Life in Dubai slows down during the summer and especially during Ramadan. The strong spiritual energy of the holy month of Ramadan helps me to re-connect to my body and soul. Every year I use this opportunity to reflect and take decisions on how I would love to live my life. For me the connection with beloved ones, family and friends, animals and nature is very important. And of course my health is always on the top priorities list too.
Time for a change
This year I realized how much sugar I am/was consuming on a daily basis. Cookies, Candy, Dutch delicacies, Chocolates…the list is endless. More than I need. More than is healthy for me. I know that I feel more energetic and face less health issues when I eat almost no sugar. It is about my health, so time for a change.
“Awareness is the greatest agent of change.”
Day 1: Bye bye sugar…
Today I decided to say goodbye to SUGAR. The last months I was eating lots of cookies, candy and just anything which contains added sugar. My energy levels act like a rollercoaster when I eat too much sugar. And my skin looks dull and my longs don’t like it either. So time to change!
Day 2: Bye bye sugar…
The only thing I can think of right now is you, but I survived the supermarket without buying more of you. And the banana that I just ate was delicious too. Anyone who is willing to join me?
Day 3: Bye bye sugar…
Woke up with more energy. My body told me this morning “Give me a chocolate. You’re drinking a coffee. A cookie will also do. Give me something. Anything sweet!”, at the same moment I gave a goodie bag of all kinds of cookies to my cleaning lady. You should have seen her smile. For her this represents a lot of money. She was so happy. Something to share with her friends. No more sugar in my house. Now it’s serious business! Good feeling, although my ego told me: “You are feeding her sugar. That is also not healthy for her.” 🙂
Day 4: Bye bye sugar…
This morning I woke up full of energy. It is 8.30 Dubai time and I already walked the dogs (which is normal) and did a 20-minute Yoga with Adriene session through YouTube. Feeling energetic and happy. Last night I only had 1 date (it was delicious!) and felt sleepy so I went to bed early. Now I have to hurry for another entertaining walk with the Dutch walking ladies ‘De Zandlopers’ inside the Mall of the Emirates. Enjoy your day, and forget about sugar. You can do without it! <3
Day 5: Bye bye sugar…
My energy was less vibrant than yesterday. Only after 14.00, I felt the desire to eat something sweet. Okay I have to admit that I kept thinking of cookies untill dinner time. As I was trying to memorize if there was anything deliciously sweet inside my kitchen. Nothing available of course. My second dip started after dinner. Again I was graving for sugar. However, once again I was stronger than my thoughts. No sugar for me today!
Day 6: Bye bye sugar…
Today I woke up really fit and energetic. Didn’t miss sugar until the mid of the afternoon. I had such a desire for chocolate!!! I couldn’t care for a cookie or some candy, but if someone had offered chocolates…???? luckily that didn’t happen. Thanks to Ramadan, it makes it easier for me!
Day 7: Bye bye sugar…
This was my first day without sugar gravings! Although it was a bit unusual to visit a restaurant for a coffee and than realize that I couldn’t order a piece of tart or a cookie on the side. Instead I had a delicious soup…haha.
Day 8: Bye bye sugar…
Today I only missed sugar during lunch. I bought a delicious bread, but what to eat if you normally eat lots of Nutella, Hagelslag or Jam? Dutch cheese!
For my after dinner snack I made an open sandwich with butter, strawberries, creme fraiche and the famous Dutch cookies spices. Mjammie!!!???? So delicious.
Day 9: Bye bye sugar…
I did it! Went out for a brunch and could resist the overwhelming variety of desserts! Hooray!!!
And the best thing is that I only hesitated for a short moment. The increase in energy, better balance and good looking skin convinced me. Easy as that!
Day 10: Bye bye sugar…
Today my only struggle was the Dubai summer. It was so hot and humid. Still Ramadan, so no food or drinks on the road. At a certain moment I could only think of a cold refreshment. By the time I got home I had already forgotten about it. Glad that I didn’t buy it. Some lychees, mangosteen & a date later, I concluded that cookies and candy are so overrated ????
