Over the past week and a half, starting on December 14, I have been cutting down on added sugar. The goal has been to eat 25g or less per day. For someone who normally has at least one soda (usually Clementine Izze), a bunch of chocolate and other sugary snacks or drinks, this seemed like a tall order. But I had reached that point where I looked at myself and decided that what I was doing was not acceptable. I was clearly addicted to sugar, and I finally decided I was not ok with that.
The first week was difficult. My work was scheduled to have a cookie exchange for the holidays, and before my decision, I had been really excited to participate. When I told my coworkers Monday that I would not participate, I was met with resistance and non-understanding. I was surprised by this because my boss, just 5 months ago, had quit sugar herself using the same guideline (25g/day). In fact, that's where I got the idea to allow myself 25 grams a day. First she suggested that I wait until the new year. If I'm going to set a goal, I don't need a new year to do it, and I don't want to procrastinate positive changes. She lashed out, saying that I should throw away all my chocolate, because if I didn't, I would fail, and if I was going to eat all the chocolate I had hoarded, a plate of cookies wouldn't make much of a difference, etc, etc. We got into a bit of a tiff. She apologized almost immediately, saying that she was disappointed that I wasn't participating and that she reacted badly. I told her it was ok, but I still didn't understand why she had this reaction when she literally had done the same exact thing 5 months ago. My theory is that she felt bad that she had fallen off the wagon herself and was mad that I was doing what she could not.
Because of that, I began thinking that this was the worst time to cut sugar. It's the holiday season, so everyone will be eating sugary desserts and drinks and snacks and having a grand ol' time. But then I realized that that is exactly why this is the best time to quit. Maybe not the easiest, but definitely the best time. This is when excess sugar is in even MORE excess.
That first week was difficult. I was moody, irritable, tired. Basically my body proved to me that I really was addicted - and that I was making the right decision. But I did great. I did not have any of my usual after-meal chocolates. I did have soda and dessert on Friday, and a hot chocolate (50g!) Sunday, but that was it. It sounds like a lot for someone trying to cut down on sugar, but trust me, that was a huge improvement.
Last Wednesday was DH's birthday, but I did not have any cupcakes. I had a couple alcoholic beverages throughout this week and a half. I also had half a soda Tuesday (~35g) and a cookie. I still eat bread for sandwiches, too, though I don't know how much sugar is in bread. It's probably within my limit, especially if I don't eat other sugars that day.
For the most part, I have stuck within that 25g limitation. What I mentioned above was everything that I had that was over the limit, and after the weekend was over, I did well. I feel really great about this decision, and if I were still working out regularly, I bet I would lose weight a lot easier.
The crazy thing is, I thought that cutting down my sugar would be difficult. I thought I would have to fight temptation all the time, but I don't. Not even with chocolate at home and at work. I was so ready to do this, and what's more amazing is that I seem to be able to indulge a little one day and go back to normal the next. I've never been able to do that before, so it is pretty great.
Since today is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas, I will probably indulge a bit, but nowhere near what I would have eaten before cutting down my sugar. And it's nice to know that I can have a little here or there and be ok with that. I also discovered I could have Susan Cookies
and be within the limit, since I just melt dark chocolate and butter for the topping. According to the nutrition facts
, a serving size of the chocolate I use is 5 pieces, which is 19g of sugar (and a whopping 210 calories). So I could have one or two cookies and be fine.
This 25g/day guideline is something I hope to continue. The amount of sugar I used to consume is a little staggering, and I'm glad to be making positive change.