Some of you may be aware that I’ve given up chocolate for March, for Dechox. It is horrible. The end.
Of course not! Well no, it is horrible. I meant of course that isn’t the end – it would make for a very short post otherwise. I’m in the final third of Dechox now, and I’ve never eaten so many compensatory biscuits in my entire life.
I kind of want to sit here and tell you that it’s actually been alright. Because it has, in parts. It’s not been anywhere near as brutal as I thought it would be, probably because I haven’t done away with sugar completely. I’ve got a book about that, and I really wish I could jack in the white stuff, but I don’t know if I have it in me. Besides, I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment (before you ask, the answer is no) and Christ knows I need something.
But there have been days that were very much NOT ok. Day six was largely unbeatable in terms of transition and digestive shock. It was a Monday, and as soon as I opened my eyes I had a cracker of a headache and I felt like I was swimming through a wet cloud of dirty water. Everytime I moved, my balance took a second to catch up, and I was pale and clammy. It was like the first flushes of flu, without the actual flu. I dropped the girls off with my mother in law and got to my desk at work, feeling like I might either vomit or faint.
I said maybe 20 words that day, and had a couple of colleagues sending me messages to ask if I was alright. I forced myself out on my usual lunchtime walk, and I couldn’t tell you where I went for 45 minutes. When I ate, I felt sick. I couldn’t concentrate – I stared at the same email on my screen for half an hour and literally could not string words together in my reply. I had rage – I hated everyone. Then I cried in the toilets because I was so angry and so sodding tired. I picked at my dinner at home and dragged myself to the gym, at one point wondering if I might keel over on the treadmill. It was a hideous, hideous day and I don’t know how I got through it.
The next day brought a little more clarity and a little less fog, and I was back to my regular pursuit of playing “what shall my evening snack be?”
Have you ever walked up and down the cake and biscuits aisle and observed that chocolate is in FUCKING EVERYTHING? Tesco do these amazing salted caramel cookies. I’m sure they never used to contain Belgian chocolate chunks, but they sure as hell do now. Those Belvita biscuits are alright, they’re pitched as vaguely pseudo-healthy-slow-release-carbs attempt at snacking. I bought a box of those at £2.59, oats and honey variety, many thanks. It was only as I was about to tuck in that I spotted on the packet, in teeny tiny letters, “with chocolate chips”. GO AWAY!
I’ve started eating those disgusting Caramac giant buttons that you can only buy in Poundland, and seemingly only one branch within a four mile radius. They’re vile and cloyingly sweet but I can just about convince myself that they’re a poor man’s Galaxy Counter if I practice distraction techniques while eating them. Then I realised that 10 buttons contain 6.1g of fat and I could have cried into the empty bag.
So what have I learned, at this point? I’ve realised that I don’t need chocolate. I’m actually pretty strong-willed and determined once I’m set on something (I knew that anyway, to be fair). But I’m also very black and white, and I don’t think I can go back to eating it in moderation. I can completely visualise myself reverting to square one, and inhaling Smarties like there’s no tomorrow. So, I don’t know what to do. If I carry on not eating chocolate I’m going to HAVE to give up sugar, because my insides must be screaming at me.
I think I find it so hard to stomach, the idea of quitting sugar, because apart from that filthy addiction I’m super healthy. I know that sounds like a bizarre contradiction, but knowing that I can indulge my sweet tooth with rubbish is what helps me to manage the pretty much relentless regime of eating well and training hard. I can definitely see the attraction of quitting sugar and the health results it must deliver. Having the dedication to regard your body as a machine that needs fuel (that is, the right fuel) to work at maximum performance is overwhelmingly tempting. But then, what’s left? How do I get my comfort kicks?
Also, I’ve realised that sugar really does fuck with your hormones. Seriously. I’ve never felt so angry as I have done this month, notably the first half of it. Horrible, resentful, bitter rage when I’m not eating sugar, then a rush of virtual Jesus feels when I’m lining up a stack of digestives. I’m like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, without the long legs. I don’t like this feeling of imbalance, and I’m pretty sure my family don’t, either.
The jury’s still out. FYI – while writing this I’ve drunk a broccoli, celery and lime smoothie and also eaten a cake. Fuck sake.
-SJW March 2017