I’m doing ‘no sugar November” , a friend said as I visited her earlier this week. Apparently, for the fact that December is likely to become a sugar-fest for most, cutting it out in the month of November is a smart move. It will allow your body to have a break and get all that processed (but tasty) nonsense out of the body. I wrote about the foods that affect your mental health, including sugar earlier last year (post here), so I’m well aware of its impact on the body and mind.
After clearing a bottle of vino, eating all the gluten-y cake I could find and consuming coffee in order to prop me back up after all the sluggishness, I reflected on the whole situation. My skin had been going crazy for a while, I felt tired in spite of getting at least 8 hours sleep per night and as for my bank balance? Well, we won’t discuss that.
Considering the cost of hot water and lemon versus a cappuccino and the sustenance of a toblerone versus a banana, I said I’d take a few days rest from that which I felt was affecting me so greatly. No caffeine meant closing my eyes through most of Dublin city centre which is so overtaken by coffee shops and suffering the perceived tiredness on the way to work. Preparing all my lunches in advance so there was no temptation to cheat with snacks has gotten to the point where my fridge is a lunchbox factory and well, my withdrawals feel like I’m coming off some heavy drug which is the main reason why I continue to be good for at least two more days.
So, what’s the point? They say life is short and you should do what makes you happy. Moreover, those people that tend to live well into old age seem to enjoy some niceties for themselves pretty often and in fact, vouch for this fact in those awkward online interviews. Treats are great but actually, there are many reasons for making small changes to your diet and lifestyle.
For me the main one is to remind myself that I can do it. There is no need to depend on any specific foods, substances or stimulants. In fact, I read recently that the impact sugar can have on your mind has been seen to be as addictive (if not more) than cocaine. This is a scary thought to think and enough to keep the end in mind.
Developing better health in general means taking a long hard look at diet. If we consume junk then we’re going to feel like junk. It’s undeniable that sugar and sweets affect our outsides as I’m sure we are aware of the impact on our skin when we’ve been eating lots of rubbish food. Of course, it has a huge impact on our insides. As we can’t always get a good look inside, it’s best to presume that we feed it the best we can anyway.
Feeling like some new healthy habits? Whether it’s short-term or otherwise, here’s what’s worked for me.
*Keeping a diary. I’ve got a habit diary so when I am working on making a change, I write in it. Currently I’m working on two separate goals – cutting down on sugar and caffeine. Each day, I write my goals down and before I go to bed, I jot down what I’ve done well and what I’d like to improve on. This keeps the end in mind and reminds myself why I’m doing it.
*Getting prepared when it comes to food is the key to staying on track. In my case, avoiding sugar means I’m extra hungry. When I’d usually snack on chocolate, I need to have some other satisfying snacks nearby. Moreover, packing decent and healthy lunches means I fill myself up for my three meals and can work through those cravings. Know your plan and you’ve got a higher chance of success.
*Celebrate your good habits! I’ve made a deal with myself, that if I go without sugar and caffeine until Wednesday then I can have a decaf coffee or a Chai latte. It’s super motivating for me personally to have that kind of reward in place. Be sure to put something in place that will entice you. For some, it’s the pleasure of saying you’ve achieved it which is fantastic. For others (like me), it’s nice to know a treat is waiting at the other end.
Keep posted on my social media and blog for updates of healthy habits over the coming weeks.