60-Day Sugar Buster Challenge
Could you put a bar of chocolate in your pantry and eat just one square every day?
As I read this sentence in Gretchen Rubin’s bestselling book, “Better Than Before”, I said aloud “Nope. Not a chance.” I don’t keep chocolate, or sweets, in my house for this very reason. The thought of sugar on a shelf calls to me like a siren song all day, until my last bit of will power is extinguished and I scarf the whole thing. Many times, I don’t even really want it. I’ll eat it so I can just. stop. thinking about it. Up until reading this book, I just thought I had terrible self control. But now I know that I’m just an Abstainer.
For Abstainers, removing the chocolate (or wine/cheese/insert your kryptonite here) altogether is much, MUCH easier than having a small amount. Trevor, on the other hand, is a total Moderator. He hardly gives a thought to the chocolate (or ice cream, or cheese doodles, etc) unless he’s in the moment and thinks, “Hey, a bit of that would be good right now.” He can stop after a serving or two, and put it out of his mind effortlessly for days, weeks, even months, until he wants it again.
Changing this way of seeing myself (bad at self control vs. simply wired differently) has been a TOTAL GAME CHANGER. All the diet books and articles I’ve ever read have preached moderation over absention, but what if that just doesn’t work for some people? Looking back on my past Whole30 experiences, I realize I didn’t really miss sugar once the Whole30 was established in my mind. Knowing it wasn’t an option made me feel way more FREE.
I’ve created a challenge for myself to hold on to this freedom. I’m a week in to a 60 day sugar buster challenge: no added sugars of any kind (even natural ones like honey or maple syrup, because even those are hard for me to control), except in trace amounts in things like bacon. Fruit is fine for me, as I don’t eat too much of it. (Juni, on the other hand…)
So far, it’s been extremely easy to pass on sweets, because the decision making has been taken off the table. I don’t have to agonize over what a serving size is, worry that I’ll lose control and eat too much, or think about the consequences (from doing two Whole30s and numerous mini resets, I know that eating too much sugar makes me depressed and anxious for a day or even two after.) Knowing how my system works and figuring out how to rig it so that it serves me, feels victorious and sneaky and even a little fun.
This isn’t a long-term strategy. I don’t think I can or want to give up sugar forever. But it’s a helpful experiment to learn from, and my body is already grateful to take a break from the sweet stuff. If you’re interested in learning more about your tendencies and how to harness the power of habits, I highly recommend you read “Better Than Before.” And comment below whether you’re an Abstainer or Moderator!