I'm addicted to sugar. I had skirted around using the "A" word in previous versions of this intro, but to say otherwise would be lying, writing this intro has in itself forced me to admit the fact to myself for the first time. I've tried to cut down on sugar before, I've tried to quit cold turkey before, but I just can't stop eating chocolate. Or ice cream, or cookies, or brownies or fucking hell why does it all taste so good.
I know I'm not unique in this problem. I mean as far as addictions go, this is pretty vanilla (mmm vanilla). But nonetheless, the sucrose molecule has me tied around its pinky like a pathetic, spineless little bitch. As soon as I see a Caramello Koala, my pupils dilate like a Great White tasting blood in the water. What happens next is a frenzy almost as violent. I have no control. The caramel oozing out of the koala's feet (always eat the feet first, so it can't get away) is like sweet heroin… I imagine. I've never tried heroin but I hear it's fun.
I like sugar so much that one of my first stories ever published was about me eating nothing but Nutella for a week (wouldn't recommend). Over the years, I've managed to balance out my love of sugar with my love of soccer. Chasing a ball around a field with a bunch of other sweaty dudes for a few hours a week kept me from going up a size or two in jeans, but I'm a dirty Melburnian, and I haven't worn jeans since March. The virus is all around us, the soccer fields are closed, and I can't stop eating Ben & Jerry's.
With my belly expanding, It was time for something drastic. It was time to drop sugar and escape from its sweet grip once and for all. But I couldn't do this alone. I needed help from an expert. I needed Rohit Roy, CEO of No Fizzy Drinks.
But first, the last supper.
On No Sugar Eve I ordered a shitload of ice cream and threw in a burger and chips for good measure. This was to be my final indulgence, one last monster hit before getting clean. But this wasn’t just pure gluttony. There was method to the madness. See, I’ve woken up in the past with the most yuck feeling in my throat from nights out spent chain-smoking, and the last thing you want on mornings like that is a cigarette. So, I figure, if I wanted to start off strong, I would eat so much ice cream the night before that on day one, the last thing I’d want is something sweet.
The plan worked. I woke up feeling like absolute dog shit. Perfect. By mid-morning I was feeling fine though, and by the evening my cravings for chocolate were already beginning to show their face. It was time to call my no sugar coach.
David: Rohit, I need help. I’m on day one of my no sugar journey, you’re on day 72 of your no fizzy drinks journey, so I thought I’d call an expert for advice.
Rohit: *Laughs* I'm not an expert on that. I'm just trying to get rid of my own addiction. My main advice is that the need of getting rid of addiction should genuinely come from inside you, if you take your motivation from what other people say, or from seeing my journey, that’s good, but then this will not stay for long. You know what I mean?
Yeah. So I guess it comes down to external versus internal motivation.
Yeah, exactly. That's the main thing. the mind has to be stronger than the feelings we have when doing those things – drinking fizzy drinks, smoking, drugs, sugar, whatever. The main motivation must come from inside you, but of course the support of people will also help. I really wanted to get rid of this addiction to fizzy drinks because I have been trying to do this for so long and I haven't been able to do so. So I thought if I start putting videos, I'll be more accountable to people. For me, if I'm accountable for people, if they are trusting me, and if I'm being honest with them, that works for me.
I'm lucky that I'm getting so much support, which is good. But that was not my intention to get famous or anything like this. I honestly try to be genuine with everyone since the beginning.
I think that's exactly why you've gathered this much support, TikTok is full of people that are trying to get famous and viral and then there’s you who just posts videos about quitting fizzy drinks, and it just all feels so genuine and wholesome.
Thank you very much. Honesty is the most important thing. May I ask how old you are?
Oh so you are young actually. I’m 41. It’s good that you are trying to fight this addiction at a young age. As you know already, whether you have chocolate or cake or ice cream or biscuits or whatever. Sugar is bad. But the addiction itself is the problem, not the sugar. Addiction is what I’m talking about, and addiction means more, more of everything.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first few days?
With every craving, the most difficult thing is the association with different situations. For example, I was having fizzy drinks all the time when I was going out, when I was watching footy or when I was having my favourite Nando's chicken. So the biggest challenge I faced was at the same spots. In one of my videos, I did say that I went to Nando's recently, but I had water, I did not have fizzy drink.
I saw that! Good job.
Thank you, so the point is that the biggest challenge for anyone – for you, for me – is we will find ourselves in situations that trigger our addiction, but if you're really genuine that you want to change, then these situations will not disturb you.
Well Rohit, I feel inspired already, and not just from our chat today, but from your entire journey so far, and I feel like you’ve done that to a lot of people.
Thanks for the support, because the support I get from you people is more important for me because this never happened before to me ever. I never stopped fizzy drinks for 72 days in my life ever in my 41 years of life!
That’s amazing. Hell yeah!
Yeah. And now it's happening and a lot of credit goes to you guys, the people who give me support. And please let me know how you go with your journey.
