Time for a challenge update! After my first week of limiting my sugar to 25 grams or fewer per day, I now feel kind of guilty that I’ve been putting off doing a sugar-free challenge for a few months. This first week, at least, was really not that bad at all! I might actually go so far as to say that it’s been the easiest first week of any of my challenges this year.
I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to log all my food, and then I’ve been checking out the nutrients tab in order to see how much sugar I’ve been eating. So far, I haven’t really been consulting the stats before I eat – I’ve basically just been avoiding all sugary junk food (including the beloved protein bars I was worried last about giving up), and I generally already know what healthy foods contain a lot of sugar (fruit, corn, carrots) so I can be sure to eat those in moderation. I haven’t gone over my self-imposed 25 grams of sugar limit per day yet this week, and I haven’t so much as taken a nibble of anything particularly sweet (veggies excluded).
Furthermore, I’ve discovered that three hard boiled eggs is actually a pretty excellent low-sugar breakfast. Last week, I worried that three eggs wouldn’t keep me full, and I was excited about getting home Thursday night so I could make breakfast on Friday. But on Friday morning, I found myself craving eggs – but I was out of eggs so couldn’t make them! Plain hardboiled eggs are a surprisingly filling breakfast; when I eat three in the morning (not sliced, just biting into them like an apple), my stomach doesn’t growl at all before lunchtime, even though a similar-caloried protein bar can sometimes make me crave an early lunch. I also came across some encouraging articles on why eggs are the perfect food and healthy reasons to eat more eggs, so I think I’m going to stick with this new routine.
The main reason I started this anti-sugar challenge, though, was to try to get rid of my afternoon cravings for sweets. I intentionally keep my desk drawer stocked with protein bars, pure chocolate bars that can be broken into small square servings, and even a brand of protein cookies that I’ll eat when I’m really dying for dessert. But last week, just knowing that it was absolutely off-limits to have any of them helped my willpower – namely because I don’t have to use any willpower at all. It’s a lot easier to not have sweets when there’s no decision involved – it’s just a simple, “nope, I can’t” and then my brain moves onto the next thing. That’s one way to prevent decision fatigue – don’t give myself a decision!
Today was the first day I really found myself craving sweets, and I’d guess that’s because I went to a sushi place for lunch and had some sweet-tasting seaweed salad. Sugar begets more sugar! I had a cup of lemon/orange tea to quell the craving, and while I wasn’t expecting much, it worked surprisingly well. Everything I’ve read says that sugar is highly addictive, and I think cutting back almost completely has helped me to (mostly) painlessly eliminate my afternoon sweet tooth. Now, I just need to stock the office fridge with string cheese as a snack substitute for days like today…