21-Day No Sugar Challenge
– 26th February, 2018
For the past 21 days, I avoided artificial sugar. What’s that? Well, it’s any food that isn’t naturally sweet. Why? I always knew it’s bad for health but never did anything about it. I wanted to do something about it. Also, I had heard a lot about the mental benefits of avoiding artificial sugar. So, I began an experiment with my body. It was more of a challenge actually due to my love for chocolate.
Fun Fact – I had about 100 M&M's the day before I began this challenge.
Now, before I tell you my story, I want to inform you that neither I’m a food/health expert nor am I going to share any science below. Still interested? Let’s begin.
Just like everyone, I too thought I’m doing perfectly fine. I felt all my habits are healthy and there’s nothing I’m doing incorrectly. I work out at least 5 times a week. What could I be doing wrong? So, the first and most important step was to acknowledge my bad food habits. Once that was done, I started devising a good plan because I knew I won’t achieve anything with just my willpower. I created 21 tasks for each day in my task management app called Todoist. (Swiping a task off my list is really motivating & satisfying to me.) Then, I made sure I had a ton of fruits to begin with. Everything was set up. It was time to act.
The first week was really difficult for me. I had cravings every single day but I didn’t want to break the chain. One of the most important things I learned during that time is that my environment really matters. I mean, of course I’ll get cravings if there are dozens of chocolates in my fridge. But, I live with people who like chocolate as well. So, giving/throwing away the chocolates was never really an option. What I could do was to not open the fridge unless really needed. (I have a habit of opening the fridge every now and then.)
I didn’t have a lot of cravings in the second week but I learned the importance of having healthy food around me all the time. I have a huge appetite. I get hungry every other hour. So, keeping my home stocked with snacks like fruits, nuts, and popcorn was paramount. Everytime I couldn’t find anything healthy to eat, I got the usual cravings for sugar. Another amazing thing I realised was that my mood was much more stable than the previous week.
The last week went by like a breeze. My cravings were out of sight. There was so much mental clarity. I was extremely pleased with my mood. Everything seemed better. The people. Surroundings. Food. Everything.
What more do I say? I already got a glimpse of what was about to happen after the challenge in the last week. I feel so calm & relaxed today. I’m much more mindful of the food I eat and the things I do. Of course, you won’t exactly feel like I did if you take this challenge. We all have different bodies with different needs. Although, I can confidently say that it will be much better than when you were having artificial sugar.
I’ll indulge only on special ocassions like festivals, birthdays, and other celebrations. I believe it’s okay to indulge once in a while. But, in moderation.
I’ll end this blog with something for you to think about that I read in an email I received today –
“Will your future-self be happy with your current investment in health?”
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