The last week went pretty quickly so it’s time to recap!
Honestly, this challenge wasn’t terribly hard or a huge change from my normal routine. That’s encouraging, but it felt limiting because it is. I dreamed one night that I had cheated and eaten a bunch of Hershey Kisses out of the freezer. On waking up, I found no evidence that I’d actually done so in my sleep, thankfully.
After a few days, I started to notice just how often I walk by Saint Cupcake, Cacao and Coco Donuts. They’re not places I go particularly often but are my go-to choices when I want cupcakes (try the toasted coconut), drinking chocolate and donuts, respectively. Since when did I walk by them multiple times a day? The answer is always, but they kept jumping out at me because I knew I couldn’t get myself a treat. I may get myself a celebratory cupcake, and then the obsession should abate. Even though we all know you’re not supposed to reward yourself with food. Doing a food challenge doesn’t seem like an effective dieting technique because of the risk you’ll overdo it once the taboo is lifted. Maybe this is an insight into why traditional dieting doesn’t work for most people.
By last night, I couldn’t get sweets off the brain. My guess is that’s again just because I couldn’t have them. I did make a couple of sugar free treats during the week, but temptation is everywhere. Maybe staying off the sugar for longer would have fixed the fixation. It’s hard not to focus on what you know you can’t have.
I have to say having lots of fruit on hand was a huge help. Many times when I wanted cake or a cookie, I would peel a couple of clementines and have those. They’re cute, delicious and peeling them and taking off the little pithy strings is really distracting. Those babies kept me from being miserable more than a few times. I also bought some blueberries (from Chile), and made sure to have some persimmon puree on my morning cereal. Plus lots of pears from the farmers market.
Even though a no sugar diet isn’t very far off what I have normally, I’m really happy to get back to what Mark Bittman calls “sane
eating.” Basically, be sensible—like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes most of the time, but nothing is totally off limits. He talks in his book Food Matters about having a cheeseburger with fries and a soda–every few months. If you figure that meal easily has 1000 calories, a few times a year is plenty. And something like this tangerine-sized orange roll- at the Fehrenbacher Hof- is fine every now and then. I enjoyed every bite of that this morning.
I’m glad I did this challenge even just to see how hard it is to pick something and eliminate it from your diet. That step isn’t very hard, but I underestimated how limited I’d feel. It’s much nicer having the option of having something sweet and just deciding to have something else.