After a lot of thought, I decided after a long and beautiful relationship, it was time for us to take a break.
We had some serious ups and downs and some really amazing times together. But it was starting to feel like a toxic relationship that was having a negative effect on my health.
I was obsessed and needy and couldn’t go a few hours without demanding some attention from you, my beloved. I didn’t feel like I could get through the day without my fix of you, and would be distracted and grumpy without it.
If I was stressed, sad, angry, excited, bored, nervous or tired, I not only wanted, but needed you to be there for me. I lost my independence and was blinded by that incredible high I would feel right after I was with you.
Life just felt so much better in those moments afterwards.
But then I’d get grumpy after you left and craved your attention more than I like to admit. I couldn’t spend a day without you.
I was spending my hard earned money on you, and all I got in return was that feeling of being sick to my stomach and complete emptiness when you’d disappear without a word.
I would get jealous when you were with other people and not me. I wanted all of you all to myself and not to share with anyone else.
When I was sick, I’d need you more than ever, even though I knew you couldn’t help me and were just making things worse.
I was gaining that relationship weight – that little bit of fat that just sits on my tummy in a little bump – I know that was mostly because of you. You were not good for me at all.
But I made a decision.
It was a hard, long thought out decision, but one that had to be made. We can’t keep doing this. We should just be friends.
I’m sorry sugar, but that’s the only way I can see us getting past our toxic past.
I will always love you, sugar, but I’m just not *in love* with you anymore… It’s not you, it’s me.
We should just be friends.
I know it’s not going to be easy, you seem to be everywhere I look, but I think for the first few weeks we should just cut ties completely and go cold turkey. It’ll be hard, but will make it better in the long run.
Maybe then we can talk and maybe limit our time spent together (just as friends, obvs) in a way that is healthy and avoid getting back into that toxic cycle that we’ve found ourselves in.
Lots of love (and mild obsession),
BREAK UP JOURNAL
My sugar detox was much less organised than it really should have been. I just figured, sugar is bad and has no nutritional value so I should just cut it out.
The fact that I keep hearing that it’s an immune suppressant (from, honestly, old research) is more than enough reason for me to want to try my hand at minimizing my intake to see if it makes any difference, especially considering my immune system doesn’t actually work.
I’d definitely recommend going into a diet change like this with a little more direction than me, but it did seem to work out alright in the end so I’ll tell you what I did so you can learn from my mistakes 🙂
Actually, any big change in diet requires some serious consideration so don’t just do it on a whim or cos your friend with a blog said it’s probably ok – I take no responsibility for anyone thinking I know what I’m talking about…
My rules were very basic:
- No added/refined sugar
- Minimal/no fructose (so no fruit or fruit juices)
- No other sweeteners (like agave, stevia, malt syrup – even if it’s a “good” sweetener)
- Carbs – I didn’t consider carbohydrates at first, then cut them out, then re-allowed complex carbohydrates (totes organised)
- Increase delicious vegetables, protein from meat, and a bit of fat from avocados, coconut products, butter and cheese etc (mmm cheeeese)
- Milk is fine, as long as it’s full fat
- Coffee – I will never cut out coffee
- Alcoholic drinks like dry wine or beer (or spirits neat/with soda water) are ok, but probably not the best idea
The idea of cutting out fructose and other “good” sweeteners (even though they sounds like the “healthy” kind of sugar) was that, basically sugar has no nutritional value and can be cut from a diet and should have no negative affect on you in the long-term. I figured that since I was only going for a 21 day detox, that I could try minimize my total sugar intake and start back from square one after those 3 weeks and reintroduce a little bit of fruit. The last thing I wanted was to replace my chocolate addiction with a fruit addiction, then switch back to chocolate after 3 weeks because I never fully removed the sugar aspect of my diet.
I’d also recommend starting a food diary before you start and during a detox. I found mine VERY interesting as my diet changed quite significantly (in a good way). It’s nice to have evidence of how awesome you’re being 😛
Aaaand, this is how it went…
DAY 1 – Monday 28 September
Day 1 was fine, I was expecting worse cravings than I got but I barely noticed. I did miss fruit and its fructose goodness though!
It was fun buying food at the supermarket for my new sugar-free meals. Vegetables, meats and fatty goodness. All great things!
DAY 2 – Tuesday 29 September
Again, this wasn’t even too bad. I had a bit of a temptation in my afternoon slump, but nothing I couldn’t push a side with a green tea.
I had plenty of leftovers so didn’t really need to worry too much about food.
DAY 3 – Wednesday 30 September
My breakfast tasted bland as I had realised that my regular breakfast actually had a little more sugar than had even crossed my mind and I basically had removed everything tasty from it… Not ok.
Then supermarket shopping after work was terrible! I had to ignore every impulse I had to buy my usual treat (chocolate bar/chocolate milk/packet of biscuits) which I now realise I do on most grocery shops.
