What Happened When I Gave Up Sugar for 28 Days

I’m so pleased to announce that Sugar Free February is officially over!!

Keep reading to see what happened when I gave up sugar for 28 days.

 

Week 1

The first week was definitely the hardest and I accidentally cheated a few times– for example ordering a cappuccino that had hot chocolate powder on it and eating food at the UNiDAYS event that might have had sugar in. After these incidents I received quite a few comments on my twitter/facebook/blog post saying that I shouldn’t really think of these as cheating and I’ve got to say I agree. I think that tearing into a bar of chocolate is cheating, but the examples above were just mistakes or things I had no control over. So if things like that happened at other times I didn’t mention it on my blog.

i cheated on sugar free february

 

Since this was the first week I was really diligent about looking on packets for added sugars. I spent at least 10 minutes picking up every soup in Waitrose  – only 2 out of at least 20 had no sugar or dairy in!! But if you’re looking for healthier choices, at least this is something that you only have to do once and then you can remember which item to grab next time.

sugar free for 28 days here's what happened

 

What about sugar cravings you ask?

I was definitely feeling my sweet tooth after dinner in the first week and it was hard not to give in. Especially when I knew I had some sugary goodies in my flat! But I received lots of support from my friends on social media, which helped me to stay strong. Also, I feel that making this a challenge and raising money for meals for the homeless has really helped keep me on track – I said I would pay £5 each time I cheated and so I really didn’t want to be paying out a lot for cheating (I have paid £10 for the mistakes I just mentioned).

However, when I was craving sugary foods after dinner I just turned to my jar of peanut butter instead… or should I say jars. I got through A LOT of peanut butter in the first week!

pics peanutbutter healthyandpsyched collaboration

 

Week 2

On week 2 I decided I should rein in my peanut butter consumption. Firstly, I feel really sluggish and bloated if I eat too much peanut butter (although that doesn’t stop me hahaha!). Secondly, one of the reasons that I wanted to take part in Sugar Free February was to break out of the habit of eating when I feel upset or bored– turning to peanut butter wasn’t helping me to do that. Instead I started having a nice warm drink after dinner (e.g. my beetroot latte, without the date syrup) and maybe some popcorn, a small sweet potato or another snack if I was actually hungry.

28 days sugar free snacks popcorn

 

I started to get incredibly emotional in week 2, especially about my PhD work and I even cried one day because I saw some sheep on a bridge and I thought it was funny. I’m pretty sure that’s not a normal thing to do! I was also feeling an energy slump and really struggled to force myself into the gym, which is quite unlike me because usually I really enjoy exercise. I’m not sure if the two things above were related to sugar or maybe stress in general.

During Sugar Free February I had to swap my protein powder. Usually I use Vivolife Perform, but that it sweetened with stevia so I started using 100% hemp protein instead. I don’t mind the taste of hemp protein powder but it’s nothing too special. At the end of the week I was really happy to receive some brown rice and cacao protein powder from That Protein, which tasted great in a smoothie (e.g. protein powder, frozen spinach, 1/2 a banana and rice milk) or mixed with yoghurt and it really helped with my sweet cravings.

that protein sugar free vegan protein powder

 

Week 3

By week 3 I was getting the hang of snacking on veggies and actually started to enjoy carrot sticks and sugar snap peas- they’re so refreshing. I was still emotional this week and feeling low energy. But I was happy that my skin seemed to be looking clearer.

I think the most exciting thing to happen in week 3 was that I found some Montezuma’s 100% dark chocolate in Sainsbury’s! It was very strong and I could only eat a tiny bit at a time, but it was great to have chocolate! (I’ve also since seen Willies 100% chocolate in Waitrose).

no added sugar chocolate - sugar free february

 

Also in week 3 I went out to pizza express for dinner and I didn’t find it hard to pick something with no sugar. I ordered the Bosco salad and swapped the cheese and dough sticks for cucumber and olives. There’s obviously no way to know that some of the ingredients didn’t contain sugar but I had better things to do than spend my time worrying about that.

 

Week 4

Finally by week 4 I felt like I was getting the hang of the no sugar thing!

When I got tempted I asked myself if it would really be worth cheating and the answer was always no.

I went to a kid’s birthday party and successfully avoided any sugary snacks. Luckily there were some sliced vegetables to snack on and to be honest I wouldn’t have eaten the cake under normal circumstances anyway because even though it was homemade it wasn’t vegan and it had refined sugar in.

By the end of the week I was thinking about what sugary snacks I would be able to eat afterwards, but actually, I wasn’t that strongly tempted by any of them.

Also this week I realised that I hadn’t really put much effort into my campaign to raise money to buy meals from the homeless.  I was pleased to receive donations from my boyfriend, Jonathan from Savvy and Tony from Cookie-Mix.  But I realise that isn’t a lot! SO I decide to extend the date of the campaign and make a Sugar Free Snacks E-Book as a perk for donating (read more here).

vegan sugar free snacks

 

What I learnt from Sugar Free February

28 days without sugar did remind me of something very important – balance and moderation is key to a happy life. I think that it’s unhealthy to eat too much sugar and that we should try and cut down where we can BUT it’s impossible to avoid sugar altogether. It’s important not to get too caught up in avoiding sugar because if you’re obsessing over foods (especially when you don’t have control over it when you go out) it is totally defeating the point of trying to reduce sugar in order to be healthier.

