Avoiding refined sugars
I thought avoiding refined and added sugars would be tough, but one-third of the way through September and I’m feeling sparkly. The sugar withdrawal symptoms have faded, I have energy, my skin’s improved … I’m feeling so good that I think this could be a long-term change; a vote for loving my body and taking care of its long-term health.
What such a lifestyle change means, for me, is that it will involve sometimes eating sugar. And enjoying it. Mindfully. Sure, I feel great now, minus the peaks and troughs of eating sugar (let me clarify, too, I’m eating some fruit and certain sweeteners, like stevia: my body responds well to those!), but I also figure that ruling out certain foods forever isn’t feasible or particularly helpful for my overall wellbeing.
So after this month ends, I plan to eat good chocolate, occasionally, if my body craves it. I plan to have a slice of cake at a wedding. I plan to savour it. I’ll probably feel a bit headache-y afterwards. But that’s cool: life is there to be enjoyed and I reckon I’d prefer to eat that wedding cake and tell my friend what an amazing cook her mum is than stay sugar-free.
However, looking after your body’s health by avoiding added sugar most of the time is still a big lifestyle change, and the support of others will be important. I’m lucky that my sister and mother decided some months ago to give up “everyday sugar”, and it’s great to talk with them about new recipes and to share our experiences. I hope your family and friends are similarly supportive. As a lone voyager, changes can be tough.
If you don’t have that support available to you, there are some wonderful, informative blog posts and dedicated blogs out there from people who’ve stopped eating sugar for health reasons. I’d like to share probably my favourite post, 11 Ways to Ditch Sugar, written by US life coach Jennifer Louden. She practises self-compassion, and I love that she focuses on savouring the sweetness in life rather than on what she’s giving up. Enjoy.