I believe in the power of New Years Resolutions (or throwing out your intentions to the world no matter the day). And a year ago today I made the decision to give up sugar.
Now I am not one for having much willpower nor is Dedication one of my Super Powers, so I had to go cold turkey on this -one day sugar, the next none.
The reasons for this 2017 resolution were many – from empathy towards a family member with sugar related illness, to my disgust upon reading the US sugar industry shenanigans over the last few decades (since I’m off news for a bit here I won’t dredge up all the articles but you can do so if you like) to my naturopath suggesting that my hand and foot arthrItis could be managed by cutting out sugars.
You will note that though this was a New Years Resolution, it took me until Jan 6 last year to start (yup willpower issues). For me if it is in sight, I will eat it – especially during my 3:00 chocolate craving. So here is what I did:
1. I threw out all sugary items in the house (or gave them to my son to stash in his car and to consume away from my sight. He is also a baker so kindly does his baking when I’m not in the kitchen). This was SO powerful psychologically – instead of deciding to give it up when it was gone (which it never was because I would buy more chocolate), I was now guilted into not buying any more because I had just thrown away so much of it!
2. I told everyone that I don’t eat sugar anymore – this made me accountable to others!
3. Spent the first week drinking a ton of water whenever I had a sugar craving.
4. Satisfied my cravings with nuts or tea or a walk
5. I avoided all sugar substitutes – my goal was to train my taste buds to no longer crave any sugar.
6. I did NOT give up fruits, berries, root veggies though for the first while I avoided the really sweet ones.
7. I did NOT give up my evening half glass of wine or the occasional margarita – I wanted this to be sustainable not something that would make me feel as if I was giving up all of life’s culinary pleasures!
The first week was horrible – just the word chocolate had the power to test my resolve. But after that I realized it wasn’t so bad. If I’d already gone 7 or 10 or 35 days without I could certainly do more. And the idea of having to start over was overwhelming.
Very shortly I realized I no longer missed it, or craved sweet things. A ripe strawberry was dessert, a medjool date – though a bit too sweet for my new taste buds, but when wrapped with prosciutto – divine! And amazingly my arthritis wasn‘t bothering me! Also amazingly, when others have dessert, or my sons baking smells permeate the house it doesn’t faze me.
Fast forward a year, I don’t crave chocolate, the idea of something sweet makes me feel a bit ill and the 2 times I caved and had a sugary bite (one was a delectable apple nut cake with rum sauce I made for a Creative Retreat), it was way too sweet and I actually felt icky the next day.
So where do I go from here?
I’m thinking another year without sugar!