Of all the personal goals and targets I've set myself recently, beating sugar has to be up there as my greatest challenge yet. A self-proclaimed fitness fanatic with a fairly healthy diet, I fail miserably when it comes to taking a stand against sweet treats. There's been plenty of coverage about the effects of sugar on the body recently and more so it’s addictive nature and I am a shining testament to the truth in this. I pride myself on being a very determined person, who hates failing, but I just can’t seem to shake off the high I get from sugar!
Once upon a time I had a healthy relationship with sugary snacks and was able to allow myself an occasional treat guilt-free with no residual cravings for more. This unraveled itself during my pregnancy with my son. For a short period of time my body felt invincible and I gorged on goodies seeing little effect on the scales. Sadly it all caught up with me and I was left with a sole destroying three stone to shift after birth which took me the best part of two years.
Despite getting my weight back on track my sweet tooth remains wildly out of control. Chocolate is my nemesis, which I eat at least once every day, made all the more worse because I am lactose intolerant (quite possibly the worst diagnosis for a chocoholic). Unfortunately we also live right on top of a supermarket allowing me confectionary on tap whenever my will caves. I am close to taking out a Cadbury restraining order. In work I’m even worse and well known for my sweet tooth and tendency to dip into my colleagues’ goodies, only to be confronted with "how can you eat all that and be so small"? The answer? A LOT of exercise!!
Maybe one of the reasons for not kicking this habit sooner is that I don't have an enormous amount of weight to lose, so the motivation is perhaps not what it should be. But in an effort to achieve perfection coupled with my competitive nature I am always left wondering what I could achieve sporting wise if I could sort my diet out. How much would it improve my energy levels during the day? Would I be able to punch faster, last longer in the ring and run faster?
I am also conscious of the visible effects a sugar binge has on my skin and would like to glow with all the goodness of a healthy diet. Too often have I woken up with a bad sugar hangover and I'm not a stranger to withdrawal with its pounding headaches when I cut sugar out totally. Sugar truly is an evil master.
I've tried going cold turkey, buying 80% dark chocolate to nibble a square a day, brushing my teeth and even food diaries submitted to personal trainers for analysis. But one square turns into the whole bar and food diaries peter out as I become ashamed of my snacking regime, until all I’m left with are absurdly sparkling teeth!
Reading around the subject it seems that everyone is hooked, and all the methods to quit are those that I have tested and failed such as replacing snacks for healthier, less sugary treats, drinking more water and ensuring you are sufficiently full during meal times. I’ve even contemplated hypnosis – but on reflection thought this was just nonsense, surely someone as disciplined as I am can do this on my own??
I’m four years into what has now become an established habit that needs to be broken and short of hiring a personal nutritionist or chef I’m not sure what to try next. I’m a big believer in everything in moderation and don't want to live my life without chocolate (surely that is no life at all?), but it's time we established some better boundaries and stuck to them!
Have you had a similar experience and managed to shake the sugar cravings? Let me know how!