Day 11: Bye bye sugar…
“You don’t have to lose weight, so why do stop eating sugar?” A frequently asked question. No, I don’t have to lose weight, and that’s also not the reason why I decided to change my diet. I realised that I don’t need that much sugar on a daily basis. Cookies, candy and chocolates. It’s not healthy for me. (And neither for you…)
11 days without sugar and I’ve noticed these positive changes so far:
- Easier to wake-up early morning
- A more balanced energy level during the day
- Smoother skin
- Better concentration
- Save lots of time at the supermarket
I’m happy that I’ve changed my habits! Thanks for your support. More to come …
Day 12: Bye bye sugar…
Eid Mubarak! This evening Ramadan ended, and people are celebrating Eid al Fitr. Or as we would say in Dutch ‘Suikerfeest’. Literally translated Sugar Party. No sugar was involved for me!
Now the real challenge starts as life gets back to normal in Dubai. Restaurants and coffee shops are open during the day. Let’s see how brave I am…
Day 13: Bye bye sugar…
It’s getting boring ???? no sugar today!
Day 14: Bye bye sugar…
My Indian dinner has been ordered. No cookies, candy or whatsoever available in the house. So I can conclude that I made it to day 14 and shared this experience with you all. From now on, I will do it on my own. No support group needed anymore.
What I learned is that sugar is really addictive. I loved to eat it, and on the same time it took a lot of energy to digest. It feeds me only with a short term boost, but on the long run I am healthier and happier without too much sugar.
When I abruptly stopped eating sugar, I noticed that I was grumpy, I was graving for sugar. Everywhere I looked I saw people eating sugar (and yes, it is available everywhere). I realized that I had used it to comfort myself. Not eating sugar gave me literally a headache and I got easily distracted.
The good news was that after the first 3-5 days I noticed major changes <3. My energy increased. Especially in the morning and no more after lunch dips anymore. A balanced level of energy. It is easier to focus. My skin feels softer and looks smoother. Also interesting to notice is that I feel better mentally. Difficult to explain what I exactly feel, but it feels good. My body celebrates life without sugar with a natural feel good mood.
From tomorrow onwards I will continue with feeding my body the food that it really needs. Sorry for all the companies who try to convince us that we can’t life without their processed food, cookies etc. Yes, we can and feel even better without it. And of course, now and then I’ll eat something sweet…but healthier sweets and smaller amounts.
Thanks for your support! It was fun <3
PS If you’re that cookie monster, maybe it’s time to think twice before you open the cookie jar. You can also do without it!
Three weeks later
Bye bye sugar? After minimizing my sugar intake to 10-15% in comparison with before, I still feel better, healthier and more energetic.
Fun fact is that I gained weight! But apparently people think that I lost weight, because people who I haven’t seen for a while ask me if I lost weight, which I didn’t. I gained approx. 1.5 kilo. Maybe it’s because I exercise more often and of course walk the dogs. I don’t know, and I don’t really care, because I feel BETTER!
“Are you still eating no sugar at all?” I have to admit, that I do eat some sugar every now and than. The good thing is that I can still remember what I had in detail, which means that it only happens once every 3-5 days. I.e. a tiny cookie on Monday after the walk with the Dutch walking club. Three scoops of ice-cream on Friday, and some 75% dark chocolate with cacao nibs just at this moment while I’m typing this post.
The best thing is that after replacing my sugar eating habits with healthier food, I don’t fancy sugar that much any more. Food tastes so much sweeter, when you’re not used to high doses of sugar anymore. And I my case, my body sends me an earlier notice that it had enough. So I am even able to say no to cookies, candy etc.
Wow, what a surprise that this would re-happen in my life. I didn’t eat cookies, candy etc around 2012-2014, just before we moved to Dubai. No, I won’t blame Dubai…but for sure I know that getting out of your comfort zone (and believe me moving to Dubai was quite challenging in the beginning), caused me to look for comfort food.
Luckily living in another country and facing many adventures made me stronger! I don’t need comfort food to calm me down in cases of stress. Meeting a friend, petting my dogs, exercising, meditation or skyping with friends and family have a so much better and longer result! Hooray to this conclusion.
And hooray to changing your own behavior, rituals and patterns!
PS When I googled for an authentic ‘Dutch candy market stall’, I felt a bit nostalgic…the amount of candy that I bought in my childhood. 🙂