I'm not going to get on a full retrospective because, hello, I already have written about my experiences at length. However, with Sarah's book "I Quit Sugar for life" coming out at the UK, I thought, you know what? Why not write another post? Because even with my very late retrospective, there is a question that is left unanswered:
What happens when the diet is over?
Do you just keep on going? Do you think: Hmm, well this has worked, this hasn't, let me just go 50-50 and see how I feel in a month? Or do you drop all pretense, help yourself to a large slice of cake, and go "Mmmm, that's better!"
I don't know if I've written about this before, but it seems like we, as a culture, tend to view diets as quick fixes rather than a transition into a long-term lifestyle change. (Well, of course! And beauty is supposed to be effortless, and we women just roll out of bed with perfect hair and make-up, and washboard abs are just something you get from sitting near the gym.) We associate goodness with beauty, but the second someone admits that beauty is not effortless, things get ugly.
So how has quitting sugar been for me?
Despite my moaning and groaning that it was incompatible with my lifestyle, I never fully returned back to how I was before I tried to quit. Oddly enough, I drink a lot of Diet Coke when I'm out with my friends (I know, it's just as bad as the real thing, but I find the taste a lot more agreeable,) but I don't often succumb to the temptation when I'm on my own.
That last bit is the most important. There have been a lot of hard things about quitting sugar: finding alternatives to emotional eating, finding the energy to cook, trying to decide what's the best thing to have when eating out while being bombarded with all sorts of information (milk is good for you! milk is bad for you! all of the carbs! except for that one! and that one! and that one!) But the absolute worst is having to do it on your own.
And it's not simply about not having cinnamon rolls. It's about not having cinnamon rolls with your family. It's about going to the pub with your mates and not knowing what to order. It's about your roommates constantly leaving out biscuits and cakes to share and you having to walk past them every time you go to make a cup of tea.
I gave up after a while.
But I want to try again.
Which I think is the best way to sum up my experience, even one year after it's done. It's difficult and full of ups and downs, it requires me to put in effort I would not have put in otherwise, and it makes me want to do it again, and again, and again (this is actually the third time I've employed Sarah's techniques to decrease my sugar intake.) I don't know if I'll soon reach a point where I'm completely sugar-free, but hell... it's worth a shot.
Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar for Life" comes out in paperback today.
Note: Image via Amazon.