5 days ago I decided to give up added sweeteners and eat only 2 portions of fruit per day for Sugar Free February. As part of the sugar free challenge I am trying to raise £280 (£10 per day) to spend on meals for homeless people in Sheffield (read more here and donate here). In this blog post I want to share with you my experience of sugar cravings this week and what I’ve learn to reduce them.
The main thing going through my head has been ‘WHY DID I DECIDE TO PUT MYSELF THROUGH THIS!!?’
To be honest I didn’t really give it enough thought. I’d just finished watching ‘Sugar Free Farm’ (a not very scientific program in which celebrities gave up sugar and worked on a farm for a month) and I decided that maybe I should try and reduce my sugar intake. Well, I had been thinking about it and reading some articles for a little while before, but the TV program was the final push that made me do it.
After deciding to give up sugar I wrote a blog post proclaiming that I would be taking part in Sugar Free February and raising money for the homeless. This approach was intended to help me not to cheat or give up on the challenge. It has worked, but in hindsight maybe it was a bit drastic. I wanted to make the rules pretty strict to achieve the benefits of reducing my sugar intake, but I’m starting to regret it.
I’ve been craving all sorts of sugary foods. On the morning of day 1 I woke up and wanted to devour an entire packet of dates. I think that was only because I told myself I wasn’t allowed them, but in any case I had to make a sugar-free breakfast and rush out the door quickly before I cheated!
After the date craving came the chocolate craving! I’m working on a project for my psychology PhD where the participants will be eating chocolate, so I have to think about it at least some point every day!! I’m pleased to report that the craving has died down a bit, apart from when I see someone post a photo on instagram of chocolate melting on top of oats or something similar (apologies for anyone reading who’s doing Sugar Free February and wants to rip into a chocolate bar right now).
My main cravings on day 3, 4 and 5 were for fruit. To say that I love fruit would be an understatement; I love it so much that my family always buy me fruit themed gifts (like a watermelon bottle or pineapple tea cosy) and make sure that they have some fruit if I’m sleeping over. It’s been hard to eat only 2 portions of fruit per day.
On the evening of day 3 I seriously wanted to go to the shop and buy loads of watermelon and eat it all. It would have been so yummy and refreshing. But I stayed strong and drank some herbal tea and made an instagram story about it. I got a few lovely comments on the story, which was really nice and motivating.
3tips for Sugar Free February I’ve learnt so far
- Unsweetened herbal tea is good for reducing cravings. My favourites are berry, mint or liquorish.
- Warm berries make a great substitute for Jam. They’re sweet and satisfying on porridge and also work on toast.
- Get support. I find that hearing motivational messages from others is far more powerful than if you told yourself the same thing. Family, friends or even people you know through social media can help to support you and keep you on track if you’re struggling. Just be honest about what you’re experiencing and someone is always willing to help.
Want more tips?
I shared tip number 2 on the Healthy & Psyched facebook page.
I plan to post daily tips throughout February to help everyone trying to reduce their sugar intake.
Make sure to follow Healthy & Psyched on facebook for daily tips –> https://www.facebook.com/healthyandpsyched/
This post has mainly been about food and cravings.
What other posts would you like to see in Sugar Free February?