I felt like I needed something sweet. Then I looked in my basket which was full of beige and green boring food and got annoyed at this stupid detox.
This is the day that I gained the next level of respect for anyone who battles with weight and feels like they need to restrict their diet to look “better”. I’ve literally never done that before and this detox made me feel deprived.
I really don’t think it’s worth feeling deprived when we only have one life – balance is the answer. But I apparently don’t have balance and this is a health detox, so I gotta push through!
DAY 4 – Thursday 01 October
I did a cardio session at the gym on my 4th day off sugar and was really, really tired afterwards – was that because of the sugar or am I just unfit? I think mostly sugar, a little bit lack of fitness.
Around 2-3pm like clockwork the intense sugar cravings hit. I started day dreaming about the sweet foods I could be eating. Got an urge to buy a pack of afghan biscuits and a bottle of Lewis Road Creamery flavoured milk (any flavor, yumm) and dip the biscuits in the milk. Sugary goodness!
Obviously resisted, and only partially due to the fact that’s totally not socially acceptable behaviour 😛
I had a handful of walnuts in the afternoon to quash those cravings (barely), and later bought a jar of coconut yoghurt – a tablespoon was flavoursome enough to stop me going to the shop and buying an icecream that night.
DAY 5 – Friday 02 October
Friday was a struggle at work. I felt physically exhausted, like walking anywhere (even just around the office) was using energy I didn’t have.
I was also quite irritable and was getting really annoyed at small things that other people were doing or saying. It was taking effort not to snap at my co-workers for nothing.
Once again, the 2/3pm slump hit and I remembered my biscuit and milk idea from yesterday. Just green tea-ed my way through it grumpily.
Went to Friday work drinks but felt like I couldn’t eat anything I wanted to so left early.
Was physically tired that night and stayed in, eating a delicious home cooked surf n turf and watching movies. A bottle of sparkling water helped me deal with the fact that I couldn’t drink essentially ANY bottled drink in the damn supermarket.
DAY 6 – Saturday 03 October
I wrote in my journal (yes, I have a journal, and what) “I can’t believe how physically tired I am. It’s as if I normally run on sugar and my fuel is empty! I hope it comes back soon.”
The cravings seemed to be subsiding (finally!) but I was still a bit irritable. I went (read: dragged myself) to a friend’s house and showed everyone how bad a case of the shakes I had. A headache was threatening and all I wanted to do was lie down.
I didn’t even want to join in on drinks with my friends and was perfectly content with my sparkling water.
In these times where I’m missing out on yummy foods, I’m SO grateful for coffee and all coconut products!
DAY 7 – Sunday 04 October
I was doing ok but caved and had a red wine at lunch with friends. I did feel like a bit of a light-weight and couldn’t have had much more.
However, this day was thrown off completely as I had a panic attack that afternoon and couldn’t kick the feeling of depression that settled on me that afternoon. As I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t equip myself well to get over it properly and ended up going for the comfort food option of M&Ms to get that dopamine kick.
My moods swung to extremes that day and, while I’m pretty sure they were understandable and would have happened anyway, I don’t think the withdrawals helped any second of it.
Since I had chocolate that day, I decided to write it off as a cheat day and also ate McDonalds and a Peanut Slab. Whoops!
Shit happens, and when you’re that upset, I think you can make allowances if need be 🙂
DAY 8 – Monday 05 October
Monday I was tired and had a pretty low mood (maybe leftover from the shit-show that was Sunday).
When I woke up, I had broken out in acne on my face – like, it hurt a bit. It was a nice reminder of being a teenager! I had a bit of a headache and sore throat and felt like I was coming down with something.
I also realised that my bowel movements were all over the show. I won’t go into details, but the inconsistency was a little unsettling.
I had cravings but they were nowhere as terrible as last week. Still, I tried out a new craving suppressant – a teaspoon of coconut oil in the mid-afternoon – which seemed to work quite well.
This was the day I broke out in a rash too! A bit across my tummy, back and hands. I showed the Irishman and he told me they looked like hives, and a quick google told me that acne and a rash are common side-effects from detox diets, especially sugar (umm why did no one think to tell me this BEFORE I did it?!).
DAY 9 – Tuesday 06 October
Hives = itchy. And they seem to be spreading.
My face also hurts and the acne is not a great look.
I made a decision this day to allow a little more sugar into my diet through complex carbs as I had an infusion (treatment for my immune deficiency) coming up on Thursday. They run me down and it was only my 4th treatment ever, so the last thing I want is to be run down before going to do something that’ll knock me out for a day or 2!
Since I seemed to be going for less than one or two teaspoons of sugar a day, increasing it to around 2 or even 3 didn’t seem like that big a deal, considering 6 teaspoons is the maximum recommended amount of added sugar in a day. Technically I’m not even eating added sugar, just naturally occurring sugars so it’s probably not a bad thing at all. Maybe I could drop back down after recovering from the infusion?
Good things this day; no headaches, less fatigue, no shakes, less cravings and less irritable.
