I am not sure what possessed me to take on this sugar-free challenge, but I must say it was an eye-opening experience. Even though almost every dish around contains sugar as mentioned previously, it simply wasn’t viable for me to cut them out of my life completely.
Instead, I simply tried to reduce my sugar intake and keep it in the healthy range.
For a good seven days, I tried my best to avoid as many sweet drinks and sugary desserts as I could. This meant abstaining from bubble tea (aka THE Holy Grail), my beloved milo peng and precious cream puffs.
I was pretty sure I was going to curl up and die, but lo and behold – I’ve lived to tell the tale. Here’s how my somewhat painful week went.
P/S: Just a little disclaimer that I stay on campus so my breakfast and dinner arrangements are mostly planned out for me.
Breakfast: Fried rice
Lunch: Fish porridge
Dinner: Cai Png (mixed Chinese rice)
Eager to prove naysayers wrong, I began this challenge with a fierce determination to steer clear of all the sugary traps around.
My day began with a hearty meal in my dormitory’s dining hall, but I drank water instead of the piping hot cup of milo I’d usually opt for.
Equipped with my trusty flask of water, I made it through the day with nothing but a sense of accomplishment. Temptations failed to get the better of me.
Usually, I’d have about 2 cups of sweet drinks – ranging from iced milo to green tea – accompanying my meals every day. But with a conscious effort, I actually managed to stand my ground and sip faithfully from my water bottle all day.
Lunch: Soba noodles with tuna and tofu
Dinner: Cai Png
Then it all went downhill. The cravings started to kick in, and I had to quietly chide myself every single time I felt like reaching out for a refreshing packet of lemon tea to quell my thirst.
I was slightly cranky and watching all my friends were happily chugging down glorious cups of milk tea from the Gongcha outlet on campus just made it worse.
Nonetheless, I stuck to my promise and consumed only proper meals with no sweet snacks taken in between. I was sure to devour a filling lunch (as depicted above) to stamp out my urges to seek food.
Breakfast: Traditional Tau Huay with You Tiao
Lunch: Cai Png
Dinner: Ban Mian
A realisation struck me on this day. Most of the time, I only searched for food simply because I wanted to munch on something – it was almost as if eating morphed into something done out of boredom.
As I consciously prohibited myself from making contact with anything sugary, I realised I was purely restless and not starving.
With that being said, I managed to survive yet another day. My meals were pretty simple, yet enough to sustain me through the day even without mindless snacking.
Breakfast: Lor Mai Kai
Lunch: Sushi from the supermarket
Dinner: Cai Png
I must confess my sins.
With all the late nights I’d been pulling, I was feeling lethargic in the day. I simply couldn’t bring myself to break the cardinal rule of not having desserts or sugar-filled beverages, so I opted for tiny packets of raisins to stay awake instead.
Thankfully, other than this lapse in willpower, everything else went pretty much as planned. Meals were mundane but sufficed as good sustenance.
Breakfast: Fried rice
Day five was potentially one of the most depressing days ever. My friends asked me along for dinner at a fast food chain and I had to order water.
I felt like a joke – but then again, I have to admit that the bottle of water somewhat negated the sinfulness of the calorie-stuffed meal.
For those of you who are all ready to call me out for daring to consume this malicious meal during this supposedly health-centric challenge, I hope my consumption of this fruit bowl placates you.
Just kidding, I can’t forgive myself either but it was worth a shot.
Breakfast: Plain bread
Lunch: Salmon Quesadilla with Salad
Dinner: Fried Carrot Cake
At this point, avoiding sugar became almost like a routine for me. It got easier, even though once in awhile I still had to consciously curb my cravings for anything that threatened my sugar-free streak.
As for a suitable substitute to satiate the perpetual need for drinks to tide me through long nights, I got myself some teabags instead. This fragrant alternative made me feel unrightfully fitspo, and it served as a cleanser of sorts.
I felt rejuvenated instead of hanging onto the usual guilt plaguing me every time I downed an entire cup of some unnecessarily sweet Green Tea Latte.
Lunch: Cai Png
Dinner: Japanese Beef Bowl with a side of Hot Green Tea
My throat was feeling off on the last day so I fixed myself a cup of pure honey without additional sugar. It was bland, but the concoction was refreshing still. By avoiding heavy amounts of sugar for the past week, I somehow felt lighter and more alert.
Ordering sugar-free drinks during meal times also transformed into something natural for me to do, and it got easier with each day.
Yay Or Nay To Sugar-Free Week?
By committing to this little experiment, I must say that changes weren’t obvious but present nonetheless. Even though such a sudden change affected me quite a bit at the start, it really wasn’t too bad.
I felt like my system underwent a detox for this entire period. To quantify this, I kept track of my weight at the start and end of this project. Ultimately, I lost 0.3kg over this week. Sure, it may not be anything drastic but it still counts for something!
But that’s beside the point. Weight loss shouldn’t be your goal if you decide to take on this challenge. Rather, we should bear in mind that cutting back on our sugar consumption will be beneficial to our bodies in the long run.
It’s pretty impossible and possibly dangerous to cut sugar out of our lives completely and suddenly, especially since its omnipresent in our daily lives, but it would pay to try it in a gradual fashion. Reducing our intake bit by bit will go a long way eventually! Another tip is to find healthier substitutes to sate your sweet tooth – like fruit-based products for instance.
Grab a few buddies and help each other to tide through this tough week. Have lots of fun and who knows – this sugar-free idea may just cultivate an amazing long-term habit for you.