Amelia Harvey
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Why I'm quitting sugar (again)

That sneaky, sweet foe, Señor Sugar Addiction has wormed its way back into my life.

Its been steadily creeping up on me, probably since about Christmas time. With all the festivities, sugar slid under the radar and back onto my plate.

A few months on and I couldn’t end a meal without something sweet. It started as a piece of fruit but it became a bliss ball (or 2…) straight after lunch, and dinner. In the back on my mind I was thinking “I’m not even hungry!” but that was easily drowned out by the sound of munching as I polished off a couple of dates filled with almond butter. At least these are healthy treats right? While much healthier than the average chocolate bar or ice cream I wouldn’t go as far as calling these tasty morsels healthy. Certainly not the kind of thing a lass should be gobbling a couple of times a day.

I decided to call in the help of my favourite herbal teas to help me beat sugar cravings. These guys were one of my best weapons in kicking my sugar habit last time. Not so much this time around – my cuppa now seemed unsatisfying unless accompanied by a piece of paleo banana bread or a bit of raw chocolate. Sweet treats had become round the clock cravings. Crap.

I started to get a feeling that I needed to re-quit sugar. The discrepancy became harder to ignore when I found myself telling people that giving up sugar is totally life changing and amazing – and then kicking my day off with a generous drizzle of raw honey all over my brekky. Hmm.

It all came to a head a couple of weeks ago – for the first time in ages, I found myself eating way past satisfaction. It was an impromptu family dinner to celebrate my brother’s engagement (yay!). I skipped my usual yoga class to join the fun. Since quitting sugar, I have always bought a sugar-free dessert option to dinners. This time, I didn’t, telling myself I didn’t have time. Looking back, cutting up some fresh fruit probably would have done the trick.

I started snacking almost as soon as I walked in the door; dipping apple slices in a tahini and maple syrup “caramel” to get me through til dinner. No need really, soon enough the nibbles came out, and I sipped on a glass of celebratory champers. The thoughts that popped up: “Oh well, I’ve eaten ‘badly’ already, I may as well keep going”, “Why can’t I stop eating!”, “I’ll eat super well tomorrow”.  I pushed them aside, downed my dinner (along with an unnecessary second helping) and turned, now well and truly full, to dessert. My serve was gone before I knew it. I ate ice cream for the first time in about 9 months. I went back for seconds. Now bloated and very full, the remaining dessert still beckoned. I took it into the kitchen and finished it off. There was guilt hovering over my head now – what was I doing? This is just the sh*t I used to do – I thought I’d shaken this tortuous relationship with my food.

The morning after I felt like a big old pile of crap. Pounding headache, uncomfortable bloating, and a serious case of the blahs. I wanted to give my insides a thorough scrub.

Looking back, I’ve had countless moments over the past couple of months hinting that I need to back off the sugar. I’ve ignored them. This experience was a nice big kick up the butt – a real time reminder of why I gave up. I was back in that place of self-loathing struggle. Back in the mindlessness of overeating and feeling the heavy weight of guilt.

As a coach, this is the first time I’ve caught myself not walking my talk. And I’m ok with that. My reaction to overindulging this time has been vastly different from times in the past that I have broken diets or eaten “badly”. This time I accept that I am not perfect. I see that there isn’t something wrong with me and that I am human. I understand the addictive nature of sugar and I can see that its time to kick that shizzle to the curb once again.

I am choosing to do this because I know it makes me a happier, more energetic, and nicer person. I am choosing to do this out of love for myself not because I want to lose weight or change the way I look. Because I know how amazing the sugar-free me feels.

Since I quit sugar the first time, I’ve realised that consciousness and staying present are two massively important factors in eating well. Binges happen when you’re not 100% there, when habit, automated, or unengaged behaviour takes over. I hadn’t meditated for a couple of days when I overate on this occasion, now I’ll be making daily meditation a non-negotiable as I cut sugar from my diet.

Guided by Sarah Wilson’s eBook, I Quit Sugar, I’ll start today Week 3: total elimination of sugar, including fruit (FYI fruit is only eliminated for 3 weeks). Week 1 of the program involves cutting back on added sugar and Week 2 is all about eating plenty of good fats, because I do both these things as part of my normal diet anyway, stating at week 3 feels right to me. I’ll also add in meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness practices to help me cope with sugar cravings and possible withdrawal symptoms.

Oh boy, I can’t wait be totally sugar free again! Stay tuned and I'll keep you in the loop with how I'm going.

Have you quit sugar my friend? Thinking about it? Let me know in the comments below.

Lots of love,

Xx Amelia