Addiction is a serious issue. Seriously, and during my struggles over the past month and a half there were moments where I would have shivved my mum for a curly wurly.
After a casual conversation in a Brighton student house I found myself convinced to cut sweets and treats out of my life. As much as I had been pumping various toxins into my body throughout the weekender, in my heart I knew that the problem lay with sugar.
Not just because my first thought was 'Oh I'll cut it out next week, just one more bloody tart!’, but because on a pyjama dressed trip to the corner shop tasked with getting the booty for a dirty fry-up, I forgot the eggs, the bacon… and the mushrooms, but I managed to polish off a bag of cola bottles, before I made it back to the house. So it was decided, painfully that I had a problem.
A little internet research exposed that it wasn’t ridiculous to feel the same way about sugar the way most people feel about cigarettes. In fact, sugar affects the neurological receptors in the brain with opium-like effects, and heroin addicts are often recorded as craving sugar in the absence of the drug.
It also stimulates dopamine, serotonin and endorphins in the brain, and addicts can experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
With a heavy heart I set out on a journey to kick the habit and embark on a 6-week detox as my mum always told me that it takes that long to make a habit.
Being the most responsible one of the miscreant bunch of hoodlums that I call friends, I was confident that I would be able to do it.
The first week was agony, as the internet had told me to expect. . I quickly realised that food was dull as hell without sugar and every meal was disappointing in its lack of sweetness. .. There may have been the occasional short tempered outburst, but nothing a Facebook apology couldn’t fix.
Of course, Week 3 was the week I got to attend a children’s birthday party. Unfortunately it was thrown by a mummy that was not yet ‘yummy mummy’ enlightened, and therefore full of sweets.
It was like the 1990s, long before three year olds asked for coconut water at Pizza Hut, a time where choc-ices ruled the land. I didn’t break but I sure wished I could have been one of the coked up 5 year olds running around punching balloons.
Did you know that carb’s break down into sugar in your body? (I don't mean to be patronising but you should, it's basic nutrition). Anyway this fact meant that I ate a load of potatoes and was able to convince myself that mash was pudding.
I began to feel good, I didn't crave sugar much at all and it didn't make my soul cry when my work did ‘Friday Treats’, in fact I felt smug when well-dressed business folks ran through guiltily chiming 'Ooh just one of these little ones'. ‘Yeah’ I thought, ‘I'm totally in control of my cravings, this is zen, this must be what monks feel like’
As my time came to an end I felt positive about a sugar-free future, I expected that I would take up jogging and start collecting all the superfoods I could get my hands on. I was slightly anxious about how much effort I was going to have to put in to my inevitable healthy living Youtube channel and Instagram page, but overall I was confident.
Whilst this might have been slightly optimistic, as I have a slew of other bad habits, with the UK currently facing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes it is important to think about what we put in our bodies, and try and make small positive changes, even if it’s just declining third helpings of cheesecake.