I cannot even remember now when I first gave up sugar. It was probably 3 years ago already. I do eat some of it now on holidays and on special occasions but in general I consider myself to be sugar-free. I have written tons about it, a quick summary of why I’ve chosen to stay away from sugar is in this post.
My main goal was to get my blood sugar levels under control so I could run without the fear of having an hypoglycaemic episode (mostly dizziness & cold sweat). They are mild for me but still mean that I either have to stop or sit down for a good 10-15 minutes until they pass. It’s stressful planning for races and thinking that it could happen during a race.
I can say that cutting out most sugar from my life has taken care of that problem 100%.
My other goal, or maybe just a wish, was that less sugar would mean clearer skin. That did not happen but after years of experimenting, I finally found a solution that works for me, for now.
Usually when sugar-free life is promoted, the benefits listed are weight loss (didn’t happen for me), more energy and clear skin. Giving up sugar has given me more energy but also a few other benefits that I wasn’t thinking about at all:
- I no longer want to fall asleep in afternoon meetings.
That is an amazing benefit. 2 hour meetings after lunch used to be the worst, I used to have to pinch myself or dig my fingernails into my hands in order to stay awake (even in meetings that were not mind-numbingly boring :). Stable blood sugar levels mean happy running AND no post-lunch slump.
- I feel lighter and more powerful when exercising.
Sugar slows down my engine so much – it makes me feel slow and sluggish. I do not enjoy that feeling at all.
- I do not get colds.
Seriously. I haven’t had a serious cold since I quit sugar. A runny nose or a sore-ish throat once in a while but that’s where it ends. I’ve read that sugar messes with your immune system, I don’t know the exact science behind it but somehow I do not get sick when I don’t eat sugar.
- I no longer get cold sores.
Amazing! I used to get cold sores almost non stop in the winter but haven’t had one for a couple of years. I guess that’s also to do with the immune system.
- I have no cravings.
My mind is free – I don’t think about eating cake, I don’t try to justify having just a little bit of cake, I’m just free from the Control of the Cake 🙂 (and if I want to have a slice for a birthday, I will, but then I go straight back to my old ways the next day and thoughts about cake are history)
I always had a sweet tooth and I think I always will but I’ve found so many other sweet treats to have that do not involve sugar* that I do not ever think that I’m missing out on something. Going sugarless for most of the year has done so many good things for my body and mind that I will not ever contemplate giving up this lifestyle.
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are – are you sugar-free, are you trying to be sugar-free, are you finding it tough?
* My definition of ‘sugar’ is refined sugar – I eat dried fruit, dates, stevia, xylitol and sometimes honey and maple syrup.