I’ve been rather silent since my final diary entry of the 21 day no sugar challenge. Even though I said I would go back to having no sugar, I didn’t do that. There was a huge part of writing the blog posts about my progress during the 21 days that kept me going because of accountability. There was the possibility of many eyes soaking in my words and wishing me well. It also meant that I had to be honest with myself before formulating my thoughts into words to tell you. I can lie of course, to myself, convincing the brain things inside my head of one thing while really I know the truth. But lying through written word doesn’t work so easily for me, and perhaps that’s why I couldn’t go back to blogging when I started sugar again; so that I could carry on lying to myself and feel okay because I wouldn’t be lying to anyone else.
The day before the end of the challenge. Day 21. I went to a birthday party where there was fudge, chocolate smudge and all things sugary. Praise the Lord for the birthday girl’s generosity in also preparing yummy-nutrition-filled quiches, carrot sticks with avo dip and strawberries for the picking. Then came supper time with Aunty Judy, who always has delicious treats on offer. She knew about my challenge and the evening was a success. After nearly polishing off a salad for six between the two of us, we sat eating a huge bowl of yoghurt for pudding. She didn’t even say, “are you sure you don’t want one of these chocolate muffins or some ice cream?”. She offered yoghurt for pudding and that was that. My heart was happy.
At a special baptism service the next day at church, there were celebratory snacks on offer. I had a teeny little chocolate/biscuity block as my first sugary thing in 21 days. Granted it was extremely yummy, but rather unsatisfying. Later in the week, I wanted to bake some condensed milk cookies to offer at Bible Study. And again, they were quite yummy…but left me feeling dissatisfied with having ate a few. I got a big headache that lasted two days and my tummy wasn’t totally upset with me, but just didn’t feel right. Furthermore, when my coach visited for our bi-monthly rescan, my metabolic age had gone up, water down and Kg’s slightly up, just one week after the challenge ended. But the biggest effect I felt was that I was TIRED (I still am, since the end of the challenge, I’ve been tired).
Day 18 and I’ve started to forget that I’m doing the challenge. Do not fear, I’m not forgetting to not eat sugar, but I’m forgetting that it’s a challenge. Every day when the reminder on my phone goes off to tell me not to have extra sugar, I’m un-surprised and rather nonchalant about it. I stopped counting down the days to when the challenge will be over, and when I sat down to write this post, I had to go to my calendar to figure out what day I’m on.
My friends have also started to get used to it. On Sunday I did a potholes photoshoot with four friends. They were extremely obliging and did all sorts of weird and wonderful things that I wanted in my photo series. To say thank you, we went to Steers where I bought them each an ice cream. I did not have an ice cream and they did not look at me strangely and then click and say “oh, I almost forgot”. We simply sat at a table while they licked their ice-creams and we flicked the little cardboard cone cover to each other (small things amuse small minds hey?).
It’s day 10 and I just realised that it’s nearly halfway to 21 days!
Five days ago I was about to embark on a big challenge part of my 21 days of having no added sugar, which was that I was going to bake some deliciously full-of-sugar brownies for a church retreat this past weekend. I promised to share how it went and if I was actually up to the task that was set before me. After posting the first diary entry last week, I was craving sugar like a pregnant woman who has weird desires for certain foods and I ALMOST decided to just give in and have a teensy bit of sugar. I realised though, that I had told you…yes you…the one reading this post! How could I betray myself, you and the One I’m doing this for?
I looked up my trusty chocolate chip brownie recipe and wrote down the ingredients I needed to buy…butter, sugar, chocolate chips and lots and lots of plain chocolate. To ensure that I wouldn’t shop while hungry, I had my afternoon snack (roasted chickpeas with a little bit of olive oil and paprika…yummy!) before heading out to the Place of Temptation (i.e. Pick ‘n Pay). I was in and out with exactly what I needed, no messing around and no unnecessary additions. I came home, put the butter in the fridge and left the chocolaty things in the shopping bag…in my room…awaiting their destruction the next day.
My mother reviews films, and she recently watched That Sugar Film. Afterwards, she rushed home to study all the products in the pantry to assess how bad the sugar situation in her home really was. During her childhood, low-fat was always good and too much fat was a bad thing. So you can understand the little bit of confusion or surprise that low-fat can actually be less healthy because of the added sugar to make it taste better after the tasty fat has been removed. So that low-fat, vanilla, sweetened yoghurt may not actually be the best option. This matches with my choice to go for low-fat PLAIN yoghurt and add honey instead. Yoghurt, however, is just one product.
After deciding to take a final stand against my extra weight and eat well and exercise more, and after all the sugar discoveries and discussions…I decided to do the no sugar, no bread 21 day challenge, an initiative created to challenge South Africans to eat less foods that spike blood sugar and insulin levels. I seldom eat bread anyway so that’s not a challenge, the sugar part is.