I have to say I started penning this post on the Sunday afternoon of the end of my no added sugar challenge with every intention of a rum and coke and a slice of vienetta and no regrets about not seeing it through to the turn of the week at midnight.
It didn’t quite work out like that, in fact the day was dusted off with some roast chicken and a walk to the pub. I made it, but with few conclusions. Or rather, with the one conclusion that the whole thing was almost pointless.
Do you know by ruling out added sugar products I actually consumed more sugar (mostly in the form of fruit) in this challenge week than I would normally? I’ve also been cranky, tired and in a borderline state of panic at planning my meals and those of my long suffering Mr, but this should be mostly disregarded as I write to you now from a Monday sponsored by lemsips and yoga pants. I felt tired and crap because I was coming down with lurgies. The panic state was more down to the fact that I was not always prepared for the hunger pangs which, with hind site, may also have been more to do with a pending cold than what I was eating.
So forget the lowcarb flu because I wasn’t low carbing despite the sugar ban. Was this a great lifestyle change? No, it was just a pain in the arse. Did I lose any weight? I’m 200g down from last Sunday so probably not in any real terms.
Is a week long enough to know? Possibly not. Maybe longer term, without the bugs, I might hit on lower sugar no sugar options and see more benefits. Maybe I would crack the weekday code enough to not be craving ice creams and booze when the weekend hit. Though the weekend wasn’t the challenge I expected to be honest, as it felt like there was less pressure to eat quickly or at my desk as the week had mostly been. A leisurely, filling brunch of toast and eggs and avocados doesn’t tend to materialise from the break room microwave at the office that often. The lesson for me in all of this is that I can clean up my day to day eating a bit, but I need to be in control of this and plan ahead.
Do I want to decrease my normal refined sugar intake? I don’t really care, because at heart I’m all about the macros and in the week of subbing yoghurt bars and crisps for bananas and apples I saved calories. Not thousands, but enough to make a dent. Enough to make a weight loss calorie goal that little bit easier to hit day in day out. And when it’s easier to hit, you don’t have that easy excuse of oh well I’m over target anyway so screw it I’ll have a pizza too.
The other big take home point for me is that I eat pretty well when I put my mind to it. There weren’t that many points of my daily feed I needed to change to meet this remit, so that’s not to say it isn’t a useful exercise for those seeking a spring clean of their usual meal routines especially if you frequently eat out of a packet.
I’m sorry not to be more conclusive. Count calories. Read ingredients. Sugar might be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it.