I’ll tell you what, they say never meet your heroes. Well in this case that couldn’t be further from the truth. The incredibly pleasant and wholesome Rohit we’ve grown to love throughout his public TikTok journey is the same Rohit that spoke to me. 15 wholesome minutes of pure joy and motivation.
Buoyed by Rohit’s words of wisdom, as well as his amiable demeanour, the next few days were actually easier than I anticipated. But still, they weren’t entirely without challenge. Mornings in particular were annoying. See, usually, my morning coffee would be a big massive fuck-off mocha with four shots and enough chocolate to offend even the most Swiss among us, this concoction would ensure that each morning was both disgusting and transcendent. It was tough adjusting to life with a regular ol’ flat white or latte with… no sugar. How fucking depressing.
Buuut on the plus side, holy hell did my mental clarity boost. During my first week I felt like my brain was on steroids. I was much more focused, and my usual mid arvo mental crash was gone. And it wasn’t just my mind that was feeling the boost. With the absence of soccer, I’ve taken to going on fairly longish (for me anyway) runs on Sundays during lockdown. Usually, I’m maxed out at around 8 – 10km. But for some reason, and maybe it was just a coincidence, or a freak good day, but I bloody went and smashed my distance record – and look, I love beers and cigarettes just as much as I love soccer, so I was fairly stoked with a nice Sunday 12k. Lovely stuff.
The first few days of week two were a slog, and honestly, if I didn’t have Rohit in my corner, I might’ve broke. I still had some Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, and it was begging me to demolish. Time to call coach Rohit.
Rohit, congrats on another successful week! What's been your biggest challenge this week?
Ah thank you, the main challenge is when we don’t hit milestones. Day one, then one week, then one month, these are all milestones. This week I had my 70th day – 10 weeks. But then the next day is 71, 72, 73, these aren’t so much milestones, but you have to be motivated. Every day can't be a milestone.
Every day can't be a milestone. That’s a good analogy for life in general I reckon. So have your fizzy drinks urges gotten easier to deal with over the course of your journey? I still want chocolate pretty much every night after dinner.
If anything has gone to an addiction stage, then of course it's hard to get rid of it. You know, some people say, if you do something for 21 days continuously, then it becomes a habit, have you heard of something like that before?
Yeah I actually have heard that somewhere before! That goes into what I was going to ask you – basically everyone in my life has been asking me how long I plan to keep this up, and I’ve never had a solid answer, but I think you just gave me one. 21 days no sugar. I think that’s a good goal. Do you have a set goal for when you’ll have a fizzy drink again?
Yeah. When people ask me how long you want to continue this? All I say all the time is my next date is one hundred days, but there is no finish line for me. The point is to get rid of the addiction. it doesn't depend on how long you want to continue this, once you can have a healthy relationship you can come back to it, the journey before won’t be wasted.
You know what I just realised? One thing I actually miss most is my niece’s brownies, she’s nine years old and she makes the best brownies. So I think actually I might try for 21 days, like you said, break the addiction, and then have some of my niece’s brownies.
Yeah, exactly. And the biggest thing you have to remember is when you're doing 21 days, and then if you have a brownie, that doesn't mean that those 21 days got wasted! 21 days is a big achievement. Now you have done one week, do you feel any changes?
Yeah I feel weirdly fitter, my running has improved heaps, and I don’t get 3pm mental crashes like I used to – my mental alertness feels amazing.
Oh wow. That's good. Congratulations on that. When I started this journey, after a few days, I literally found changes in my physical body, my stomach is going in - my body used to feel a lot bloated because I was having sugar and fizz like soda and all that, but now I feel better. I felt the same thing when I went to the shopping centre, before I used to look at the places to sit rather than walking. But then since I started the journey I'm going and I'm walking for two hours, three hours, and still not getting as much tired as before.
I also think about the things which we don't see – the repair happening inside the body, which is something we don’t feel immediately.
Right, so I guess the key to staying motivated is not to focus too much on the physical results, but rather to know that even if you can’t see it, all the good stuff is happening internally.
Exactly. Don't worry about the result. Just do it! That's the main thing. Do it – if you’re doing good then the good will come to you anyway, if you do bad, the bad will come to you anyway.
And while Rohit advised not to focus on the physical results, they were hard to ignore. My skin cleared up completely by the end of week two – I didn’t really have much pimples to begin with, but I did have one annoying one that would always pop up on the same spot on my left temple every time I ate bad or was stressed. That sucker was completely gone. And then, that Sunday, I broke my record again? What the hell was going on in my guts? I was feeling amazing.
Feeling amazing, but also feeling like The Hulk wanting to smash everything in sight if I didn’t eat some damn Nutella soon. Fuck man I’ve never craved anything more than I craved Nutella on week two. I’m not joking, I was opening my Nutella jar just to smell it. But I couldn’t break, by this point disappointing Rohit was my biggest fear – not that he would be disappointed because he’s such a supportive energy, but still, I couldn’t let him down. Just one week to go.
