Tonight’s been a night of challenging habits. Habits which were in place for so long, the impulse is still fully there, though most of the causes, or reasons behind the habit, have changed.
I have been a sugar addict, as well as a Mountain Dew addict, for decades now. For the past several years I’ve known that it’s an increasingly bad habit of mine. I would eat and drink more sugar each day it seemed, and yet still moan about my weight and moan about how I could never lose it.
Then I quit sugar. Quitting sugar was originally inspired by my bestie Lou, but like all things I went a bit research crazy. I’m now fully convinced, of my own accord, that sugar is toxic in anything but the tiniest amounts and I have, as much as one can reasonably do in today’s modern society, quit sugar. The husband is on board (which is fantastic as it’s double the support) and the kids are being slowly weaned off it as well.
Now that I’m roughly two months into it (and 6.6 kg – or 15 pounds – lighter for the effort) virtually all of the temptation sweet foods – even Mountain Dew – had over me is gone. It literally is easy for me to pass on. The habits behind the sugar cravings (other than physical addiction) are still very much there however.
Tonight, as he has been known to do, my husband completely ticked me off. Really it’s an accumulation of things, and the ‘why’ is not important. I was going out anyway, and stormed out of the house and down to the corner connivence store – often my first stop on any trip out. Still seething, I stood in front of the soda chillers and was very tempted to grab a Mountain Dew (or two) and to say the hell with it.
But only for a moment. About that time I realized that I didn’t actually want the taste of the Mountain Dew. I wanted the high it used to give me, and furthermore I wanted a big fat ‘so there’ over my husband – despite the fact my annoyance with him had absolutely nothing to do with diet, sugar, or weight. Realizing that was all I needed – and I moved on to my now-normal Diet Coke.
Similarly… I used to begin every morning with a Mountain Dew. Literally my first stop after rolling out of bed – sometimes even before the toilet – would be a nice cold Mountain Dew. It ‘woke me up’, got things moving, and started my day. Two months into it, I still have the craving for something cold and sweet on getting up. Originally I switched to a sugar-free V drink, but I think that won’t last much longer. I’m finding now that I very rarely can finish the V – even when I have the smaller size – because there’s just no appeal after the first sip or two. I know realistically I should be drinking water, but I no longer see water (instead of Mountain Dew or even sugar-free V) first thing in the morning as akin to Mission Impossible. Rather, I think it’s quite doable.
Finally, tonight at a knitting night, there were several attractive looking, home baked dessert goods on offer. I particularly drooled over one – a cake with a crumbed oat topping. While lusting after it, I realized that I didn’t want the cake – I wanted the oats. And of course eating the cake in order to have the oats is a bit silly, particularly when I can come home and eat sugar free wholegrain oats to my heart’s content. Thus, the cakes were easily passed on as well. Even the chocolate didn’t tempt me. Seeing as I was indeed a bit peckish though, I happily helped myself to a handful of water crackers with a variety of toppings – cheese, avocado, and pesto, which left me feeling both indulged and satisfied.
Now that I’m on the other side of it, I find it really quite hard to believe the pull that sugar had over me. Instead I indulge in moreish, savory offerings, which are usually better quality and better for me anyway.
The habits I associated with sugar are clearly still in place. But the unearthing of the habits is letting me discover reasons why I ate that I never even was aware of, and better yet – ways to deal with the reasons at the same time as finding more genuinely tasty and satisfying ways to change the habit.
I haven’t just ‘given up’ sugar. I’ve discovered a better way of life.