This year my family is focusing on one area a month that we can work on minimizing. Coming off of the holidays, the first logical focus area for us was minimizing sugar. With all the sugar and desserts and candy for the holidays, I got a bit sugared out anyway. So I was ready to go.
A little bit about why we picked sugar: I had gestational diabetes with all three of my pregnancies which leads to a greater chance of diabetes. Patrick also is at a pretty high risk to get it as well. And considering we are predisposed obviously means our children are too. I have also seen in myself and my family other effects of too much sugar:
- Not resting well
- Mental fog
- Depressed feelings
- Painful bowel movements
It might be too much information, but I’m trying to make a case here. It feels like my duty to help my children learn restraint around sugar and improve our family’s overall health.
I’m not saying that we will never have sugar. I’m not trying to cut it out completely. But for me and my children, we have little self control when it comes to sweets. Unless I have rules in place that guide me, I eat extremely unhealthfully.
So for this month, my husband and I have set rules in place:
- We are only using pure maple syrup, raw honey, dates, and bananas as sweeteners for things.
- We are avoiding processed foods as much as possible. This means it will not be in our house and we will not seek it out but if for some reason it is our only option, it’s not worth stressing over.
- And we are only allowing ourselves 1 sweet thing (drink or dessert type food item) per week.
My hope with these rules is to be sort of like a Whole 30 plan but less restrictive. The reason I like the Whole 30 plan is because it is so strict and there are clear lines where you have to say no and yes to certain foods. No to sugar and dairy and beans, etc. Yes to vegetables because you have to fill up your belly with something! I wanted to draw clear lines for myself and stick to them, just not be as restrictive as Whole 30.
My birthday is in this month so I made my birthday and the day before an exception. While I was hoping to be reasonable, I did eat way too much sugar. I do think I ate less sugar than I would have but still, not good.
By day 3 of January I felt like I already said no to over indulging multiple times. The rules (and my husband supporting me) helped me think through what I was craving and what to say no to.
Similar to when I tried to do the Whole 30 diet, I felt cravings of sugar and what I couldn’t eat. For the first 2 and a half to 3 weeks, I stuck pretty well to the rules. By the third week, I was not having only 1 sweet a week and by the fourth week, I was really craving any kind of dessert I could get every day. So much so right before I wrote this post I had a large handful of mini marshmallows I found tucked away in our cabinet! I feel like Buddy the Elf with his four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.
The main thing to pull from how I feel after this month is that I am very addicted to sugar and I want it to not have a hold on me like it does.
For the first couple weeks, I felt clearer headed and less down in the dumps. But now, being the end of the fourth week, I have had more depressed feelings and lack of motivation. It’s really quite striking how different I have felt, now that I have pinpointed sugar as a component of my diet that negatively affects me.
I lost sight of the reasons why I wanted to cut down on sugar and so I lost motivation to follow through. Also, my body clearly needs to wean off sugar some more. And I’m trying to figure out if I need more flexibility in my rules or even more strict rules to help me stick to it. For now, my husband and I have decided to try to stick to one sweet food and one sweet drink per week for the month of February and see how that goes.
I discovered this month in my attempt to have less sugar that I don’t mind black coffee and I love Flat White espresso drinks! Yay Starbucks 🙂
What has worked for you to help you say no to sugar? I’d love to hear your thoughts.