I wasn’t planning on doing a mid-week post, but I’ve just watched the Great British Bake Off and I wanted to say that quitting sugar is hard and I’m really struggling. I’m not up and down like I am when I’m eating sugar, but I feel flat, completely empty and even mildly depressed. This, apparently, is what sugar-withdrawal feels like.
I didn’t think I would find it this difficult. Before I started this thing, my daily diet didn’t regularly include what I would have classed as “sugary food”. But with the unwelcome revelation of how many foods I normally eat contain sugar, my choices feel really limited right now and I have a sense of being trapped.
Logically, I know there’s a plethora of whole, natural foods now open to me, but it’s not easy to remember that when all I want is to drink balsamic vinegar straight from the goddam bottle. A middle-class craving if ever I heard one, but real nonetheless. I want it so much, I could bathe in it, just to soak it in through my pores.
No sugar means no emotional crutch. No happy, if fleeting, distraction from any kind of sadness. There’s no longer such a thing as commiserating (or celebrating) with chocolate or ice cream. There’s just me and my feelings and it is utterly overwhelming.
When things get tough, I tend to stay in and hunker down. I tell myself I want the snacks I’ve bought, but then end up forcing myself to eat to stuff down my feelings. Last Saturday night, I was bottomless-brunching with close mates. I didn’t know how to do no-sugar whilst out, and I cheated with both bubbles and dessert. By about 8pm, my default hermit setting switched on (I think as a result of the cheating) and I needed to be at home. I asked myself if this was because I was experiencing a sugar crash with complimentary headache, which only got me more annoyed at the fact that I hadn’t tried harder to avoid it. Only this time, when I did get back to my sofa, I had no snacks to keep me company. Nor did I have a carbo-loaded breakfast to buoy me up the following morning. The sense of listlessness was one I don’t remember having felt before because I’d always had a quick-fix to immediately stop it.
However, giving up now would be both the easiest and the hardest thing for me to do. In fact, it doesn’t feel like an option anymore because all of a sudden, quitting sugar is about more than a quirky experiment for me to see how it affects my transient emotions and my waistline, it’s a form of self-healing that feels incredibly necessary.
I’ve moved on from thinking, how am I ever going to live without cake, to wondering, how am I going to do life without a spoonful of sugar to help it go down?
Two and a half weeks in, and I haven’t a clue what the answer is. I’m batting off questions left,right and centre without a semblance of a solution, but I know, for what feels like the first time in forever, that the answers don’t lie with sugar.