By mid-week three, my cravings were gone, I’d go whole days without thinking about sugar until someone would bring it up and I’d be like, ‘oh yeah, that thing, yeah it’s going good’. And towards the end of the week I realised something – the tightness I’d been carrying for months around my upper back and neck was gone! It was something I had just accepted was part of my life, and yet somewhere along the way my back had fixed itself. I felt so springy and bendy and here’s the kicker:
What the actual fuck, I couldn’t believe how good my body felt – 14km and I could’ve easily kept going were it not for a damn blister. The results were keeping me motivated and, besides almost slipping up on day 20, it was all clear sailing. Ultimately, I didn’t need to call Rohit during week three, but I did call him on day 21 to let him know that I’d made it, and to thank him for being such a legend.
Rohit I did it. 21 days and feelin’ fine! How have you been? You're close to 100 days now.
Yeah. Close to 100 days, getting there and I'm excited. Congratulations for you as well completing 21 days. That's a good achievement. That's a big achievement to be honest.
I can’t believe it man. It's far exceeded my expectations, but of course my achievement pales in comparison to what you've been doing. One thing I'm realizing though is it does get easier as time goes by.
Exactly. As time goes by it becomes a lot easier. How are you feeling with your sugar craving now?
So, the cravings have almost completely dissipated. They're not really coming that often, but when they do come, they're intense. They're really intense. Last night, honestly, I almost broke. I had a tub of ice cream in my hand and I was thinking ‘20 days is close enough’. And I don't know, man, I just almost broke, but then I thought I have to stick it out. I got to do at least 21 just for me personally, to give me that little boost of willpower for the future.
And you did it. Good. Are you going to have some today?
Yeah. So actually my niece made me brownies earlier, I’m going to annihilate them all tonight. And going forward, I’ve decided to just have sugar on Sunday arvos and evenings, after my long runs, which by the way I don’t know what’s going on man but I beat my record again. 14km – I've never ran that far in one go in my life.
That is good! See how much energy and stamina and motivation you are getting now, which is really, really good. I don't mind the cheat days to be honest. If you want to have a cheat day after Sunday when you run and then you accumulate all the things throughout the week to enjoy it on Sunday, that's actually a good idea as well because that will work for you. And that will give you more motivation to wait for the next Sunday.
Yeah. And I guess I've already achieved my goal – this morning I could’ve put sugar in my coffee, and I told you last time you know how much I love mochas, well this morning I was like, nah, I don’t actually want sugar in my coffee. Insane!
Wow! The good point is at least you can clearly see yourself getting away from sugar a lot now, because as you said you could have put sugar in your coffee, but you didn't. So that means now you're not that attached to sugar as you were before.
Yeah. Honestly, overall, I feel like it's been a huge success. A few nights ago I even had a dream that someone was giving me M&Ms, they were pouring M&Ms into my hands and I was about to eat them… and then I was like, "No, I can't have sugar." And I rejected it. I even stopped eating sugar in my dreams.
Oh, wow. That's good, so that means that feeling is getting into your subconscious now. Which is a good thing, and you’re keeping that in your consciousness when you run and when you do 14km and break your previous record, those sort of things are affecting your subconscious, you can feel you’re getting healthier. It's all about the mind, to be honest. It's all about the mind. Whether you think you can or you think you can't, both ways you are right, have you heard of that quote?
I have yeah, and I really agree with that. I really like that quote. It all comes down to the willpower. So now that we’re close to the big 100, are you planning on having a fizzy drink in celebration?
No, I think that will be betraying the people who trust me because many people after they look at my journey, they have started their own journey. But I don't crave it anymore anyway, and I really want to continue this because I want to make my personal best as much as I can, help people as much as I can.
Well Rohit, look, I've got to thank you. Not just for today, but I've really enjoyed all of our conversations in the past few weeks.
Thank you very much. Congratulations on 21 days. That's a big achievement as well. You can see that difference anyway, inside you. So that's a big congratulations from me, honestly.
Thank you, Rohit. I appreciate that. And it means a lot coming from you. You inspired me to go on this journey and in a way you've kind of changed my life a little bit, so yeah. Thank you.
Thank you very much. That really means a lot to me. Now I am more motivated to continue my journey which I'm really looking forward to.
Awesome, Rohit. Well, you look after yourself now that we've got this extra lockdown, just be safe and be well, and I hope you and your family take care.
Perfect. Thank you, David. We'll talk again soon.
And with that, I hung up the phone, and ate enough brownies and cupcakes to feed a village.
Followed closely by an entire tub of Ben & Jerry's. I felt like a disgusting, ultra-satisfied pig-sloth for the rest for the night. And then, the next morning, I had a medium latte, no sugar.
It's all about balance.