If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen me post about cutting out sugar for a few days. Well, today, I’m very happy to say that I’m no longer on that fast.
In fact, yesterday evening I could be found dunkin’ a double chocolate chip cookie into a glass of ice cold milk. Organic, whole milk, of course. (As if that makes it okay?)
But two weeks ago, when my husband and I started our little fast, just 24 hours in and I was dying for a chocolate chip cookie, ya’ll. Dying!
That’s when I knew just how badly I needed to do this.
Why a sugar fast?
The whole point of going on a week-long break from sugar was to support my husband in breaking his bad habit of drinking soda and sweet tea. And for the record, it was my idea for us to do this together so that he didn’t feel like he was the only one making a sacrifice. (Aww. Best. Wife. Ever. I know you’re thinking it!)
On the morning our fast began, I realized I might have taken on a challenge far greater than I originally thought. That, or I didn’t really think it through the first time. (Yeah, I totally wasn’t thinking straight.)
You see, I’m a water drinker – always have been. I’m not one to reach for a soda, tea, or lemonade except for on occasion or at social events.
Cookies, on the other hand, are my weakness. I grew up eating cookies as a before bedtime snack. Or a bowl of cereal. Or a piece of cake. Or an ice cream shake. Clearly, it had to be something sweet.
But, my husband? He didn’t have such luxuries growing up. Today, he can watch me eat my cookies without asking for some. (Unless I’m eating double chocolate Milano’s. Then, he’ll ask for one. Or two.)
So, do you see where I’m getting? Do you see the dilemma I found myself in on day one?
He consumes his sugar by liquid whereas I consume my sugar via food. Hence, I found myself needing to find sugar-free meal substitutes.
It. Was. Hard.
Twenty-four hours in and I really, really, really wanted to have a glass of milk with a cookie. One. Freakin’. Cookie. And I’m still breastfeeding, ya’ll, so my calorie intake needs to be more than someone who isn’t. Take away all the sugar snacks I otherwise wouldn’t hesitate to scarf down (granola bars, cereal, cookies, donuts, etc.), I was left with a pantry full of processed food I couldn’t indulge in.
Meanwhile, my husband was perfectly okay sippin’ his water enhanced with fresh lemon wedges. (*insert envious eyes*)
WTF was I thinking!
Clearly, because I was craving so hard for a cookie, I knew that my body was addicted. More than that, I saw it as a sign that my balance of good to bad gut bacteria must have been out of wack.
What it means when you crave sweets?
Back when I was seeing a chiropractor (who was also a nutritionist), he taught me that sometimes the bacteria in our gut get out of balance. He was referring to the ratio of good versus bad bacteria. He told me that if there are too many bad bacteria hanging out in my digestive tract, it can lead to unhealthy cravings for – you guessed it – sweets!
In order to get the bacteria under control, he told me that I had to starve it of it’s food source – sugar, processed foods and yeast.
While I was under his care, I was never recommended to do a complete sugar fast. However, he did recommend a few changes based on my diet at the time: no orange juice or bagels or toast for breakfast. He pretty much taught me to start my morning off without such things.
I probably went at least a year or longer without eating a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast.
Of course, I’d forgotten all about this until the day I started my fast and was going bonkers for something with chocolate.
Remembering what he said, I knew I had to push through and ignore the temptations. I knew that one week wasn’t the end of the world and that it should be long enough to rebalance my gut health. (Though, I was prepared to go longer if I felt the sweet cravings continuing.)
The cravings eventually stopped.
Our bodies are so resilient and capable of fixing themselves that if we just step back from time to time and allow it to do its thing, I think we’d all be healthier for it.
By day four, I was no longer dreaming about eating cookies. It was crazy the amount of control I suddenly felt like I had.
When I was dying for cookies in those first days, I finally experienced what addiction feels like. It was this underlying compulsion, a desperation I’d never felt before. It was like my brain turned into Cookie Monster, into a different being.
Thankfully, I believe I had it easy. It could have been way, way worse. I didn’t experience much in the way of detoxing (sweats, cramping, diarrhea , etc.) because I eat pretty healthy when I’m not stuffing cookies in my mouth. But I have noticed that doing the seven days without sugar seemed to reboot my digestive system. Things are moving a bit smoother than they were, if you know what I mean.
How my husband is doing
My husband didn’t complain as much as I did, if at all. (I honestly was too consumed with my own desire for cookies to notice if he was having withdraws.)
He is still just drinking water or lemonade, but he confessed to drinking a Coke at work last night (for the caffeine to stay awake through a twelve hour night shift). I’ve already scolded him for it, but it didn’t surprise me that he needed it. The first day of working night shift is always the toughest.
Knowing that he really does want to kick his soda habit, I begged him not to have any more. He was able to sleep well into the afternoon and shouldn’t need the caffeine tonight. But, at the end of the day, I can’t make him do anything when it comes to his eating habits. All wives know this.
Will I ever do another one?
Based on how I feel now, I’ll say that participating in another sugar fast sounds doable. If I start sensing that I’m heading toward addiction again, I will absolutely push the reset button and put down my chocolate chip cookies. Our bodies are so resilient and capable of fixing themselves that if we just step back from time to time and allow it to do its thing, I think we’d all be healthier for it.
How about you?
One of my friends joked about me “taking one for the team” when she heard I was cutting out sugar for a week. For the team, I stand proud! I’m happy to have done it and lived to tell you all about it.
But, seriously, who’s next? Do you think you could survive seven days without sweets? Are you willing to give it a try?
Or have you already done something like this before? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Instagram (create a story and tag me @lifesparkwithlauren ).