What’s your reaction when you are given a Sugar Free Challenge? Well, for me, I could see all the delicious sugary desserts and beverages in front of me and pondered how will I stay away from them. A sugar-free challenge for sugar lovers isn’t an easy thing. But, what if we take it as a challenge to test ourselves, to test our willpower. Till when can we hold back! That’s exactly what I did when people at my workplace came up with the challenge.
Being a qualified nutritionist, the important aspects that are top of the mind for me is food, fitness, nutrition, and everything that is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. I have always liked to challenge myself as it gives me an insight into how strong my willpower is and my potential to handle tough situations. So, I just could not resist taking up the challenge more so given the fact that I love sweets – chocolates/pastries and everything else that is sweet. In a way, I was a ‘Sugar Addict’. The sugar challenge meant complete abstinence from refined sugar and food items that are either made of sugar or contained sugar like chocolates/sweets/bakery items. Why bakery items? Because even bread/toast/buns do contain SUGAR in good quantities.
Sugar is an addiction and termed as a slow poison which makes you sluggish and gets stored as fat! I thought to myself it can’t get any better than this. This challenge could only keep me away from sweets especially chocolates. Some of my colleagues also joined me in this challenge. I guess when you know you have company to take up such a challenge it becomes a fun activity and you do not tend to perceive it as a challenge anymore. Also, you are motivated to push yourself daily to keep up the challenge.
The next biggest decision was, how many days would the challenge go on? And we decided on 7 days as 1 day is pretty too less to test ourselves. But….7 Days?? Ohkk I had to do it and not give up.
The Starting Days Were Easy, But…..
With all enthusiasm, we started with the challenge. First 3 days were easy as still, the excitement was at its peak. However, on the 4th day, it was a friend’s birthday & it was a matter of emotions, etc and all the efforts went down the drain. as I ended up having a piece of cake. The very next moment I felt extremely guilty about breaking the challenge. So there I was kind of failing the challenge. Just then I thought, I had fallen once, I got to get up and try again.
Let’s Do It
Then, I thought there is always a next time and this time I was very sure that I am gonna follow the challenge diligently for all 7 days. I gave the challenge another shot and this time around more strictly. So, what did I do to keep up the challenge and not cheat?
First, I stopped taking sugar in my teas. Secondly, as and when I used to get a sugar craving I used to opt for healthy alternatives like dates/dried figs/fruits/chikki (as these sweets have jaggery in them which is a healthy alternative to refined sugar). My busy routine helped me not to think about cravings and a sound mind is very important to resist the cravings.
Jaggery is not counted as sugar. It is comparatively healthier than sugar due to its trace mineral composition. Ideally, sugar is acidic in nature where generally pathogen breeds. When I took this challenge, my constant effort was to make my body alkaline by having more of veggies/fruits/whole grain etc. Sugar makes you crave for more sugar and if you restrict it, it leads to mood swings and behavioral changes. Also, it makes your body dehydrated and fastens the aging process.
My Sugar Substitutes
So since I am a big sugar addict, I had to get something sweet to keep me going. And how did I do that? I ate fruits, dates, raisins, anjeer, small amount of jaggery, honey, sweet potato. You can make dates barfi out of dates and other dry fruits. Anjeer barfi can also be made the same way. Stevia can be used as a substitute during these 7 days. But, remember the added benefit of a no sugar day is that we tend to avoid sugary desserts which are also rich in fat and simple carbs. So no sugar is a way to having a healthier diet too.
The No Sugar Benefits
I found sweet substitutes as I said earlier, or set small milestones during the challenge to reach my goal. The benefits of staying off sugar made me feel lighter, increased my metabolic rate, made me more active and helped me in getting rid of the toxins. Imagining a better me kept me motivated. And Woaah! I was able to successfully complete my 7 Days Sugar-Free Challenge.
It was a big accomplishment for me as never in my life, had I imagined that I would be able to stay away from chocolates for so long! This challenge has motivated me to the next level of consuming less or no sugar at all in the future. I did realize sugar is no less than an addiction and withdrawing it is difficult. The only thing that helps you here is a strong will power and smartly fooling your body with substitutes. Believe me, post this my sugar cravings have reduced and felt way Happier. 🙂