It doesn’t take a Shrink to realise I’m a sugaraholic.

Last year I dabbled in the LCHF (low carb high fat diet) trying to reduce my carb in take gradually but I soon realised that if I was to see any results I was going to have to go “cold turkey.”

After a holiday in Amsterdam and Dublin with enough carbs and sugar to make me feel ill I started the LCHF diet like a man on a mission. I cut every carb possible with my only source of carb source coming from low carb vegetables.

That first week was hell, not so much in terms of my day to day energy levels, in fact within a few days I was feeling great during the day, but running was a different story. After only 4 or 5 days on the diet I joined a friend for an easy 25km run, but I ended up having to run walk the last 4km’s feeling like the life had been sucked out of my legs. Initially I thought it was as a result of the flight back from Dublin, but I soon realised it was due to the switch in diet and the body having to adapt to sourcing it’s energy from fat as opposed to the easily converted carbs.

Within three weeks I started to feel great on my runs again, my strength and energy returned and I was able to run for hours without putting anything but water into my system.

And then the end of the year happened and with it came four exams, a 42km PB marathon and December shutdown mode of course my sugar addiction kicked in like never before and I held nothing back. I’m ashamed to list what I ate during December but needless to say it wasn’t pretty, Wakkaberry, Pizza, biscuits, slab after slab of chocolate, puddings, sugary drinks, you name it, if it has sugar in it, chances are I ate it.

By the end of December I felt physically ill, I felt like my body had been poisoned, which I guess it really had been. I felt overweight, sluggish, tired and generally unfit. I couldn’t wait for New Year’s day to pass so that I could get back to the LCHF diet. See, I knew that if I attempted to get back to between Christmas and New Year that once I gave into the pudding on New Year’s day it would be followed by another sugar binge of epic proportions.

It’s cold turkey for me or nothing at all.

So on the 2nd of Jan I very happily got back to eating the way I had up until November. Unfortunately for me I attempted to run the DisChem Helpers 21km race only 4 days after starting back. Of course I experienced the exact same symptoms I had after trying to run a 25km just after getting back from Dublin and by km 4 into the race I realised that my only hope of finishing this thing would be to adopt a run/walk strategy.

So that’s what I did, I walked for 30secs every 7km’s and threw in two extra walks up the steeper longer sections. I eventually finished in 1:29:11, my slowest 21km in years. I had forgotten the toll switching to LCHF takes on the energy systems of the body within the first two to three weeks.

I am however very pleased to say that in my first week of been back I’ve lost 2kg’s, 1% body fat, 3cm’s around my waist, 1 cm on my thigh and 2cm’s on my chest. I know that within two to three weeks I will feel like a new man and a new runner.

Sugar is a killer, it destroys us without us even realising it. I think that most of us are so used to feeling terrible that we think the way we’re feeling is normal.

I don’t want to feel like that ever again.

– Ray Orchison

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