My decision to give up sugar was pretty spontaneous.
It was Thanksgiving. I returned from nursing my infant son to find that my family had finished dessert and was clearing the table. As a new mom with plenty of remaining baby weight (though many women are perfectly healthy and at peace with additional weight), I had recently decided to lose it and also be more mindful of what I ate. “I actually don’t need this dessert,” I thought to myself.
In that moment, I made a decision.
Since it was the holiday season, I knew that more cake and cookies were just around the corner. So I decided not to eat sugar until Christmas—I figured I could do anything for three weeks and might learn a lot. I called it a “sweets retreat.”
I made it to Christmas without having any sugar. And to my surprise, it wasn’t all that hard.
In fact, it was liberating! I didn’t have any wavering because I’d already made the decision, which freed me up to feel more present. I stopped considering nibbling on a scone or muffin during a meeting. And I didn’t have to politely taste a friend’s homemade baked goods that didn’t necessarily appeal anyways to avoid offending them. It was nothing personal—I was just on my “sweets retreat.”
So I decided to make my sweets retreat an annual challenge. And after a few years, I began extending it to New Year’s Day instead of Christmas.
But I eventually realized that going back to sugar was never as sweet as I expected. I remember going to a pastry shop one year, buying a tartlet, and taking only two moderately enjoyable bites. My taste buds had adjusted, and now I was satisfied with very little.
The “sweets retreat” grew longer and longer over time. Eventually, the prolonged breaks caused the urge to eat sweets to dissipate almost entirely.
Today, I don’t miss sweets. I just don’t eat them.
This doesn’t mean I don’t choose to enjoy a square or two of organic dark chocolate. (I’ve heard it’s actually good for you.) And if my husband and I are out enjoying a nice dinner, we might split a dessert if the options are really exceptional. But even that is pretty rare.
If you’d like to craft your own “sweets retreat,” here are a few ideas that helped me:
Whether you simply reduce the amount of sweets in your diet or do a “sweets retreat” of your own, there’s hardly anything sweeter than being more mindful and intentional about what you eat 🙂