Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How I've been living sugarfree for nine months

It's been almost nine months now since I started a sugarfree diet in May 2011, and I thought it was about time I updated you about what's cookin' chez yaga. 

You can read my first summary after a month of going without refined sugar here.
I also wrote a more general article and guide about going sugarfree here

6months sugar free. Talk about smug.
How the decision to go sugarfree has affected my life so far
Looking back now on these days in May last year, I smile and I'm a bit tempted to give myself a pat on the back. Going sugarfree has definitely been one of the best and most lifechanging decisions I made in my life.

  • As I said in my last post, I feel phisycally lighter and more energetic. I did not lose a lot of weight, but I feel I have gained flexibility and body consciousness.
  • My mind feels clearer and more balanced.
  • It is easier for me to handle mood swings and depressive phases, although they still occur. 
  • My PMS has definitely changed character. I am still sensitive, whiny and complicated in the days before my period, but this is nothing compared to the instable, aggressive, self-destructive mess I got myself in before the switch to a sugarfree diet.
  • I have almost eliminated foodcravings from my life. I used to have cravings and think about eating maybe 80% of my waking time before the switch. Now I am much less emotionally attached to food. I mostly eat when I'm hungry and if i have cravings I am more able to identify the root of them and react accordingly.
  • I am able to make much more conscious and healthy food choices. My diet has improved when I met Trev and he reintroduced me to cooking actual meals and the idea of a nutritionally balanced diet (I used to live from readymeals, sandwiches and pizza delivery before that), but it again got a bazillion times better since last spring. 
  • This has to do with the fact that I am now able to read my body's language of reactions when it comes to food. I learned what foods nourish my body and give me energy. I have begun to get a feeling for a balanced diet. I get immediate feedback from my body if I eat low-quality food or food that my body can't handle well (like dairy - veganism will be a topic of my next diet post).
  • Oh and I almost forgot: I have not had a single migrane attack since last spring. 
When I look at this list I totally feel like it was so worth the effort!

What my diet looks like now
In the course of learning to listen to my body's likes and dislikes of certain foods and the fact that we lived with a couple of vegan and dairy intolerant people, as well as my ongoing research about food production has led me to the conclusion that a vegan lifestyle is what I'm aiming for.
Thus, if ever possible, my diet avoids milk products and eggs (I don't have a problem with honey) as well as meat and sugar.

Slowly, I am also beginning to experiment with reintroducing some kinds of sugared food into my diet. I'm eating white bread, for example, and in the rare occasion of ordering fries, I will eat the ketchup. I am not quite sure yet if and how exactly this will affect me. I still feel like I'm lightyears away from the state of being able to have an occasional cookie and then leave the rest of the package in the cupboard untouched. 

Problem's I've had during this period
I definitely don't want to tell you that I have gone through these nine months without eating even a morsel of sweetened food, cravings or binging. Oh yes, all of this happened.
Once, for example, we had chinese takeout and I ordered sweet and sour and after I had eaten every last bite of it Trev said: "You know that they definitely put sugar in that sauce, don't you?" I was devastated. It seemed obvious, then, how could I have not thought about it? And I had eaten it all... I felt very bad. ^^

Well, it happens. It also happens that I have occasional days - mostly linked with my period or a stressful situation - when I feel like I'm back at square one again. I'm pacing back and forth in front of the fridge, wishing something sweet would appear in there by magic to soothe my horrible, horrible cravings. I'm eating all kinds of weird food like mustard on toast, pure tomato sauce and handfuls of almonds trying to find the one thing that will make the feeling that I had to eat something stop, and it just doesn't help.
Christmas has also been a though time, and I admit I've had an occasional cookie, although I was surprised at how well I held up (I had planned on giving myself an 'out-of-jail-free' card for that time but felt I didn't need it in the end).
So yeah, it wasn't nine months of totally sugar free.
It just happens, it's part of the game.

It also totally happened that I caved in about two weeks ago and begged Trev to bring me some choccolate cake because I had been dreaming about choccolate cake for two nights in a row and I just really, really needed a choccolate cake date.

AND it is totally true that I ate at least five lindor choccolate balls today. And a big spoonful of cheese potatoes.

I don't regret these episodes, though. They teach me a lot. First of all, it's ok to let go sometimes. Sometimes it's not my body that needs food, it's my soul. And whilst it should learn to thrive from other things than food, every once in a while I feel like my soul and I should totally go for a choccolate-honeymoon. :o)
It still confirms though that I still can't do moderation. It just doesn't work. Once I started, I CAN NOT stop myself. Even if it makes me feel sick. My body speaks very clearly to me in these situations. My gurgling, cramping stomach, the sicklish feeling in the back of my throat and the horrible ache in my head are screaming at me to stop.
And I just can't.
If I needed any more motivation to cut it off again, the creepyness of this situation would totally be it.


Michelle said...

Well done, that's awesome!! I'm learning healthy eating habits now too, and I can't believe how a lot of my cravings have stopped ;) Just shows how psychological it all is!

yaga said...

i love to be on this journey and see things changing, it's amazing how much we can learn about ourselves by looking at how we eat... a symptom of our superfluous society i guess!

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