dimanche 30 juin 2013

I Quit Sugar: Week Three

...otherwise known as "AAAAAAAAACOLDTURKEYAAAAAAAA!"

Kidding, kidding, it wasn't that bad. For the most part. In reality, I suspect this was more like an extended week two, in which I ate more fat and had more than a few clumsy slip-ups.

Okay... that depends. Do croissants contain excessive sugar? I was told by a co-worker they were safe, but... if they're not, I seriously messed up my regimen.

The other two slip ups were having tiramisu at an official dinner and half a block of "Turran Duro", a Spanish rock candy with almonds that goes down exceedingly well.

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No, there isn't more to report.

Yes, really.

I was worried about this week, what with it being rife with on-site work, which meant, amongst other things, lengthy periods of time in which I did nothing and attending meals where lots of scrumptuous desserts were present. There was also the going-away-breakfast when I would bring all sorts of sweet goodies to work, and the melodramatic "this is the last time I'll be eating in this canteen" thought that worms its way into your brain as you peruse the lines upon lines of caramel-walnut tarts and orange cakes...

Okay, okay, I'll stop now! Jeez! (My laptop is giving me hell for drooling over the keyboard.)

At this stage, Sarah suggests writing down potential situations where you might crave sugar, and then plan some things ahead to help combat the cravings. And you know what theme emerged when I made my list?

Emotional eating. Almost all the situations where I might crave sugar were connected, in one way or another, to how I felt.

If I'm bored, I eat. If I'm sad, I eat. If there is food going to waste, I eat (thanks, kindergarten!) And if there is some special meaning to the food (as in, on an event I helped organise, or on a breakfast that celebrates my future unemployment, or a treat a colleague bought especially for me) I'll eat. I don't pay attention to whether I'm really hungry or not - I'll eat because... reasons?

Makes sense. You want something, be it action, validation or just a desire to feel full and appreciated, and when the emotional fulfillment isn't there, fill up your stomach! Actually, I did pretty well at my going-away breakfast and then lunch at walnut-tart-grove because of two things:

1/ I'd already eaten (breakfast) so I wasn't ravenously hungry and my (black, decaf) coffee didn't burn a hole in my stomach.

2/ Positivity. My colleagues and friends were extremely sweet to me and while I don't advocate depending on others to define your self-worth, it's good to have your qualities appreciated and being told that yes, you do a good job and yes, you are a good friend.

Society expects girls and women to be nice, competent, reliable, etc. etc. etc. It's the norm, so it makes no sense for others to compliment women on what they think the women already know, or thank them for being what they think the women already are.

And the women themselves? Either scared to ask for a compliment and look insecure, or scared to ask because she's afraid of hearing that she's not doing so well. And assuming that no comment = doing a good job isn't necessarily a good strategy either. What does a good job mean anyway? That you competently executed the bare minimum of tasks required? That you went the extra mile and actually improved the process? And is there such a thing as overdoing it?

This is why feedback is so important, y'all!

*gets off soapbox*

So that's how I stayed off the tarts. (And yes, I will keep bringing up those damn tarts.) Actually, one of the things that make this diet difficult (as well as my possible decision to stay off sugar for good) is the fact that I love cooking and baking. Love it. The fact that I can't sample everything in front of me and jot down the stuff I want to try out is bugging me a lot.

But... maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, sugar is off the market, but stevia isn't. And, once I recalibrated, fruit in moderate quantities wouldn't be so far-fetched either. Tomato-tomahto. Apples and figs. Oranges are not the only fruit. But it's funny that my reaction is, again, emotional rather than physical. The tarts won't be there tomorrow. I won't be there to taste them when I'm off my diet. It makes rule-breaking seem almost like a necessity.

Except it isn't. I don't HAVE TO eat if I'm not hungy. I'm just led to believe I have to eat. So let me make my rebuttal.

False claim: I'm bored, therefore I must eat.

Reality: There's probably something out there for me to accomplish, but I don't want to do it and put it off. The solution is to keep a handy list nearby. (I've been making a lot of lists this week.)

False claim: I'm sad, therefore I must eat.

Reality: I can probably deal with the sadness in other ways - sports if they're available, music if my iPod is charged, a good book, talking to a friend or writing a letter/email. Once I'm occupied, the craving goes away. It's a little like boredom, but heavier.

False claim: I must eat because the food goes to waste.

Reality: We/I/They provided food for more people than expected, or provided for people who didn't come when they said they would. Which is a shame, but it's not mine to take. Me overeating will not magically help someone who goes hungry, and the food, once served, will not be recycled, regardless if the leftovers are in my plate or in the buffet dishes. If the restaurant can, it might give the latter to employees, or to a charity, but there are external food regulations to take care of and pretending the the fault for the waste falls squarely on me helps no-one.

False claim: I must eat because this particular dish will not be there tomorrow.

Reality: It's not lost forever, and anyway, I can always look up the recipe.

False claim: I must eat because someone went out of their way to get this food for me.

Reality: Just because there is a sentiment behind the meal doesn't mean I need to consume all of it, or any. I can share it. I can save it for later. I can even *gasp, choke* decline it, while acknowledging the sentiment. Besides, what does it mean, for someone to go out of their way to get me food? I'm not in a position where I can't get it myself, and if I didn't ask for it, they can't automatically assume I want it. And, yeah, refusing a treat someone brought you from a trip may be awkward, but it's not any different than refusing a glass of soda or saying you'd rather have coffee when your colleague is offering you tea. It's just you having your own preferences and picking something depending on your mood and your needs.

Onto week four then...

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