I’ve been (more or less) off sugar now for four (count ’em four) years. I say “more or less” because there have definitely been spaces in that time when I most definitely was NOT sugar free, so if you’ve seen me at conferences or parties or most of December, you’d think I was anything but off sugar. However, the baseline I keep returning to is one that has almost no refined sugar in it.
Most days, I have a handful of chocolate chips each day, and that’s it. (Some in my oatmeal in the morning, and some in my oatmeal for dinner. I live a glamorous life, what can I say?) Other than that, I have some fruit each day, and nothing else sweet. It was shocking to realize it’s been more than four years since I first experimented with totally giving up sugar.
At the time, I did it more on a whim than anything else. The thought popped into my head that if I gave up sugar, I’d feel better. Feel more alert. I considered it personal revelation at the time, and in hindsight, I still feel that way.
These days, I can very easily tell the days when I’ve had a lot of sugar. In fact, I can feel what it does to me as soon as I’m eating more than a little of it. It comes with a rush of energy, but it always leaves me feeling . . . sick. Not to my stomach, surprisingly. Rather, I feel like I’m having an allergic attack of some kind. My throat feels sore. My eyes puffy. It feels like I’m getting sick to the point that I finally searched online for whether eating sugar could make you feel like that. (Initial results indicate it can, but I didn’t dig very deep.)
I definitely sleep worse when I’ve had sugar. I wake up at night, for one thing. It takes me longer to get to sleep as well. The simple fact is that I feel much better, overall, when I’m not eating sugar than when I am. Is it a placebo effect? Who knows. I don’t really care, honestly. If it makes me feel better, why don’t I just do it?
Which is the question. Because I still love sugar, and I still find myself cutting loose whenever I decide to have some. I start eating it, and I can’t stop. No wonder I always feel sick after I have some, because I have too much. I’d love to get to a spot in my life where I do a better job with that, but I’m not there yet. Baby steps, I suppose.
In the meantime, I just wanted to write a quick post to say that, after looking back on the decision 4+ years ago and how I feel today versus back then, I’d say the experiment was a resounding success. If you’re looking for a way to feel more alert and healthy, and you’ve got a bad sweet tooth, I definitely recommend going sugar free for a while to see what it does for you.
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