And here we are – day 14, the last day, the final instalment. After the first week dragged by (or maybe it was just my heels dragging), this past seven days have seemed surprisingly manageable. Maybe it was the sugar withdrawal that made week one so hard; or I’d figured the plan out and meals required less thought in the second half, but I can hardly believe the two weeks is almost over. I’ve yet to weigh myself – I’ll do that in the morning for consistency with my starting weigh in – or take my measurements, but my clothes tell me there’s more room than before and it’s nice to pull clothes out from the bottom of drawers that had slowly slunk into uncomfortable territory. Mr T too is feeling the benefits and has lost at least 4kg over the plan; he’s even enjoyed the low-carb lifestyle so much that he’s going to continue. Likewise it’s nice to see him wearing shirts he’d stopped wearing and his whole shape seems to have changed, whilst his addiction to coke zero has disappeared. Before we started he could easily have drunk a 2ltr bottle a day, so the switch to water has been a real shift for him.
Looking back at my first posts, my goals were to change my tastes and to balance my sugar intake. If I’m honest I don’t know if my tastes have changed so much as I’m no longer craving sugar in the same way. Although I’m still thinking about chocolate, pizza, chips, doritos, it’s on a much less painful scale and it’s almost at take it or leave it level. Much as I thought I’d be if not celebrating a little bit tomorrow, submerging myself headfirst into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and not coming up for air til I hit tub bottom, I don’t know if I want to. The thought of all those forbidden foods, treats and the comfort that comes with them appeals less than it did before. Those bowls of crisps at the prosecco club the other night were just there and that was ok, I didn’t leave any puddles of drool on the sofa and it didn’t bother me when others munched away. Neither did I feel smug or like I was being denied. I do worry that if I have something off plan – either sugar or bread or some other delight – I’ll fall off the wagon and develop cravings leading me into a downward spiral ending up like Homer Simpson wedged into an armchair, stains on my t-shirt and undoing all the good work I’ve done over the past two weeks.
One thing the plan doesn’t really talk about is life after Fatburn; luckily Alex who created the plan also takes classes at my gym, so I’m going to hit bodybalance tomorrow and have an awkward encounter where I introduce myself and pick her brains about how to incorporate natural sugars and some slow release carbs into my diet, plus enjoy some treats, without falling back into old habits. Reading this last paragraph I realise I now understand why they say sugar is more addictive than cocaine – I sound like I’m being released into society and fear a relapse. Something tells me it’ll take longer to judge whether balancing my sugar intake has been achieved. The way I feel right now I’m going to carry on with the plan for a while, give or take the *ahem* already organised trip to Pizza Express this week and maybe a little treat here and there, but on less of a daily basis. We have a trip to Dublin planned for 2 weeks time and I’m enjoying how I feel in my body, so I’d like to take that feeling with me. Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t think I’m Beyonce – I just feel like a good version of me at the minute. This does not mean I won’t be indulging when we go away…or on the way there…and the way home.
As always we have planned most of our 24 hours away around meals and already have a fair idea of what we’d like to eat and cocktails we intend to enjoy during our precious child-free hours. Part of me wonders if I feel this way now, how will I feel if I do another 2 weeks? This coming from the woman who pretty much said life without sugar wasn’t worth it in terms of quality of life – who knows how I’ll feel in another week, but what’s to lose? Maybe an extra few pounds, an appetite for sugar that knows no bounds? I’ve read (or maybe just heard) it takes 21 days to break a habit; a quick google search leads me into a goldmine of articles on the subject and I home in on a more depressing 66 days. The conclusion? Habits are hard to break – that’s kinda the point. An article by Oliver Burkeman for The Guardian tells me, “If you eat badly, you might resolve to start eating well, but if you’re eating burgers and ice-cream to feel comforted, relaxed and happy, trying to replace them with broccoli and carrot juice is like dealing with a leaky bathroom tap by repainting the kitchen. What’s required isn’t a better diet, but an alternative way to feel comforted and relaxed.”
So this whole time it wasn’t my diet that needed to change, but me. My reliance on treats to meet my emotional needs (jeepers that sounds deep) has to change to a healthier behaviour, not just healthier food. This sounds overwhelming, so maybe that’s why the 14 day plan appealed – an achievable target, a time-bound challenge of self-denial. It’s definitely given me a lot to think about, which can’t be a bad thing. So here I go, off into the sugar-free sunset, with more questions than answers, but knowing that even if I’m thinking about my health and my body with more consideration than before, that’s got to be a good result.
In other news, me and the little Ts made these yummy (I’m imagining here and going on nom nom noises they made) pizza whirls for lunch this afternoon – recipe courtesy of Taming Twins. No 1 son loved making the dough, although was less impressed by the notion of proving – he gets his patience from his mother – and it made 12 good sized whirls, so what was left has been safely stashed in the freezer for an emergency dinner – hurrah!