I’ve also learnt that sometimes food with added sugar in doesn’t taste as good as we think it’s going to. After Sugar-Free February I have eaten ketchup and treated myself to a soya-latte (which used sweentened milk) and actually I didn’t like either of them! I think of taste buds can change depending on what we eat– so we might find that we don’t like the tings we used to anymore.

That said. I had a chocolate brownie made by Leitchy Creates and it was the most amazing thing ever!! So dense and fudgy!

Leitchy Creates Sugar Free Brownie Sheffield

 

So in conclusion

  • It was interesting to take part in Sugar Free February but I will be including some sugars back into my diet going forward.
  • I did experience some health benefits, such as clearer skin, but felt like I had less energy and was getting quite emotional in weeks 2 and 3.
  • My Sugar Free Snacks Ebook is on sale as a ‘perk’ for donating £5 to my campaign to buy meals for the homless. You will get 25 healthy sugary free snack ideas – all vegan with gluten-free options (click here).

 

Thanks for reading.

I hope this has helped if you’re thinking of taking the challenge and reducing your sugar intake.

If you’ve got any more questions then let me know in the comments.

22 Comments

  1. Lynne Harper
    March 8, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    What a massive achievement. I’m so glad you made it through to the end. I’m 10 days into cutting out rubbish and I’m just starting to come out the other side of craving. X

  2. March 8, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    Congrats on completing the challenge I don’t think I could do it but think I will try next February. I do think moderation is essential and do struggle eating healthy at hormonal times. I also think your taste buds change whenever you adjust your eating habits which can only be positive for you! I no longer have fizzy drinks except when out and notice how clear my skin is x

  3. March 8, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    I have to say I am so impressed that you managed to go through with this, and you have such a worthy cause behind you!
    I am definitely going to be donating and am excited to see whats in the e-book! x
    Izzy | Pinch of delight

  4. March 9, 2017 / 11:06 am

    Wow this must be so hard to do because sugar is in so much that we consume without thought! You are doing brilliantly!

  5. March 9, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    I am very impressed that you got through this, it really shows when you look into things how much stuff does have sugar in it x

  6. March 9, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    You did an amazing job doing this I know I never would have made it through the whole month. I am slowly reducing my sugars and getting there but no way to the same level as you have managed.

  7. bettybrico
    March 10, 2017 / 2:55 am

    Congrats on getting through the whole month! That’s tough stuff! I’ve tried the no sugar thing too, when I was pregnant no less. Needless to say, it didn’t last super long,but a couple weeks was enough to make me VERY sensitive to sweets. Like everything packaged has sugar in it, it’s ridiculous! I’m vegan too though so I eat a lot of food I make myself and probably less sugar than average…except in my coffee. I am half Cuban afterall…I need sugar in my coffee.

  8. March 10, 2017 / 6:51 am

    Yes! It’s balance! Honestly those sorts of things give you a royal kick up the bum don’t they? I did something similar, so every so often I sort of switch it up. So instead of a chocolate bar now I’ll make something to curb my sweat craving that is more natural.

  9. nicol
    March 10, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    that is interesting how it can change your taste in certain food. this was a great challenge

  10. March 10, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    I 100% agree with you about balance and moderation, and it’s nice to hear it from the perspective of someone who went ‘cold turkey’.

  11. March 10, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Well done! I’m having to go sugar free because of the gestational diabetes, (and reduced carb free too). I’m finding the more time goes on the easier it becomes to select and choose well. Just like you I’m choosing hot drinks as my treat! lol

  12. March 10, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    I have to admit to being a bit of a sugar addict, so I really admire the fact that you stuck to it and did so well!

  13. March 12, 2017 / 5:15 am

    Congratulations for completing the challenge. Well done.

  14. Dannii
    March 12, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    Haha I always get through loads of peanut butter when I cut down on sugar too.

  15. March 13, 2017 / 10:45 am

    I agree, everything is fine in moderation, I couldn’t remove sugar from my diet!

  16. March 14, 2017 / 10:15 am

    28 days without sugar as challenge look an amazing idea for me. I’ll definitely try this in coming month but could you tell me that how much amount of sugar you are taking now ?

    • Heathy & Psyched
      March 14, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      Hi Jenny 🙂 I’m not consciously thinking about how much sugar I have at the moment. I am eating however much fruit I want, which is probably about 4 portions per day and I’ve had some treats like date-based energy balls etc. probably every other day. I’m still staying away from refined sugars when possible, which is most of the time, but if for example I went out and really wanted a dessert I would have it and enjoy it 🙂 Hope that answer is okay. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  17. March 19, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    Good on you for trying this self-experiment! At the end of the day, we can only do what is best for our individual bodies 🙂 Keep rocking!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      March 19, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Hey 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment. You have such a great attitude, sometimes people forget what works for them might not work for other people.

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