I ate too much birthday cake.
It made me cranky and bloated and disgruntled. I asked Steve to help me with my sugar problem. We brainstormed some ideas: I could quit sugar, or take a day or a week off sugar… I’ve done Semaines Sans Sucre in the past, and it’s been great, but I want a long-term solution, one that wouldn’t feel so rigid.
We did some research and were reminded that the suggested daily allowance for women is 25g. That’s approximately one pack of Reeses (3 cups), or one full dessert.
On Day 2 of my Sugar Budget project, I was faced with a valuable lesson:
Don’t just eat it because it’s there/free.
There was a free breakfast buffet, and I would normally go for the (stale) pastries because they’re there, and be inevitably disappointed.
But I knew we were going to my favourite restaurant in London, Sketch, for afternoon tea, and I was saving my sugar budget for that.
In the morning, AC and I found a new tearoom, Carmelia’s, and they had one of the most lavish displays of interesting cakes. ‘I’ll have to come back to try these later,’ I thought.
It dawned on me that shopping for sugar is no different from any other kind of shopping.
I wouldn’t look at a display of beautiful handbags and think ‘If I don’t buy one, I’ll be depriving myself and missing out!’ I would note my interest, save my pennies, and spend them thoughtfully.
Why don’t I do the same with sugar? Why do I feel like I have to try every treat that presents itself to me for fear of missing out?
Sugar cravings should be dealt with in the same way that I deal with cravings for high fashion.
Some lessons I’ve learned from a few weeks of minding my Sugar Budget
I don’t NEED sugar every day.
Sometimes I get to the end of the day and think ‘Oh I didn’t have any sugar today!’
This is immense progress. It used to be that after every meal or savoury snack I would think ‘dessert time’!
(In college, I would initiate group outings to go get ‘breakfast dessert’ at Ben’s Cookies).
I’ve realised that I save and save and at the end of the day, if nothing worthwhile presents itself, I don’t need to spend my sugar budget.
It helps to be a snob.
Having Sketch to look forward to was the ultimate treat. It raised the bar so that any morsel of sugar I encountered in the morning was worth passing over.
I don’t need to clean my dessert plate.
While I did a great job saving up my Sugar Budget for Sketch, I still made the mistake of eating selectively based on what I thought I could save for the next day.
What I would have done differently is have a nibble at everything, and enjoy my favourites. Even though I had ‘invested’ in the sugary treats, I enjoyed the savoury ones even more!
I don’t want to quit sugar. I want to enjoy it sensibly as a treat rather than a necessity.
Knowing myself, I’m very rigid, and very strict and hard on myself when I don’t keep my personal promises. (Upholder alert!). I would get too obsessed over Quitting Sugar, and I would get too anxious over eating ‘less sugar’. 25g is quantifiable, even if I’m estimating.
Maybe sugar isn’t as great as I thought.
Paying attention to when I consume sugar has helped me notice that while it’s delicious, it also directly correlates to feeling grumpy, tired, and bloated. And I judge people for drinking too much when they know it will give them hangovers…
P.S. I chronicle my Sugar Budget on Instagram Stories.