ever be completely giving up sugar. 1 - because I don't have the dedication to find out what actually has sugar in it and 2 - because I'd probably starve to death. I just love sugar too much. I commend you for doing it though. I couldn't even drink a cup of tea without sugar in it!

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    1. It is hard to find out what has sugar in it and quite surprising too! xx

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  26. I so need to quit sugar! It's my downfall! I need your dedication! xxxx
    Rachel | www.rachelxblog.com

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    1. I found it easier than expected, I'm sure you could do it :) xx

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