I was standing in line for a carton of cigarettes over 10 years ago. I was a month shy of my 28th birthday. The person in front of me turned and with a sly smile told me that the government was going to be raising the taxes on smokes. And everyone in line was going to outsmart the gov by buying several cartons at the cheaper price.
When it was my turn to purchase my stash, I purchased my customary carton. And I informed the man behind the counter that it was my last.
I have a real problem with substances that I “have” to have. If the government raised the taxes on peanut butter I’d stop eating it. Full stop. But those cigarettes, those addictive little paper sticks had me trapped. And I had to break my chains.
I feel the same way about chocolate. I always justified my sweet consumption because my sweets were always healthy. High end dark chocolate, dates stuffed with nut butter, maple syrup sweetened pumpkin pie. I had transcended Oh Henry! bars and Timbits but I still had a wicked sweet tooth.
Sweets punctuated my meals. Gave me a little comfort when I was feeling stressed out or anxious. There were always at my side in celebration. But like cigarettes, I had a tough time walking away from them. And I’m not out of the woods yet, though I am moving towards the edge of the forest.
Other than a 1/4 cup of berries in my shakes I’ve stopped eating sugar. That means no apple mid-morning, no chocolate square melting on my tongue after lunch, no banana before my workout.
Here’s what I’ve been experiencing this week:
According to the book “I Quit Sugar”, eating more healthy fat can help with sugar cravings by bring better satiety. This has been helpful. I’ve been enjoying peanut butter in my shakes, meat, nuts. It’s been great. I feel like it’s given me a bit of license to enjoy some rich tasting food (within reason of course!)
Sugar has a lot of Yin energy, according to Chinese medicine. I’ve been upping my meditation and have started doing yoga again. These gentle exercises are non-food ways of increasing my yin energy. And bonus – I’m less aggressive when I meditate instead of eat sugar.
It’s not easy to quit sugar. It’s important to be honest with myself. I’m not going to crunch on a celery stick and tell myself and those around me that it’s exactly like a salted caramel from Purdy’s. Because it’s not. Nor am I going to start baking date-sweetened treats. Trying to replace the sweet stuff is transferring the craving onto something else. It either keeps the addiction simmering on the back burner, ready to make a comeback at a later date or it just creates a dependency on a new sugary substance.
I’ve been told that it’s sweeter on the other side. I’m looking forward to it.