(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?