Written by blog contributor, Kellie Knapp.
It’s no secret that I love sweets. Cupcakes, candy, cookies, ice cream. You name it, I will devour it. That was up until a month ago. I decided to challenge myself and cut out sweets from my diet for 30 days. Let me state that I still allowed myself to eat yogurt (preferably yogurt made with honey but not other sweeteners such as cane sugar), a few flavors of Lara Bars, many different flavors of gum, and coffee creamer.
I will be the first one to tell you that I didn’t think it was possible for me to not eat sweets. I fully expected to fail in this endeavor. Many people asked me why I was cutting sweets out of my diet. I explained over and over that my body started to feel overloaded with crap. I was eating dessert most nights of the week, my joints were hurting, I couldn’t say no as much as I tried, I felt as if I was gaining unnecessary weight, and my GI issues were not getting any better. To be honest, I have been addicted to sugar for most of my life and I just wanted to see what my body would feel like without sugar for 30 days.
I decided it was time to really challenge myself and try to make a serious change. The prize at the end of the 30 days was Halloween – which meant alllllll the candy and a killer potluck at work, guaranteeing many homemade goodies.
Over the 30 days I struggled EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I thought about sweets, dreamed about sweets, salivated over sweets as I watched others eat them. Oh, let me tell you, it got real. I would feel down and out when someone in the office brought in doughnuts. I am ashamed to admit, I waited till no one was in the break room, held back my hair, and smelled the doughnuts in a ferocious, crazed way. And no, that was not the first time I delighted in the scent of the sweets plaguing my existence. But, I did NOT give in.
On the other side of things, my body felt great! I did not have my mid-afternoon crash every day at work, my joints were feeling much better (especially working out), I felt like I had some respite from my GI problems, and in general felt awesome about being able to kick a bad habit.
Come Halloween, I was pumped. I was ready. I was going to ease back into the sweets and have a fantastic day. But that didn’t happen… I started off my morning with mini chocolate chips in my yogurt. When I got to work I had a homemade cinnamon roll and a Twix. During the potluck I overindulged after eating “real food” and had about 4 cookies and 2 homemade rocky road bars. That night at my parents I had a cupcake in honor of my mother’s birthday, I had a Frankenstein rice crispy treat, and I was slamming candy like a kid on Christmas. I thought it was going to be a glorious day, but I was MISERABLE! I felt like complete and utter crap. I was bloated, my stomach was killing me, and I felt as if I could throw up any minute. That day goes down as one of the most awful food experiences of my life.
Needless to say, even though I thought it could never happen, this 30 day challenge has changed my life. I have decided to stay off sweets. I have gone from challenge to choice. Don’t freak out though, I will still allow myself a small piece of dessert on special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, if I’m feeling it. But I’ve realized that I feel better overall, physically and mentally, when dessert is not a regular part of my diet. I’ve actually been walking by the sweets on the breakroom table all week long without one desire to eat (or sniff) them.
Although it was only 30 days, I learned a lot about myself during this challenge:
-I can do anything I set my mind to, even if I didn’t believe in myself to begin with.
-Telling everyone about my challenge held me accountable.
-I can change my life by making a simple adjustment and sticking to it.
-I can get through any struggle.
I can say that my life is a little better and I feel healthier, first by challenging myself and then by making the decision to stick with the change.
What will be your next challenge? 😉