So apparently my side-effects have gone from inside to showing physically on the outside!
DAY 10 – Wednesday 07 October
I weighed myself this day (probably should have done it at the start if I had even considered weight loss to be another side-effect). 63.5kg. The last time I was weighed was about a month earlier and I think I was around 65kg. It could be safe to say I was around 64-64.5kg when I started, by extrapolation judging by the amount of exercise I had done that month etc.
I upped my carbs a bit and felt significantly less hungry and next to no cravings. I had energy for exercise and was not fatigued afterwards like last time.
Still have hives – less itchy but they’ve spread to my legs! Face is still a mess. Joy.
Maybe still irritable? It’s hard to tell. Vague ache in head.
DAY 11 – Thursday 08 October
Infusion day! Because these treatments have a tendency to make me dizzy, tired and maybe a little light-headed, I was slightly more lenient. Had a Berocca to help me hydrate for it, and had a nice vege wrap afterwards.
Any side-effects basically blended into infusion side-effects so who knows what happened this day, really. Except for the delicious seafood laksa for dinner. Mmm.
DAY 12 – Friday 09 October
Ditto with this day. I was still recovering from the infusion and was quite physically tired during the day. Was ok to go out for dinner and a couple of drinks that night so it can’t have been that bad!
Cravings were minimal, except for trying to ignore the need I get, when working from home, to walk to the shop for a drink and treat as a way of stretching my legs.
DAY 13 – Saturday 10 October
Went to an exhibition and walked some dogs before binge-watching a TV show with the bestie. Not typically tiring business, but I didn’t feel like I could have done much more this day as I felt physically drained.
Very, very hard to know what is causing this fatigue.
DAY 14 – Sunday 11 October
Walked the dogs again then came home and did a little work sweeping outside the house. Realised I couldn’t physically do much more than that and ended up crashing out on my bed for 3 or 4 hours.
Didn’t feel like I could physically move at all. It was as if I had literally used every last bit of my energy and not even sure how easily I could have gotten out of the house if it had caught on fire.
Got enough energy to go to a BBQ where a bunch of my friends were. The physical/emotional toll was too much and it didn’t end up well.
It’s literally impossible to know in what ratio infusions/lack of sugar/anything else is fatiguing me physically or emotionally.
DAYS 15 to 21 – Monday 12 – Sunday 18 October
Honestly, from here on out, it all basically started improving.
The final week:
- My face started clearing up
- The hives were still around but improving
- Irritability seemed to be directly connected to individuals rather than sugar 😛
- No headaches
- No cravings, like, at all really. Supermarkets are no longer like being put in a room of puppies and being told not to pat them (i.e. torture)
- Shakes long gone
- General feeling of being a little ill has gone
- Fatigue has slowly gone away and have been able to exercise
Overall, I’ve found that Days 3 to 7, I had more of the “hidden” sorts of withdrawal symptoms; extreme cravings, intense fatigue, mild headaches, irritability, shakes and that general feeling of “bleh”.
Days 8 to 14, they were more physical and emotional side-effects; hives, acne, fatigue and mood swings.
Days 15 to 21, was just the up and up. All of the side-effects and withdrawals that I had were slowly disappearing and generally life was feeling better.
Weight – While I didn’t do this for weight loss, it looks like it happened anyway. I think I started at around 64/64.5kg, at day 10 I was 63.5kg, and afterwards I was 62.5kg.
This means that I lost around 1-2kg at an estimate, and that’s not taking into account that I actually did LESS exercise because of the fatigue, so it’s interesting to see that I must have had an extra little bit of weight I must have been holding onto without actually realising it.
If weight is a big reason for you doing this, weigh yourself before and even maybe measure your waist. You may as well know if it worked or not.
I also think my skin has improved, despite the teenage revival of that glorious acne.
(Note: The terrible lighting is not on purpose, and probably only a slight exaggeration)
And now that I’m officially done, today I tried to eat a delicious home-baked afghan (one of my favourite biscuits in existence) as a treat for finishing my 21 day detox aaaaaand… Dum, dum, dummm… Bleh!
It tasted like pure sugar, was difficult to eat – especially the icing. I forced it down anyway because I know I love afghans but that didn’t work out well for me. I could taste sugar in my mouth for a couple of hours afterwards, I felt nauseous and bloated, my head started thumping a little and I just felt generally a bit gross!
My cravings have gone from a daily need for sugar (that I used to often give in to with fruit and treats), to barely a hint on my radar. I also feel like if I get a strong enough craving, I won’t want to eat half of the things out there as all of the added refined sugar will just burn my taste buds and not even be delicious at all.
And then there’s the issue of biscuits coming in packs, and me being a single person. The math doesn’t work in my favour.
A treat here and there will probably be nice, but it might be time to take hold of making my own snacks as nothing in the supermarket is going to really cut it anymore.
Excited to make a turn for the better in my eating habits! Bliss balls, here I come 😀