Going sugar-free for 30 days was not what I was planning on doing next month. When I set out to plan my first 30-day experiment, I was going to go for something a little bit easier — to dip my toes into the kiddie pool instead of diving into the deep end. But as I was thinking around what’s going to be best for me and what’s important for me to do right now, going sugar-free for 30 days was at the top of that list.
Before getting into more about why now and the parameters I’ll follow, I wanted to say — this is not meant to be a diet or a cleanse. I’m not trying to lose weight or rid my body of some mysterious toxin. I’m looking to remove added sugar, from my diet in a hopefully flexible and delicious way that leaves me feeling better overall.
The Resistance + Why Now
To be completely honest, I’m feeling a lot of resistance to — and even a bit of anxiety around — this experiment. This resistance is telling me not now, not this challenge, because…
- Tracking added sugar is tricky! It’s hidden in nearly everything that comes in a package — spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, yogurt, granola bars, cereal. I’ll need to brush up on my label-reading skills.
- Packaged snacks are easy. Being a mom, and a working mom at that, to a young kiddo is hard work. As much as I’d love to whip up a batch of gluten-free, sugar-free, high-protein glow bites (or whatever the latest snack craze is) every week, I just don’t have the time or energy. Reaching for a granola bar is easy, and delicious. I’ll need to brainstorm easy, sugar-free snack ideas.
- I really like sweets. This is the biggest hurdle. I love ice cream, cookies, chocolates, Sunday morning pancakes, you name it. It’s become a habit to say yes whenever they’re around and to reach for them after dinner. I’ll need to build up some willpower, find some alternatives for those “dire” moments and retrain my tastebuds.
But when it comes down to it, the positive effects a sugar-free month will (hopefully) have in my life far outweigh the tough bits. After this 30-day experiment, I hope I will…
- Feel more energetic: I’m 31 weeks pregnant, and my energy levels are not great. I’ve been feeling lethargic, tired, dizzy and weak at times for the last few weeks, and I find these symptoms tend to peak when I’ve recently eaten a lot of sugar. I saw my doctor yesterday, and everything’s just fine with me and baby, which makes me suspect that sugar might be playing a role.
- Strengthen my ability to make good choices: It’s really easy for me to fall into a pattern of poor food choices. Each poor choice makes the next one that much easier — ie: that week not too long ago when I ate ice cream every. night.
- Be able to enjoy sugar occasionally without going overboard: Or what is also known as moderation, something I’m not so great at when it comes to sugar…
This challenge will run from May 1-30. If you’re familiar with the blog Pinch of Yum (and if you’re not, I highly recommend checking it out), I’ll be following their “Sugar-Free January” rules. They’re simple, straight forward and leave a bit of wiggle room — just what I’m looking for:
- Cut out added sugar.
- Be committed but not strict, shaming or mean to myself.
- Make my own choices.
I’ll still be eating whole-food sources of sugar like fresh fruit and dried fruits, which come “pre-packaged” with fiber to slow down digestion, not to mention lots of nutrition for me and baby. I’ll be cutting out things like granulated sugar, corn syrup, agave, maple syrup, honey and artificial sweeteners.
Some dark chocolate might sneak in here somewhere. This might be the resistance talking, but knowing that a little bit of chocolate is on the table makes heading into next month seem more possible.
Things I’m Curious About
As I prepare for the start of this experiment next week (eep!), there are a few questions circling around in my head that I’ll try to answer on social and through my recap at the end of the month:
- How will this affect our grocery budget?
- What does a pantry + fridge clean out look like without being wasteful?
- How will I feel the first few days?
- What could I do to lessen or take the edge off of sugar cravings?
- What things do I reach for consistently that I need to plan substitutions for?
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