*This post was written by a Start Healthy contributor.
Here’s what went down when our Marketing Coordinator, Andrea Tremper, tried going sugar-free for a week. No sugar, no problem?
Let’s…do this. Day 1 was made up of an overall normal schedule for me. I was ready to kick off the week in a major way with breakfast I made at home the night before, and in typical Andrea fashion – I forgot it. But, I was able to run to the store after the gym and grab some last minute ingredients to whip up an albeit ugly, but yummy breakfast at work!
I really wanted to try to be as normal as possible this week. Meaning, I didn’t want to meal prep every single meal because it’s not realistic for me to do that. So, lunch was a little difficult when I couldn’t find pretzels, but I ended up housing my hummus anyway so it all worked out.
DAY 2: Otherwise known as ‘I can’t do today’
As you’ll see in the video above, I stooped to a new low today when I hit the cravings wall HARD. I had gone into this thinking that day 3 or 4 was going to be the worst but, let me tell you – LIES. I was so incredibly lethargic this entire day. I just felt overall sluggish; from moving to thinking. All I wanted to do was chug a Monster and get some work done. I made it through relatively successfully, except for my co-workers having to listen to me whine.
Side note: You’ll notice a Christmas tree in the background and, yes, you are correct – it is the middle of January. Our company is very festive.
DAY 3: Otherwise known as, ‘I can SO do today’
Talk about a comeback! After yesterday, I went home and was in bed by 8 PM [not joking], then I woke up early to go to the gym and had never felt so energized. It was actually quite crazy. I decided to go out to lunch today and realized that being sugar-free is hard work. Like, ‘a million tabs open on your browser to research’ crazy. But, I ended up finding something at True Food Kitchen that was exactly what I was craving.
Day 4 was nothing special, if I’m being honest. I guess it was kind of the easiest day* because I had gotten more used to the routine. I still had increased energy and was feeling less bloated, which was a huge plus for me.
*Except for the brutal moment when a co-worker brought in the Most Stuffed Oreos for the office. Cue tears.
I made it! Although I look like a train wreck in the video, I was honestly feeling pretty great. I had noticed my skin had improved, I had more energy [most notably at the end of the days], and I just felt…good.
So, my main takeaway from this week: sugar-free does NOT mean healthy. I mean, think about it: [most] pasta doesn’t have sugar, and a surprising amount of dairy products don’t have added sugar. So, while this diet is still a significant improvement from the amount of added sugar I was consuming, there were still carbs to be had. And don’t worry, I had them.
The main difference I saw from start to finish was the difference in how I felt. I had lost about 5 pounds in water weight/bloat and was a lot more energized by days 3 and 4. Headaches are not unusual for me and I hadn’t had one all week.
The toughest part about the whole week was how time consuming it was. From grocery shopping, to eating out – it took a lot of time to look at all the individual ingredients that food is make with to see find all the hidden added sugars. Plus the time it took to then Google said hidden sugars to see what they actually are. It’s scary how many different names there are for sugar, so do your research!