Frosted Fingers – A Sweet Reflection.

(Warning: this is a wordy, no-photos post, if you don’t like to read then this isn’t for you! :-P)

Well I can safely say if feels good to be able to eat sugar again. No surprises there! It’s been a whole week so I can finally treat myself to my favourite ultra-indulgent treat: nutella. It definitely felt all the better for having some time off the sweet stuff, it felt like more of a special food to only be had occasionally (although I did eat rather a lot of it haha). So I thought I’d write a post about my sugar-free week with my thoughts on how it affected me and what I’ve decided to do now.

First of all I have to say that giving up sugar for a week was really not that difficult. Yeah I fancied cake when I met a friend in my favourite cafe in town, yes I wanted one of my sister’s After Eights and I definitely missed baking cakes but it wasn’t hard to decide not to. Okay so I only did it for a week, which isn’t long at all, but I went from having a couple of sugary treats a day to no sugar except fruit for seven days so it wasn’t ridiculously easy.

Having almost no cravings for sweet treats made me realise that I don’t need sugar, physically or emotionally! I guess I kind of knew that anyway, but in a way it was good to have it reaffirmed by my little self experiment. This wasn’t the only realisation I had whilst abstaining from sugar, here are a few more:

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a sweet treat a couple of times a week, in fact it makes me happy, therefore there is lots that is right about it ;-) However what is important about treating yourself is making sure it is just that, a treat. I think sometimes when we eat something a little less healthy, we grab it and eat it quickly, we don’t savour it enough. So I’m going to make sure that each time I eat something sugary and indulgent I eat it on a plate, sit down,take my time and enjoy it.
  • I use some food as a type of emotional crutch. This isn’t news for me in terms of sugar often being used as an emotional prop for people going through a difficult time, but it’s a revelation for me personally. My relationship with food has been incredibly complicated for the past six years, quite a while when you consider I’m still only nineteen. When I was younger I preferred savoury treats, I don’t know exactly when I started developing a huge sweet-tooth but I now love to indulge on sugary foods. I’m fussy about which sweet foods, I don’t particularly like actual sweets, or thick chocolate bars, what I love are cakes, chocolate, ice cream… And that’s great, except that I don’t just eat these lovely goodies when I really fancy them, I also eat them when I’m feeling low or when my energy levels plummet. Not so good!
  • Although I do eat the odd sugary food each week, perhaps every other day for things like a cupcake or a cookie, I eat pretty well. I think of my diet is mostly healthy, but sometimes I worry that the 90/10 balance I strive for in life isn’t enough – I worry that the sweet treats I eat are having a negative effect on my body. But the thing is, physically I didn’t feel any different last week in comparison to the week before. Clearly my body is happy eating some sugar, here and there.

So what am I changing?

Well, mostly my outlook. I want to view treats as special things to be savoured and really enjoyed, I want to carry on aiming for a balance of 90% clean and healthy foods, and 10% less healthy, more indulgent foods. I want to try to detach myself more from the emotional response I have conditioned myself to have towards food. Other than fuel and enjoyment, there shouldn’t be any other emotions involved, no anger, no guilt, no worry…!

I’m glad I did my sugar-free week, I learnt a few interesting things about myself and the relationship I have with my food. I definitely won’t be binging or restricting anytime soon :-)

What do you think of my realisations?
Do you consider your relationship with food to be healthy?

Have you ever used food, or the absence of food, as an emotional crutch?

 

10 comments

  1. i agree – sweets should be something we enjoy and savor. i think i have a pretty good relationship with food. i believe in balance and giving in to cravings. of course there are days that i eat way more sweets than i would have liked, but i think it balances back out over time. i like your 90-10 ratio. It’s a good standard to live by because a small amount of sweets can go a long way.

  2. I think it’s really interesting that you didn’t notice a difference between a sugary and non-sugar week. I only really noticed a difference after I over-indulged in sugar, a slice of cake or a couple of squares of chocolate was fine.
    I find that the more sugar I have the more I want, so hopefully savouring sugar as a treat will help with that.

    1. Yes, this is how I feel, too.

      Because traditional desserts are sweeter than my homemade desserts, I definitely find myself feeling headachy and dehydrated after eating them.

      “So what am I changing?

      Well, mostly my outlook.”

      I like this. I like how you consistently talk about balancing sweets in your life – it’s not that they’re 100% evil. It’s just that they should be treated as a treat.

      Thank you for sharing!

  3. I think this is great! You are listening to your body and it seems that it is pretty tolerant to sugar so why not enjoy those treats! Savouring more unhealthy foods is something I’ve learned to do more since I lost weight its definitely a better way to go than just chugging something down!

  4. I love everything about this post–Especially about actually savoring treats! I realized I do the same thing, when I eat something “less healthy” I tend to scarf it, rather than savor. You say you’ve had a hard relationship with food, but your attitude now just seems so reasonable and well-thought-out!

  5. Thank you for the recap and explaining your true thoughts on it all Sophie! Savoring treats… a simple enough concept, yet I one I certainly have difficulty actually achieving! When I start to eat something that I deem “unsafe” I consume it so fast to almost get it out of the way, though of course I am not enjoying it in the slightest. Thanks for the reminder and I am impressed with that you did here girl

  6. I think the 90/10 balance is really good, and it’s great that you are finally learning what works best for you. I can empathise with you so much; I have been struggling with adrenal gland fatigue (probably not as bad as Chronic pain however), and on the days when I was hit hard and couldn’t really move, and was anxious as anything, I would reach to quick foods which were usually sugary. Then I overhauled my diet and cut out dairy, gluten, and limited sugar. While physically I felt better, I was more depressed than ever. I couldn’t eat with my family or friends. So, I introduced gluten and dairy back in with no problem, and was a bit more lenient with my sugar, and it has worked well for me so far. I think the fact that you only went off it for a week is really good. It’s when we challenge ourselves to a month or more that deprivation and depression set it. Have you found that things taste a bit sweeter now?

  7. Beautifully written post Sophie! I definitely think how you eat is considered healthy. I think the most unhealthy part about eating is the feeling of regret and guilt. You should enjoy food; it shouldn’t be a stressful experience. I’m actually struggling now because I have such a huge sweet tooth I feel like I haven’t been eating enough real food. Sure I eat at least one serving each of fruit and veggies daily but I feel like my bodies been lacking on the protein and savory food so I’ve been trying to break those habits. For example, eating real lunches like turkey sandwiches or chicken pasta instead of dark chocolate and peanut butter.

  8. I think I need to do a sugar free week. Mostly because sugar is such an emotional crutch for me – I want it when I’m tired, stress, low, bored. Also, i’ve noticed that since I’ve been pregnant I’m super-sensitive to it and even small amounts can make me feel sick quite easily.

    Well done on your sugar free work, and I love your healthy perspective on it all :)

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