A month ago I set a goal for myself: no sweets nor alcohol for 30 days. In this post I'm primarily going to discuss the sweets part. I'll address the alcohol part in another post.
How did I do? I did excellent sticking to my goal. (That doesn't mean I felt excellent just that I stuck to my goal well.) I did quit the alcohol part on day 25 for Superbowl weekend. But I didn't have any sweets, not even a bite of birthday cake, for the entire 30 days.
Best side effect? The whole family is eating better. I have been buying a bunch of fruit to take care of sweet cravings and the whole family has been loving it. We've discovered that our 3 year old will eat all of his dinner, including spinach salad and broccoli, just to get an apple or some grapes!
Did you feel different? Not really. I was really hoping that I'd feel different, i.e. better, if I ate less sweets. Other than craving sweets every day, for the most part I felt the same. With one exception – on day 3 I felt miserable. My whole body ached. I have no idea if that was from giving up sweets or alcohol or if I had a one day flu. Thank goodness it was over in a day.
Did you ever get over craving sweets? Not really, I had one day where I did not crave sweets – day 12. It lasted only a day. And the last week was better – I didn't crave sweets, I just really wanted some. It makes me think I'm still addicted and perhaps I should continue with the no sweets for a while longer.
How did you cope with the cravings? I ate a ton of fruit for the first 5 days. After that I just ignored them. (Or complained about them on identica, twitter and Facebook. 🙂 I also drank a lot of carbonated water.
Were you hungry? I was very hungry the first 5 days and then again on days 21 and 22. Unusually hungry. Other than that, I think I was less hungry than normal.
I was surprised to discover that it is possible to not be hungry between meals. I always thought people were really hungry between meals but just holding out for the next meal time. It was a new thing for me to be able to go from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner without snacking. I don't think I've done that in several years.
Did your energy levels change? My initial response would be no. But I think my running suffered a bit. And at bedtime I was more than ready for bed. Nothing I can prove though.
Did you lose a lot of weight? I lost 4 pounds. As I wasn't doing it to lose weight, I ate whenever I was hungry. The problem (or advantage) is that most of the snacks I enjoy are sweet, so often nothing appealed to me. I think I ate a lot more at meal times but snacked less.
Did you exercise? I did my normal exercise which is running 1-3 miles a day.
What qualifies as a sweet? Candy bars, cookies, anything with chocolate in it, cookies, flavored yoghurt, chocolate chips, pudding, … I interchanged saying I gave up sweets and saying I gave up chocolate. To me a sweet isn't worth eating if it doesn't have chocolate in it. Except maybe marzipan. And even marzipan is better with chocolate.
Did you give up bread, rice or pasta? No, I did not give up bread, rice or pasta. I did not have any of the yummy cinnamon bread we had though. I thought the added sugar on top turned it into a sweet. And I didn't make any banana bread during this time as I consider it a sweet too.
How many sweets do you normally eat? I estimate about 600 calories a day. But I never really counted.
How come you don't talk about the alcohol? I didn't crave wine or beer. I craved sweets. I only really missed alcohol when I was having food I thought would be better with a drink, like beer with pizza or red wine with pasta. And even that went away after a while. The second time I had a pub hamburger without a beer, I decided maybe it was ok that way. I do have some insights about the alcohol though that I'll share in another post.
What's next? I think I'm going to continue to try to eat less sweets. Maybe not no sweets, just less sweets. I don't know what that looks like yet. And I will start drinking wine again with my pasta.
What was the hardest moment? I'm not sure if it was not eating sweets while sitting at home by myself or if it was the cooler full of ice cream bars that they wheeled into a conference room and left right next to me … on day 30. I couldn't think of any way to take an ice cream bar to keep in my room until day 31!
What have been your experiences giving up sweets?
6 Replies to “I survived 30 days without sweets”
I think you’ll find that, given enough time re-adjusting what your body is used to, you don’t necessarily feel better – But if you do delve into something sweet, you’ll feel absolutely terrible. I think this is a healthy reaction. I’ve been very low-sugar for years, and at the moment drinking a small soft drink makes me feel dizzy due to the blood-sugar change.
Keep it up!
Red wine and chocolate ‘are cancer killers’
I didn’t have much trouble quitting (most) sweets. These days I actually feel sick eating so much as a small bag of M&Ms, which I do in cases where I don’t have much else handy (like getting hungry in a lobby with nothing but a candy vending machine), and I can’t stomach most soda at all.
A little-known fact is that the parts of your tongue that taste sugar are the same parts that taste calcium. Much of the time you’re having a “sweet tooth” your body is actually trying to tell you to get a little calcium. You’ll probably find that a small glass of milk (or soy milk) will satisfy a sweet craving.
“I was really hoping that I’d feel different, i.e. better, if I ate less sweets.”
Why should one feel better without or less sweets?! I don’t see any reason in that. I eat approx. one big plate of chocolate per day and don’t feel that it is not good for me in any way.
“I was surprised to discover that it is possible to not be hungry between meals. I always thought people were really hungry between meals but just holding out for the next meal time. It was a new thing for me to be able to go from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner without snacking.”
Not necessarily a good thing, though. Humans are supposed to “snack”; or at least, eat little and often. “Meal times” are a relatively recent invention to which our bodies haven’t really evolved to adapt, as yet.
When I quit eating sweets three years ago it wasn’t that hard. It lasted for over two years. Not that I didn’t eat any sweets in that time, but I didn’t need to. I could easily say no to anything. Then the cravings returned…
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