The Benefits of Going Sugar Free
Here's my challenge:
Go sugar free for 30 days. Eliminate refined sugar from your diet. No breads, flour, potatoes, cookies, candy, cola, etc. Eat only low GI fruits. A huge myth is that if you go low carb, you basically have to become a meataholic. This is so not true. I actually only eat meat probably twice a day. The bulk of my meals are fruits and LOTS of veggies, lean meats,nuts and berries, eggs, cheeses and soy products, and occasionally very low carb/sugar free foods, such as a low carb tortilla, or highly fiberous foods that cancel out the carbohydrates.
Remember...the net carb count is CARBOHYDRATES - THE FIBER. Thats how you find out how many carbs a product has. Another rule of thumb is that typically, if a product is low in carbs-its low in sugar, but it is not always the other way around, so ALWAYS check food labels! I typically don't eat anything that has over 10 grams of carbs in a serving. And I dont eat hardly ANYTHING with processed sugar. I rarely use sugar substitues, unless I am baking, or buy a must use/have product with Splenda in it. For the most part, my diet is "all natural" I guess you could say.
Another important thing to remember and it also makes this lifestyle more appealing, is that when you go low carb and arent consuming sugar, there is no need for low fat. Eat as much butter, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. as you'd like. Your body processes fats at a much faster rate now that you have no sugar in your body. Fat is now its main source of energy and you do not want to deprive your body of that.
How hard will it be to get started? What will my body go through?
In the beginning you will go through some withdrawls. Headaches, fatigue, and very difficult cravings for sugar... This will last anywhere from 2 days to a week. By exercising and drinking lots of water, you can make the process of eliminating the sugar from your body much quicker. DO NOT GIVE UP! Trust me...after the withdrawls are over, you will feel amazing!
INSTANT GRATIFICATION-SOME VERY GOOD NEWS HERE!
After the withdrawls are over and you have successfully rid your body of sugar (yippee!) you will almost immediately begin to notice the benifits to this lifestyle. These benefits will have varying degrees for everyone but most likely you will experience on a very positive level that will keep you very encouraged to continue this lifestyle.
-Your sugar cravings will be drastically reduced. This lifestyle will seem so much more simple when your sweet tooth has been "extracted" haha!
-You will have much less "hunger pains." This is one of my favorite things about being sugar free. I almost never "feel" hungry. When you live on sugar and carbs, your body uses this as your main energy source. When you are running low, your body responds by sending a chemical to your brain that basically acts like the gas light in your car that comes on when your running low on gas. Its telling you..."You need to refuel! I'm running low.. Hurry hurry!" When your body is sugar free, your body's energy source comes from "good sugars" like fruits, proteins, and your fat storages! That is the best part! Your body turns your fat into energy! Yep, its true :) Sounds glorious doesn't it?! The result, is that your body doesn't start freaking out when your hungry. I kid you not, I can go a whole day without "feeling" hungry. I eat because I know I need to, but the urge just isn't there.
-Headaches and fatigue will DRASTICALLY be reduced, and sometimes eliminated. I used to have chronic headaches and migraines. I find, that only RARELY do I ever get a headache anymore, and never once since I have started this lifestyle have I gotten a migraine. This fact alone has been life changing for me. Fatigue was also something I struggled with daily. I used to have so many times during the day that I wanted to take a nap. My engery just seemed to fluctuate so much. This is not so anymore. I still have an internal body clock that causes me to get a little sleepy around 2pm or so, but for the most part, my energy level stays pretty high all day. Without the constant rises and declines in sugar levels in your body, your body is able to cruise at a comfortable level of energy that you will find invigorating!
-Less mood swings and even a clearer, focused, and improved mental state. It might sound like I'm reaching here but this is real. I'm gonna get a little scientific on you. By keeping the sugar levels in your body under control, you are maintaining adequate levels of seratonin, which is a chemical in your brain that affects your moods. Low seratonin levels can cause anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, depression, etc. When your body is low on seratonin it automatically wants to remedy the situation-with sugar. Thats when cravings set in. The problem with using refined sugar as the remedy is that your body uses this energy up very quickly, and then when it's gone..you crash! When you have a firm grip on your blood sugar and your seratonin levels, your body doesn't have these rapid ups and downs caused by sugar, which will result in a more elevated and even keeled mood and improved sense of well being. THIS IS A BENEFIT FOR NOT ONLY YOU BUT FOR EVERYONE AROUND YOU :)
-Rapid weight loss followed by steady weight loss. If you go cold turkey and all together stop eating sugar and carbohydrates, I can almost guarantee you a 10-15 lb weight loss in 2 weeks-without exercise. I said "almost" because yes, this will be different for everyone, but it is super common for this to be the case. Now, you don't want to keep the good sugar from your diet. Fruits and veggies need to be a HUGE part of your diet. After your initial "BIG WEIGHT LOSS" from the good shock that your body has from adjusting to this no sugar lifestyle (by burning up all your sugar and turning on your fat storage as it's new source of engergy) you will then be on a slower steady fat burning process. You may need more exercise at this point, but I am a firm believer in adding exercise into the equation of any "diet" or lifestyle. There are only added benefits by doing so. However, you will keep that steady weight loss going as long as you are sugar free.
-You will actually be a much healthier person. Sugar is so damaging to our bodies. You will be fighting and preventing a slew of diseases, cancers, mental problems, obesity, etc. just by going sugar free. You'll also be consuming much less calories which is an added benefit for your body and your belt size!
-I have noticed a drastic positive change in my skin since going sugar free. There have been studies that have shown that your skin's appearance can improve by going sugar free. I actually did not know this until after I went sugar free, but yes, for me this has been very true. I cannot say whether this will be true for everyone though, but I can almost guarantee you that the opposite will NOT be true.
So, how does my challenge sound? The benefits far outweigh the small and quick satisfaction that you'll have from munching on that donut I promise you- and you won't even crave that donut after a few days! If your one of those people who thinks they could NEVER give up their breads and sodas, and cookies and candy..let me tell you this. You are so wrong. You do NOT love sugar as much as you think you do. Your body is lying to you. Eliminate the sugar-eliminate the craving for it.