I don’t feel funny.
No, I mean I really – like I don’t feel like making people laugh. For the past 10 days, I haven’t had anything sweet. During CNY yo. 6 days ago, I wrote a piece on Anwar’s replacements and realised I only put two jokes in it – which by CILISOS standards is pretty serious sh*t. No wonder it didn’t even get 100 shares. Haiz.
Anyways, we thought we’d try some new things this year, and this includes bizarre personal experiments. Have any of you watched that sucky romcom called 40 Days and 40 Nights with Josh Hartnett? Well this is me trying the same thing, except I’m not giving up something as easy as nookie. I’m giving up processed sugar. For Lent, from Feb18 to April 4th.
But why sugar?
Not all sugar, just processed sugar. Why? Because apparently, sugar is as dangerous as tobacco or alcohol (!). And dangit, Malaysians are the 8th highest consumers of sugar in the world with a daily intake average of 26 teaspoons. Recommended dose for humans? 12 teaspoons.
“We all know there’s a lot of sugar in our ice cream, our ais kacang, and our chocolate cupcakes. But would you guess that the sweet stuff also sneaks into your sambal, your sweet chilli chicken, and even your innocent little wholemeal sandwich?” – Healthworks.my
More than that, I have quite a sweet tooth. 30 years ago when I was 6, some stupid doctor diagnosed me with ADHD, which basically means that like most children, Coke to me is like Spinach to Popeye. So my dear mom decided that I was to be deprived of sugar for the rest of my childhood. All the kids around me got Coke, and I got Barley no sugar.
Then when I grew up, I read this. Which made me change my way of life a bit…
I now have sweet drinks at least twice a day. At least one Coke, and usually a splattering of Teh-aises, or those set-lunch ice lemon teas, or even a Ribena in the office, which we have plenty of. No dinner or lunch feels complete without dessert. And that, plus the admittedly crazy working hours here at CILISOS sometimes have resulted in me going from a svelte 94kg in 2013…
To a not-so-svelte 104kg as of Feb 18 2015.
Still got appetite? Ok, so here’s the lowdown…
My challenge, my rules.
From 0001 on 18th February to 0000 on 4th April GMT+0800, here are the rules I’ve set for myself
- No sugar in anything sweet, except fruits – this includes cookies, cakes, softdrinks, tehais, milo kosong, and even herbal tea.
- No fruit juices or honey either – cos that’s kinda cheating, and the calories can pile up.
- Yes to Yee Sang – cos I want to be prosperous yo, but only one serving each dinner.
- Yes to sugar in savoury things like pasta, rice, bread – Cos if not, might as well give up eatin
- Yes to Alcohol (but no to sweet mixers) – Cos I am not and have never been an excessive drinker. Beer ok, Whiskey Coke or Vodka Cranberry no.
- Yes to calorie-less sugar replacements – Yes, this was the number one tip I received – stevia of course – for my little adventure. (more on this later.)
And what are my goals with this? Well a few nutritionists have told me that I can stand to lose up to 6kg in the first month alone, just giving up sugar. So that would be nice. Also, my family has a history of diabetes (both grandads), and given my monster sweet tooth, I might be a ticking timebomb.
Oh and nutritionists claim I can do this while maintaining my current habits, so I will do my best to eat the same as before – no more, no less, just without the sweets.
I also stopped exercising a few months back cos work got busy (used to do WingChun twice a week), so I won’t start again for now, just to see what happens.
Got it? Ok… well here we go.
[40D40N GERAMGULA] DAY 1: CNY eve.
Comment of the day: “No CILISOS, Boss”
To get myself prepared the night before Feb18th, I went for a foot massage, lukluk and made sure I got home before midnight to down my last can of Coke. As I was drinking it, I felt optimistic (maybe it was the sugar). But when I finished it, the rest of the night felt uneasy… The feeling was similar to the feeling I had having my last cigarette before quitting a few years back.
The next morning, I woke up almost forgetting about the pledge. I went to the office and had a small serving of leftover noodles for breakfast. No big cravings yet, although that custom can from Coke sat teasing me on my desk. I swore revenge to it on April 4th.
For lunch, only myself and UiHua were working today so we decided to ease the cravings with some KFC Golden Egg Crunch (OMG if you haven’t tried it, it’s the BOMB!). It felt very strange to ask for a mineral water instead of the custom Pepsi that comes with the set. As I started eating, I intuitively reached for some CILISOS, but unfortunately, UiHua the Ass pointed out that CILISOS was sweet, and made me scoop it off my plate.
I later found out 1 packet of CILISOS contains 90 calories. I usually take 1 packet with each piece of chicken, which is almost the equivalent of ONE BOWL OF RICE OMG! Despite the fried chicken, I felt strangely unsatisfied. I compensated by heading to a nearby supermarket to stock up on fruits for my sugar fix.
