Conned.

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Saturday, 13th June 2020


I think I've been conned by Allen Carr's 'Easy Way' to cutting out sugar completely. Well, I suppose I can't quite say 'conned', since the title is 'Good Sugar, Bad Sugar, Eat youself Free from Sugar and Carb Addiction'. Lured in, I should say. It started with his previous book, 'Lose Weight Now.' There might be a lot of people reading this during or post-lockdown...


(Grace helped design this).


As I said in a previous post, the reason I was drawn to it was because a close friend had used another of his books to stop smoking. And she told me that his route doesn't rely on willpower. Good. I have none.


But what I was not prepared for was just how radical Allen's suggestions are for diet change. If I follow his counsel, I'm going to be eating delicious and nutritious, healthy foods for the rest of my life, like fruit and vegetables, with some nuts and seeds thrown in. I could be on the path to eating well forever! What? I just wanted to lose some pounds! A life without Haagen-Dazs? Is it even conceivable?


But seriously, I thought I would just reflect a bit on my experience of the book and its consequent impact. First of all, I was excited. Then I was annoyed and sceptical, at Allen's advice, sensing big and necessary change on the horizon. Then I decided to just give it a go and see how I felt.


Well, for a few days I have to say I was feeling pretty low and lacking in energy. Not hungry, exactly. But mainly bored. It might have been the grey clouds and rain, but either way, I didn't feel much energy. And I was wondering whether I was going to feel any benefits at all. I rebelled on Tuesday and baked my own biscuits, ate a lot of the mixture and then felt too sick for my evening meal. So that wasn't a big win.


I did, however, discover I enjoy fruit. I think I had my first banana (not in smoothie format) in seven or so years and even pears and apples, which really haven't seen my stomach for a long, long time. And I quite liked them. So that was a plus in itself.


But today and yesterday I think I've started to feel the benefit of better food (and almost nothing processed). I've been having fruit for breakfast, fruit or nuts for snacks and white meat or fish instead of the lately-demonised red meat. Today and yesterday are my first days waking up with more energy and I think I feel... a bit lighter.


I also had my first mini triumph at a social-distancing picnic today. I was offered a shortbread (my favourite) and I said 'no thanks'. And then I declined a fig roll. I even did this without offering a lengthy explanation about why and going into the details of Allen Carr's book, something I would normally do.

I've got to confess, I was hoping Allen Carr would be a bit less dramatic about sugar, 'the devil's grain' as my dad calls it. But not so. He's hit me with the very reasonable argument that, for someone addicted to sugar, the best thing is to cut it out completely. Like with smoking, he says it requires no willpower to cut it out (using his 'easy' way) but a tremendous amount to cut down. This is because, unfortuantely, the sugar itself feeds the addiction, which feeds the craving, which feeds eating more, and then further addiction and so forth. For someone whose body does not scream for more sugar when they eat a biscuit, perhaps cutting down is a reasonable option. I fear I might have to go the dramatic route.


I know I'm a sugar addict. I used to carry sugar cubes in my coat when as a teenager because I'd get grumpy if I didn't. I thought my body needed it and I was just a special type of person. I've often been seen to wander around the house, looking for my next sugar 'fix', or even sneak it at night. Michael says my tastebuds are still those of a child, feasting on Haribo and jelly sweets.


When I was pregnant with Grace, they thought I might have gestational diabetes because I was carrying extra liquid. I half hoped I did, because it would be the shove I needed to stop eating sugar. But when I was given the all-clear, I didn't change anything. A couple of years later, when I was told I was borderline for pre-diabetic, I still didn't feel the urgency to change things drastically. I was borderline, after all. I tried a little cutting down, and then I quite soon forgot about it. Yes, sugar is a problem for me.


How is this connected with homemaking, you may wonder? Well... in my quest to manage my home properly, I've been trying to simplify. And I've also been trying to love cooking, since there's so much of it to do. But I don't love cooking and I do love simplifying. So perhaps I've landed on the answer: simple, natural foods, which don't require much prep. Who would have thought it?


I must confess I've also been feeling rather like a rubbish homemaker in the Feeding my Kids Department. For too long. I've felt bad about this and tried to convince myself that it's okay that they don't eat this or that and they eat too much of this or that... but I still feel bad about it and I get no joy in opening yet another tin of baked beans. And I've realised that I have to make the change for myself before I can make it for them. So I now quite enjoy slicing up fruit and - even better - even Isaac eats it.


Can I become a fructose addict, I wonder?

I'll let you know.

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