“I’m almost afraid to write this because it makes it real, but my new goal is to be practically sugar free by 2013… Hopefully next year I’ll be as ambivalent about sugar as I am about bread or pasta. I’ll report back to you on that.”
In that post, I confessed my sugar addiction and laid down a game plan to combat it. You can read my thought process here.
So, almost one year later, how did I do?
PRETTY AWESOME, that’s how!
I didn’t do perfectly, and I still struggle with cravings (especially when I’m bored, anxious, or sad) but I can safely call myself a “recovered sugar addict.” I can pass by the cookie aisle at the grocery store without feeling that undeniable pull. I don’t have to run out to the frozen yogurt shop every night to get my “fix.” I can’t remember the last time I bought a pastry from a coffee shop, which used to occur daily.
My game plan was to be prepared with paleo acceptable snacks/treats that would get me past the 10am, 4pm, and 9pm cravings that used to hit like clockwork. My favorite paleo treats to have on hand are chocolate chip cookies, honey roasted nuts, fudge babies, decaf coffee or herbal coffee with erythritol (about 4 months ago I drastically cut down my caffeine intake), paleo popsicles, fresh fruit, a spoonful of almond butter, or a few dark chocolate chips with raisins. Most of these treats do include some sweetener, such as honey, maple, coconut crystals, or sugar alcohol, but they are significantly less sweet and addicting that the processed-sugar packed desserts I was basically living on before. They were sort of like a nicotine patch.
In the beginning, I HAD to have these treats ready to go for all three cravings, but after a few weeks, the cravings subsided and I realized I didn’t NEED the treats, I just wanted them sometimes. I still want them sometimes, and I let myself have them, but I can get through the day without them.
What’s life like after a sugar addiction?
- My taste buds are much more in tuned to different flavors. ”Too sweet” was not even in my vocabulary. For example, I hated when my Korean relatives would serve Asian cakes at parties because they are airier and less sweet than American cakes (such as Devil’s food cake). Now, I think Asian cakes might even be too sweet for me. I can taste and appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits, nuts, and squashes. If I do order a coffee drink from Starbucks, I have to ask for 1/3 the sweetener or less, and sometimes that’s way too sweet for me and I just end up throwing it away.
- Not only are my taste buds more sensitive, but it seems all of my senses can pick up on the subtleties around me. I can take Sisi to the park or lake and enjoy the feel of the sand the sun, and not necessarily have to have an iced mocha or goodie in my hand. I can look forward to vacations for the memories to be made, not for the food. I can worship in Church without daydreaming about the cookies in the Fellowship Hall.
- I have to deal with my emotions. Sugar addiction, like any addiction, helps to numb the pain of life. Coffee, too. Almost like a habit, or even an old friend, sugar and coffee were there when I needed comfort, a burst of energy, or distraction. Now I can’t turn to them. Instead, I talk to real people- therapist, hubby, friends. I’m finding other comforting rituals to help soothe me, like scented candles, herbal tea, and reading.
- I don’t have sugar highs and lows. I don’t need to take naps in the afternoon. The food I eat gives me sustained energy all through the day.
- Lastly, I’m losing weight. I’m almost back to my high school weight, which is a miracle. That’s a whole other topic which I’ll post on next.
Happy New Years! Here’s to setting realistic and attainable resolutions, formulating a game plan, and sticking to it, no matter what.