With the first week of the “I Quit Sugar 8 week Programme” (IQSP) in the bag, I find myself happily eating a muffin for breakfast – yes, I said a muffin! …
As I consider telling you about the experience so far, I feel like an excited child… the one who’s always eagerly tugging at your shirt, wanting to tell you something but unable to get the words out quick enough!
Throughout the week I have been “mind-dumping” for 10 minutes a day, randomly writing down whatever comes into my head. Yes, some of it is pure nonsense and I’m okay with that, particularly as I know I can filter it for this blog and trust me… you really do NOT need to see the how my mind works!
Anyway, I’ve found it a great exercise, writing completely uncensored, with no edits or changes, simply capturing my thoughts, feelings and responses to things that maybe I wouldn’t say out loud or want to share – the “good, bad and the ugly!” I’ve done this not only when I’ve felt okay – great even – but also when it’s not been great, I’m upset or struggling, so I can give things real perspective – I found this freed up my head space too and re-reading it has been highly amusing and for certain, much has given me food for thought, with other areas dismissed as just that, a passing thought, no more, no less.
If I were asked to provide a classification for this blog right now, I’d recommend ‘Read-with-Caution’ because some of it “just ain’t pretty” although you could be lead to believe that this has been influenced by my emotions… which range between “low” or “volatile”, accelerated by gasoline AKA sugar withdrawals and fluctuating moods. But hey, I knew that I’d have to come apart to be put back together again – so it was never going to be pretty and yes, I know it does get better! I just hold onto the fact that I had my muffins for breakfast…
From the start of the week, I’ve thought the Program scheduled too much – imagine cooking up a new recipe every day, that’s unfamiliar and that you don’t necessarily have all the ingredients for and whilst cooking your washing-up pile has its own grid reference, its summit in the clouds! Also, I felt like I had to – I suppose the best word to describe it is – “conform”. Part of me just wanted to “fit in with the crowd”, be liked even, we all want that sense of belonging right… but I also wanted to be me. I wanted to bring my individuality into Program. I know, I know… trying to run before I could walk!
Nevertheless, I also knew that things had to change and that I had decisions to make about my lifestyle and routine. Maybe in truth that’s what was really bothering me?
So yeah, I was overwhelmed before I even started – what a “numpty!”
My initial enthusiasm and curiosity was stomped all over by “unease” wearing a pair of hob nailed boots, taunting me… not with a carrot but a bar of chocolate! I found my moods fluctuated significantly over the first few days as I cut out fruit and refined sugar, which the Program did NOT require until week two – see, that’s me running before I can walk again! My “turkey” was most definitely cold, almost frozen, even worse… as I chose not to have cranberry sauce! So, consequently, I bounced back and forth between excitement and gloom, enthusiasm and indifference….
This was exhausting to say the least, both mentally and physically with my energy levels fluctuating significantly; I would be bouncing of walls, rushing around unnecessarily, then I would be simply hitting “the wall”, exhausted. Almost, and I hate to say it, “manic” in nature, or as my hubby said one night “on speed”.
The peak of my sugar withdrawals – because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what’s going on here right – resulted in two nights with very little sleep and when I did start to sleep again, I continued to feel thirsty and had sporadic headaches for a few days.
That’s when I stopped frantically pedalling and started to “freewheel” down what felt like a mountain slope – and no, not the washing up pile! That was actually getting smaller with better organisation!
I also unzipped my “numpty suit” to reveal a superwoman logo – okay, okay a little bit worn but nonetheless there. I had to decide upon my “super powers” how I wanted to do this Program. I chose to act in a different way in every sense of the word. I accepted that my thoughts may come and go and that the feelings they caused were normal responses – yes, even for me – so, I simply “mind dumped” or “let go” by using familiar techniques and the Smiling Mind App. I then chose a direction, visualised it, made a decision and took action – totally see superwoman here. I also decided I needed to balance what I was achieving against making connections with others – although “just look at all this yummy deliciousness I’ve produced!”
I didn’t have to look far! The support, encouragement and fun provided by the IQSP Forum and the “Food Family” on Instagram has been awesome. These guys are not only passionate about food; they’re grounded, very real and true artists in every sense of the word! They also embrace and promote individuality – which was a massive tick in the box for me! I totally connected and “to boot” felt a sense of belonging.
Oh and that freewheeling I mention earlier well that was infectious! I quit calorie counting – what a sense of freedom that gave me! – I just let go and put my trust in the Program.
Momentum built up, as I’ve hidden the scales, deciding no more weigh-ins until week four and eight. Anyway I’ve found that you don’t need to weigh yourself – you can actually see and feel the difference! Yeah, yeah I know… it’s only week one, let’s wait and see if I have to eat my words – that’s if I have any room, I’m so FULL all the time!
So there will be a “before & after” photo, then as we say, you as “the jury” can decide? …
I also continued to freewheel as I reduced my search for sugary foods – foraging is time consuming you know?! My mind-set changed too, I reduced the importance of hitting goals on my Fitbit – although the steps still mounted up the pressure to achieve them went. I felt less repressed, unrestrained even, and definitely freer!
So right now, I’m doing my “Happy Dance” – Mumble style. It’s still a little bit “eat, sleep, cook… repeat!”- but some familiarity with better organisation, balancing achievements with connection, just having fun and letting go of some things, has made it so worthwhile… roll-on the next 7 weeks! After all, it’s all about breaking old habits and I’m already beginning to feel better – after feeling so totally crap!
My relationship with food, not just sugar, is changing dramatically and the journey is only just beginning hence the reason I feel like that excited child, that’s tugging at your shirt!