Dinnertime was reunion with the family back in Rawang. Yee Sang didn’t really help much, as with each cup of Chinese tea, I felt a burning desire to order a Coke. And then dessert came, which resulted in my first of many angry FB Posts.
After the dinner, at my uncle’s house… I made do with a glass of red-wine, enviously looking at my relatives drinking Shandy (yes I have a very tame drinking family).
[40D40N GERAMGULA] DAY 2-5: CNYweekend.
Comment of the day: “Is Satay Sauce Sweet or Savoury?“
The next day, I overslept and missed family lunch, making do with some leftover pasta (yea I have a lot of leftover food in my house). Upon arriving at my parents place, I see the holy grail of cookies and snacks, half of which I can’t eat 🙁 Thankfully, there’s a Kiwi fruit on the table, so I have that instead. Someone passes me a fortune cookie that I also can’t eat, which results in angry Facebook status update (AFSU) #2.
After lunch, my cousins and I go for a movie and again, I’m craving a Coke to go with my salted popcorn. I’ve noticed something tho… the more salty stuff I eat, the more I want something sweet to go with it. Does anyone else get that? I couldn’t find a study about it.
And then at dinner at Chilli’s (cos everything else is kinda closed), I miss the refillable drinks (which are a definite Nono), and turn to the Desserts page, which results in AFSU#3
The next few days are pretty much the same. Open houses and gambling sessions galore, and I’m desperate for a Pineapple Tart, or a can of Coke. In fact, I start noticing Coke pop up in the weirdest places. I swear I saw a kapchai rider holding a Coke in his hand. WHO HOLDS COKE WHILE RIDING A KAPCHAI!? SERIOUSLY!?
Strangely, beer seems to solve the craving, although I limit myself to two a day, which isn’t different from my usual consumption. Thankfully, apparently beer is healthier than Coke. Also, at one party with Satay, as I’m digging into the sauce, another one of my so-called friends asks politely if Satay is considered a sweet food (Each serving for five sticks of Satay has about the same calories again, as a bowl of rice). I give her the stare, and vow that this is the last satay sauce I’m having for the next 6 weeks.
I am running out of pleasures here guys.
[40D40N GERAMGULA] DAY 6-9: Proper workdays
Comment of the day: “I think he’s getting grumpy“
So now we get down to proper working conditions. CILISOS kicks things off on Monday with a whole bunch of stories ranging from Rosmah’s hair to the guy who threatens to expose the responsible parties behind the Altantuya case. And Lydia Kwan brings home-made chiffon cake to the office. It SMELLS SO SWEET that I bring it close to my nose, and can literally feel the sugar going up my nostrils! UiHua is still an ass.
Energy levels are quite low as I’ve been finding it a bit difficult to sleep – but that was the case even before the sugar fast. Sleep, BTW is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. Some people have complained that I’m grumpier than usual – and I kinda feel it. I feel like a colour has been removed from my eyesight, like something’s missing in the world and I desperately want it.
But Monday also revealed that… I LOST 2 KG! Over CNY WEEKEND YO! SUCK IT!
And before you ask, yes I weighed myself at exactly the same time, after breakfast roughly around 11am. The new discovery spurs me on. To replace the loss of taste, I’ve added lots of Chinese Tea and Lemon juice in water. I maintain the routine for the rest of the days. Cravings are manageable, especially with grapes (which apparently have pretty high sugar content) and nangka.
[40D40N GERAMGULA] DAY 10: Anticlimax
Comment of the day: “You don’t look like you’ve lost weight”
Strangely, when I mentioned the 2kg on Day 8, Someone replied that I hadn’t looked like I’ve lost weight. And strangely, I don’t feel like I have either. and on Day 10, I weight myself again… and sure enough, I’m still 102kg. Waistline, still the same. Ironically, today’s headline in the Star is about the amount of fat people at work.
Tempted to AFSU #4, but decide against it.
However, I’ve also realised that I haven’t been eating very healthily aside from replacing sugar with fruits. Usually in a week, I’ll have a few light and healthy meals to make up for the unhealthy ones, but this week has been hard to do that (CNY mar) – and I’ve felt the need to justify my diet by not compromising on the usual fat, carbs and protein that I’m used to. Apparently, this is the Diet Coke effect, where people drinking Diet Coke feel that they’re justified to eat more burgers and fries.
However, I have indeed made it to 10 days without sugar (by my own rules, of course). While I do feel a sense of achievement, I also feel that it hasn’t really been that worth it.
Or maybe that’s just the lack of sugar affecting my mood.
In the next 10 days: I’ll be having some Coke Zero, and trying to eat a wee bit more healthily. Will it work? Stay TUNED! Article out 10th March.
In the meantime, if you have any advice on how to make this more effective, and less painful… let me know in the comments below.