If you have the pleasure of following me on social media, you most probably remember me whining and complaining the entire lent season about giving up sugar. I gave up all forms of sugar: white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave nectar, cookies, pastries, desserts, ice cream, EVERYTHING. This meant, unsweetened coffee, oatmeal, tea and no dessert after lunch or dinner. It was a miserable experience yet an extremely enlightening one. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to your
sanity mind, body and soul, here’s my experience:
Day 3: You’re still pretty hyped and feeling all sorts of pride in your efforts. Bitter coffee? Totally a doable thing that you could quite possibly get used to. After lunch you have some strawberries. You’re feeling like a champ and you’re totally throwing shade at everyone eating garbage and mentally laugh at them for their weakness and lack of willpower (fools).
Day 6: You feel like you’ve been hit by a semi-truck (flu-like symptoms). I’m not kidding; you feel like you are walking through syrup and your brain was hijacked by aliens. Opening the car door seems like an offensive amount of effort. You start thinking that you might be dying. Your head hurts. You’re nauseous and exhausted. You seriously start questioning if you will be physically able to go through with this bright idea for another 34 days (lent is 40 days long). This is your body going through a normal withdrawal process. Sugar-consumption is in fact a form of addiction; a powerful one as I was starting to learn.
Day 8: You become a total raging bitch, and you firmly believe that the universe is against you. Think about your period crankiness to the tenth power. You must also begin to remove yourself from the presence of sweets for the fear of tackling the individual holding them. You begin to dream about food. I would dream of ice-cream often. I was caught on multiple occasions smelling the donuts and cupcakes in the break-room at work. At this point I had to triple the amount of fruit I was consuming and my body started asking me for refined carbohydrates (another form of sugar). I was eating crackers and bread (which I never even touched before) like nobody’s business. My fruit intake? One apple, ten strawberries, two bananas and two mandarins whereas I would normally eat one banana and one other fruit on a daily basis.
Day 15: The fog in your head starts to clear and with each passing day, it actually becomes easier. You think less and less about sweets and the cravings begin to subside (I would still smell the donuts though). At this point, I started noticing I was getting really lean. My abs were getting nicely defined and so were my legs and the little cellulite I had under my but cheeks was beginning to disappear. My nutrition was ON POINT. I quit the bread and crackers (my body leveled out) and increased my vegetable intake while I continued eating a lot of fruit. I was sick of unsweetened coffee at this point so I switched to black almond tea.
Day 20: I began to completely ignore the sweet stuff without much effort and I was seriously considering adopting this craziness as a permanent life style. I was THRILLED with the way my body looked and I was even hitting the gym on Sundays. All the effort at the gym was translating into almost immediate results and I felt great. My mind was clear, my cravings were gone and my skin looked better than it had in years.
Day 30: At this point I realized this was not a life I wanted to live. I loved the physical results but what’s a birthday celebration if you can’t partake in enjoying the cake? Strawberries and apples can only take you so far. I started a countdown to then ending of the lent season. I was so over this challenge.
Day 40: I broke my lent with a small batch of organic butter cookies while sitting at the beach and it was GLORIOUS. I reflected on how unbelievably difficult it was and how proud I was for not breaking my promise (NOT EVEN ONCE).
What has changed? I take one sugar with my coffee now instead of two and instead of searching for cookies after lunch, I now automatically reach for the fruit. Everything tastes sweeter now, as if I’ve lost my tolerance for sweets. I still enjoy the same variety of sweets as before but in way smaller portions; I get grossed out if I eat too much of anything sweet and the sugar spike makes my head hurt after. My abs are practically gone (oh well) which motivates me to continue consuming sugar in moderation and to stay away from the refined carbs.
So all in all, it is a crazy challenge that I invite you to undertake. It is so rewarding when you realize that YOU control what you eat and not the other way around. I look forward to doing this all over again during the next lent season!