Lent began on Wednesday (01.03.2017) and all though I am not a very religious person I still like to give something up. Normally I give up chocolate as a bit of a detox for Lent however this year I have decided to go a step further and cut back on sugar. If you have read my post about my goals for 2017 ( you can read it here) you will know that one of my goals was to get fitter and also fuel my body with the correct food.
Why cut back on sugar?
For the past two years I have watched Sugar Free Farm in which celebrities gave up sugar completely for a certain amount of weeks. I find it fascinating to see how much sugar is in things as well as the effect it has when you remove it from your diet. From the show I have seen the side affects of cutting out sugar completely and have decided to just cut back rather than remove it completely. When I look at my diet, my main weakness is sweet stuff, I rarely order take away or go out for dinner ( however if you read my blog you know I am a fan of going to dessert restaurants). I am hoping to see a significant difference in my levels of energy as well as my weight by cutting down on sugar as I believe sugar is effecting my mood ( I am tired most days and often get grumpy for no reason).
Sweets, Chocolate, Cake and Biscuits
The obvious change I am going to make for Lent is to cut out all chocolate, all sweets, biscuits and cakes as I see them as being obvious sugar. As I mentioned a moment ago normally I give up chocolate which isn’t easy but manageable, however I would normally turn to sweets when I want my sugar fix. I also work in an office where people are bringing in cake ( normally to celebrate birthdays) and other sweet delights, so I am going to have to resist temptation.
Switching to Wholegrain
I already eat whole-wheat pasta and bread however I would normally have white pasta if I am out rather than choosing something else or a white bread roll. So for the whole of lent I will be eating only whole-wheat pasta and also wholewheat bread. I was also going to eat just brown rice but due to the difference in price when buying a 5kg bag I went with white rice but I did buy a small bag of brown rice. Instead I am just going to have alternatives to rice for example cauliflower rice which I have spotted in Aldi recently but also available in other supermarkets. I have previously had sweet potato noodles as an alternative to pasta and really enjoyed it so through lent I will probably try to have this rather than pasta.
As well as giving up something for Lent, I am also going to do more exercise to try to improve my fitness. My plan is to go to at least one class a week either zumba or aqua fit and at least one work out at home ( I usually make a play list of zumba songs including a warm up and cool down). I suffer with a bad back usually after exercise or cleaning the house so I am hoping improving my fitness will eliminate the pain and strengthen my muscles.
As I can’t have sugary drinks, I am going to be having either plain water or fruit infused water. My favourite is strawberry and mint, as I find this quiet refreshing. I am a big fan of fruit teas and normally would have sugar in them, recently I have been having 2 sweeteners instead. I plan to carry this on and see if slowly I can change my palate so that I no longer need sugar or sweetener. From watching Sugar Free Farm I have seen that the celebrities palates were different when sugar (fruit) were reintroduced as they tasted sweeter than before. After my main meals I usually having a craving for something sweet and I am hoping that slowly this will go away. I am going to aim to drink 4 pints of liquid a day so that I can stay hydrated.
When ever I have an urge for sweet stuff through lent I am going to turn to fruit or yogurt instead, I went shopping at the weekend and picked up some strawberries and blueberries. I am not a big fan of most fruit but I do like berries so I will just have to stock up on them and some dried fruit for emergencies. I also picked up some yogurt, however I didn’t check the label whilst out and noticed when I got home that it still contained quiet a bit of sugar. I plan to go to the supermarket on my lunch break one day next week and find a yogurt with less sugar and then add berries to it for natural sweetness, if you have any suggestions please let me know.
I know this is going to be a challenge as I love sweet stuff, but I think it’s the kick-start I need to lose some weight and also hopefully get fitter. I will do another post at the half way mark to let you know how I am getting on.