Updated: Mar 7, 2020
It was 28th December 2018 and I was coming down from of a three-day drinking bender. Depressed out of my arse that even taking Flash out for his walk wasn't so much a struggle as it was full on war with anxiety.
This particular low point in my life wasn’t without reason. My boyfriend and I had broken off our 2 and a half year relationship and I’d recently cut ties with my Dad (for reasons that I will go into later), both things were raw and so emotionally overwhelming that the only thing I seemed capable of, was crying and getting drunk. To be honest though, it didn't really matter why I was stuck in my box of anxiety this time, the destination never changed. Sitting alone, in the dark cradling my dog and a bottle of wine.
As my hazy brain was coming out of the massive boozy insult, my thoughts didn’t go to the usual place. Normally at this stage I would start daydreaming about a future Lou, a happy Lou, one that is not slowly becoming the size of a walrus and more anxious by the day.
This time, my thought process went straight for the jugular. No matter how hard I daydream about a better version of me, I'm stuck with this one. And I've been stuck with this version of me since my late teens and the rate that things are going I will hit my 40th and I'll still be sitting in the dark hugging my dog and a bottle of wine feeling lonelier than ever. I couldn't bare the thought, it made my head spin more than any bottle ever could.
Then it hit me. One of my favourite quotes that I had smugly dished out so often, smacked me in the face like a cold wet kipper.
'The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.' Good old Einstein.
Why in the world did I expect my life to change if I didn't change anything in my life? It was madness. But what? What could I do differently?
Of course, I already knew the answer to that, I had always known the answer to that. I need to sort my drinking out. In every fantasy of my future, all the Lou's every single one them didn't drink or at least didn't need a drink and none of them we're lonely.
Terrifying. Not the concept of giving up booze, that I was ready for and I can’t explain how I knew I was, but this time and for the first time I just was. Telling people, that was the scary part. I didn't want the attention on it, I just wanted to get my head down and get on with it. I didn’t know how bad it was. If it was a serious drink problem, I wanted to get my head around knowing I needed help, before I was ready to ask for it.
So, I started racking my brain – what could I do as subterfuge? I looked at my books for inspiration. My go to.... if in doubt stare at books. And they didn’t fail me, I have three books on marathon training. I got them back in 2011, in preparation for running my first one. I pulled out all three books and for some reason felt the need to hug them, which made Flash jealous and shouty (he hates not being involved in every cuddle situation.) then decided it was time to run my third Brighton Marathon, 7 years after my last one and 8 years after my first.
I would run in 2020 which gave me 1 year and 4 months to train for it. So whatever change I made to my diet I could now attribute to training. Boom!
Like everything else in my life, my diet was in conflict. On the one hand I was healthy, and I love to cook. The recipe books we're always out. On the other hand, the deeper I was inside my box of anxiety the less I cared about food and the more I cared about wine. Then it would be late night takeaways, which was finished for breakfast and a meal deal for lunch, along with sweets (usually to combat the shakes), and the recipe books gathering dust.
The sugar detox had been on my radar ever since a couple of ex colleagues had done the detox for 30 days. I was astonished at the difference no sugar made they we're more alert, full of energy and just looked super healthy. I had never considered for a second giving it a go myself, largely because of course that would mean no booze and I hadn't been ready for that. But now the sugar detox was perfect for that very reason. NO BOOZE!
Goals set, and so to the research...