But trying to escape it is a daunting prospect. After all, it's in flipping everything. EVERYTHING.
Sugar and MS don't mix though. It's a fact that I've turned a blind eye to since I was diagnosed, and literally ignored when I've witnessed its bad effects. Eating something sugary then having half your face go numb is not normal, Chloe! There are many books out there going into the dangers of sugar (a really good read is David Gillepsie's Sweet Poison), and especially it being a cause of inflammation (a big no-no for anyone with MS or any other kind of auto-immune disease).
So it's been long over-due, but I've decided to attempt the impossible and massively reduce the amount of sugar I consume in my everyday diet.
I haven't said quit, because I'm a realist, but even if I aim to reduce sugar to no more than 10 grams a day, that's still a huge improvement. 10 grams sounds a lot, but with hidden sugars in most things, that goes pretty darn quickly.
The other reason I want to cut out sugar is to hopefully lose some weight. Again, another thing that is long over due. My weight has been creeping up over the years, since my diagnosis 16 years ago, and as many people with a chronic illness will know once it's on, it's incredibly hard to shift. For me personally, having to do the sustained amount of exercise needed to aid weight loss is really difficult. Coping with the kids uses up all of my energy supplies, so finding that extra push to exercise is nigh on impossible. The most I am managing at the moment, is to take the dog for a walk round the block in the evening, which I'm proud of, and every little bit helps. But perhaps something drastic needs to happen to my diet in order to start seeing the pounds float away. Giving up sugar might be just that. I sure hope so!
It's Day Three today - so how has it gone so far?
Well I'm following Sarah Wilson's 'I Quit Sugar' detox plan, and I have to say, so far so good. It promises all sorts of things ('you'll feel better', 'you'll have more energy', 'your skin will be clearer') but I'm going into it with an open, if slightly dubious, mind.
The hardest thing though is going to be learning to change habits. When I'd usually reach for a sugary snack (often just a biscuit or yoghurt) I'm going to have to find a good alternative to stave off any cravings. Over the last two days, it's been a cracker with some cheese on. According to the book, swapping sugar for a healthy fat is the way to go. This goes against all of my built-in 'diet' knowledge. After all, fat is bad, right?! But no, it's the sugar that is doing the most damage. The fact that sugar and fat usually go hand in hand means that fat often gets the blame for obesity, when in fact it's the sugar which is the main culprit.
Me being a realist has also meant I have read the great Realist's Guide to a Sugar-Free World by Sherri Nicolds, hoping that it'll give me a bit more of a believable insight into what it's really going to be like living with out sugar. Sherri mentioned that the first week was pretty horrific, with bad headaches and fatigue being prevalent, so I'm expecting a few nasty side-effects. As Sherri points out sugar is apparently more addictive than crack cocaine, so expect some properly harsh withdrawal symptoms.
But, so far no headaches, and any tiredness has been masked by the usual fatigue I get, so who's the say. I'll will keep you all updated on my sugar-free adventure...it would be amazing if it really does help to make me feel much better just in time for summer!
Will I really lose weight?