A Change: The Results

By Erin King

Well, we’re still alive. If you missed my post last week, I’ll fill you in. My husband, Michael, and I decided to challenge ourselves to cut out all sugar and natural sweeteners for a week. Why? Because we’re addicts. Sugar can wreak havoc on your body and weaken your immune system. It’s in everything. We’re good at avoiding refined sugar for the most part, but we relied too heavily on natural sweeteners to get us through the day. I kept a journal of my personal progress throughout the week, and I will tell you now, we made it! No cheating, whatsoever!

Day 1: I ate fruit after or with every meal. Michael and I both craved iced coffee in the afternoon; we got some and only put cream in it. My cravings for something sweet were strongest after dinner.  For a late-night snack we had a gluten/sugar-free waffle topped with no-sugar peanut butter and sliced strawberries, and it was satisfying.
Day 2: I’m “starving,” even after a meal (As a nursing mom that’s not so unusual, but this was intense.). Snacking on carrots…dreaming of how to make a smoothie that tastes like ice cream.
Day 3: Still super hungry. Made decaf iced coffee with cream again to curb “sweet” craving. I was treated to a massage gift certificate from my mom, and after the massage there were caramels in a bowl at the front desk…It was so hard not to take one on my way out. Had my iced coffee again. Uh oh…late night craving again. I indulged in five pieces of watermelon and a handful of cherries. It was like heaven.
Day 4: Had blackberries and no-sugar added juice with my breakfast. That did the trick for a while. Had a La Croix sparkling water with lunch. I grilled peaches with our dinner and they were awesome. The grilling really brings out the natural sweetness. Can’t believe I’ve made it this far…I can’t cheat now!
Day 5: More iced coffee for me. It’s getting to be a treat even without honey in it. Today is our anniversary, so it’s really hard not to celebrate with some dessert. During our date at a sushi restaurant, I had the most amazing coconut cream iced white tea–no cream or sugar in it, but the “creaminess” and sweetness of the coconut was amazing. We got lattes at a coffee shop for “dessert.” Even without any sweeteners in it, the foam tasted sweet to me. Hooray! I still can’t believe we didn’t cheat on our date.
Day 6: The birthday party. We went to a one-year-old’s birthday party with an amazing display of cupcakes and other treats. It was tempting because they looked so wonderful, but knowing we just weren’t allowed helped me enjoy the party without envying everyone else. We went home and ate several slices of watermelon!
Day 7: Last day! We met some friends at Starbucks and had iced coffee with them. It’s definitely a “sweet” treat now with only cream in it. I hope I’ll continue to drink it that way.

Thoughts from Michael:
“I feel good about making it through the week, but I was really hoping to get to the point where I don’t crave sugar at all, or even where the thought of having cake or pie doesn’t even sound appealing.  As it is, I could still go for a scoop of gelato.  Sweets still sound delightful to me.  Maybe I should try this sugar-free experiment a little longer.  It definitely will be nice to reintroduce natural sugars into my diet because it opens up the possibilities of what I’m able to eat.  I’m looking forward to maple syrup with my waffles again!”

At the end of day 7 we weighed in…I lost 6 pounds, and Michael lost 11 pounds!!! Yes, I’m serious. We didn’t embark on this challenge with weight loss as a goal, but it’s definitely a plus. We never felt any shakiness, headaches, or intense withdrawal symptoms, thankfully. I think I’ll walk away from this knowing that it’s certainly possible to live without sugar, especially refined sugar. I now find fruit to be much more sweet and I know that it can serve as a “dessert.” I can drink my coffee without even honey in it, and I can really go longer without a “treat” than I thought. We do plan to have a goodie baked with honey in it tomorrow and I’m really excited, but we’re going to continue avoiding all sugar, even pure cane sugar, for an indeterminate amount of time. I have to say, the sense of accomplishment I feel is as rewarding as losing those 6 pounds!

What do you think now? Are you up for the challenge?