This whole thing started with those “What would you give up for 30 days” memes you see on the internet and I’ve realized now that mine would say:
“What foods would you give up for a month in exchange for losing around 20 pounds, not needing antacids, getting better sleep, and having all your aches and pains disappear?”
I would have probably just scrolled right by this meme because there surely would be some kind of catch to make it impossible, right? When I started this, I expected to feel better, but had no idea it would be this impactful. In fact, I purposefully created an experiment that anyone could do, so no one could say I had an advantage over others. I’m just a guy who’s much more picky than you, but still made it work.
Going without sugar and flour for a few weeks slowly begins to adjust your mindset about food and emotions. I think I described this in a previous blog as almost being an “out of body” experience. The old me would have a stressful day at work and then feel a need to stop at the store because I truly craved something sweet. I still have stressful days at work, but my drive home consists of thoughts about how tough it was, but not that I “need” anything to help me cope.
Previous attempts at being healthy have been healthy breakfasts and lunches, while dinners were still filled with starches and flour. After a few weeks of eating salads for lunch, my brain was still addicted to sugar so each bite was like torment. I would choke down the healthy meal while every fiber of my being wanted to eat “real” food. This would cause me to begin eating less healthy after two or three weeks, and then throwing the whole idea out after a month tops. Now that the sugar is out of my system, food has become more like fuel and my body doesn’t care if it tastes amazing or just so-so. That might sound a little weird because I still enjoy a tasty meal, but now the little voice that was always comparing every meal I ate to a delicious pizza, has been quieted down. If I’m eating vegetables, it’s not screaming that I better get some ice cream soon after to balance things out.
In fact, that voice in my head that is always encouraging me to stop for a hamburger, some cookies, a pizza, and anything else, has gotten quieter with each passing day since giving up sugar. I’ve realized it’s the same voice that tells me I should buy something sweet when grocery shopping because it’s on sale. I used to hear that voice talk me into buying sweets for my kids because I needed to show them that I loved them. I honestly believe that the “voice” in my head gained its power from sugar and the more I ate, the louder and more powerful it became until I couldn’t hear anything else. Taking away its energy to control me has been the most interesting part of this experiment. Take a moment and think about the “voice” that you might have. It could be telling you that there are foods you would die without, or soda you need every day just to function. Taking two weeks or more from sugar and sweet food and drink allows you to pull back the curtain and see the voice for what it is. A hurtful thing that doesn’t have your best interest in heart. Finally, once you quiet that voice down, you begin to see everything differently and you’ll be thankful when you reach that point.
I can’t say for sure how strict I will be for the months to come, but at least I’ve been given the ability to look at each meal objectively and determine why I want to eat it. I no longer feel the “pull” of certain foods filled with sweet goodness that want to derail my healthier lifestyle. It’s something I wish everyone could experience.
My hope is that you’ve gained something from following my month-long adventures through these blogs. I highly recommend that any challenge you undertake that might need some accountability, you think about daily blogging. It helped keep me honest. More blogs will continue into the future as this experiment progresses.
All the best and thank you for the support!