So long sugar and thanks for all the fix

“Sugar gave rise to the slave trade; now sugar has enslaved us.”
Jeff O'Connell, Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It

Body stats (Day 0)
Weight:182 pounds
Waist:40 inches

Today is my first sugar-free day. I suspect the next 30 days are going to be hard.

There's been a lot of bad press for sugar in the media recently.

So much so that it got me thinking that maybe I should cut down.

As soon as I thought that, my brain subconsciously panicked and I had the sudden urge to go to our local convenience store and stock up on biscuits. Oh, that was not a good sign.

I eat a lot of sugar. Chocolate biscuits are my favourites but I also love chocolate bars, gummy sweets, ice cream, cake and probably a whole bunch of other things packed with the sweet stuff.

Today is the first day of my sugar-detox.

I don't like the idea of something controlling me and the more I thought about it, the more I realised, I've been riding the sugar roller-coaster for most of my adult life.

There were days that I can easily recall where, due to lack of time or effort on my part, I ate little else but crisps, biscuits, chocolate bars and drank nothing but coffee and Pepsi. No vegetables, nuts, fruit or anything else of nutritional value. It's no surprise that I don't feel great.

Possible scary consequences of my sugar addiction

As I've got older, I've become more aware of my state of being and as a direct consequence, my state of health. I didn't have to look too hard to see that my diet was not only addictive but it was potentially devastating to my health.

In his book, "Sugar Nation", Jeff O'Connell talks about the risks of Type-2 diabetes from a poor diet and little exercise but he also talks about other scary consequences of eating a sugar-rich diet. The book is largely about his journey as he discovered he had Type-2 diabetes and how he discovered he could live a life without it.

He writes of some Italian research that shows a distinct correlation between high sugar-consumption and the hardening of arterial walls (atherosclerosis). This condition could lead to me having a heart attack or stroke. My dad had two strokes. I don't want that for my family.

Other risks include:

I'm amazed I'm not morbidly obese or seriously ill. The trouble is, you don't have to be fat to be in danger.

The decision

I decided that from today, I'm cutting processed sugar out of my diet.

I'm replacing carbonated drinks with water, chocolate and crisps with nuts, vegetables and fruit and I'm going to make an effort to actually have a proper breakfast each day too. The only exception is the single teaspoon of demerara sugar I have in coffee. I'm going to let myself have that as long as I limit myself to two cups a day.

I started the day with a breakfast wrap (fried pork mince, onion, mushrooms, egg and paprika) and a large glass of lemon water (half a lemon in water). I enjoyed eating it. It was tasty. My brain kept asking me when I was going to have a chocolate-biscuit chaser. That was over two hours ago. It's still asking.

I really admire people like Joe Cross. He lost 300 pounds by drinking nothing but fruit and vegetable juices for six months. I couldn't do that. I like solid food but I can't deny his story is amazing.

Getting in shape

I used to go to the gym pretty regularly and at one point I was in pretty good shape. Not any more. I'm not surprised. I've been eating crap for a while and I stopped exercising for about the same length of time.

I'm going to start exercising every day too - but the rule is that I can't use a gym - I want to create an exercise programme that's sustainable even without going somewhere I have to pay for.

If I'm feeling particularly brave, I'll post a picture of my saggy bod and my starting weight here for me to compare my progress against.

I'm determined to stop being a slave to sugar but the question is... will determination be enough?

Today's Food & Drink

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon in water
  • Minced pork breakfast wrap
    80g pork mince, 1/4 large onion, 1 egg, paprika, 1 wholemeal wrap
  • Ham sandwich on Burgen Soya & Linseed bread.
  • Large latte (1% milk, no sugar)
  • Chilli chicken wrap
    50g chicken breast, small sweet pepper, 1/2 large sweet potato, 1 wholemeal wrap, tbspn sunflower oil, smoked paprika & other herbs/spices
    • One cup of instant coffee (1 tspn demerara sugar)
    • One cup of instant coffee (1 tspn honey)
    • 50g lightly salted tortilla chips
    • 2 carrots + natural greek yoghurt
    Yeah... today's diet wasn't particularly healthy. Work pressure left me with very little time and with two young children, we weren't left with much time to cook. Still, I didn't each much sugar, no biscuits and no chocolate so that's a plus.

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