Quitting sugar? Don’t expect your family’s support.

When you’re trying to change a difficult part of your life, you need all the help you can get. But sometimes the people who love you the most can present some serious hurdles.

I gave up most sugar in February and have been doing well. In fact, it was the best I’ve felt in years. I would waver a little from time to time, but still maintained a generally healthy distance from sweets and foods with added sugars.

I was getting married, though, and planned, wholeheartedly, to devour my wedding cake and any desserts that came along with the celebration. Oh yes, lemon buttercream cake with a mixed berry filling. Sweet cherry ice cream. Homemade pie.

With love and celebration comes dessert.

I had expected to indulge, but after a good bit of excess I’d begun to feel sick. My stomach was uneasy, I was bloated. In fact, I packed on a good six to seven pounds in a matter of two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!! My skin and my sleep have started to really suffer. It was time to put down the dessert spoon, step away from the cake table and begin a little recovery. No, a serious recovery.

I’d just finished saying something to that effect to someone I love dearly, with whom I was having lunch at a certain restaurant that offers 99 cent pastries.

“Do you want some dessert?” he asked.

“No thanks, I’m cutting back on that stuff again,” I said, feeling strong. Resolved.

“Are you sure?” he asked. He was supposed to be eating healthy, he said, but he really wanted something sweet so maybe I could split something with him, he laughed. I declined again.

He came to the table with a cherry turnover and a plastic knife. He cut it in half, shoved it across the table to me and said, “I’m just going to leave this here. Eat it, don’t eat. Whatever.”

Yeah right. He might as well set a beer in front of an alcoholic. Every ounce of my willpower dissolved in that pastry and it was gone before my dad could get two bites of his half. A point to which he surely noted.

It was funny. But really, it was sad and I smiled instead of cried because that’s what people do, right? Sugar addiction isn’t real, right? It’s not a serious issue, right? Just don’t eat so much. Moderation.

I ate it and I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t put it down. And I felt miserable with myself. Some people just don’t understand my complete inability to say no to sugar when it’s just sitting there in front of me with a job to do. If I say no, I’m denying it’s entire purpose on this planet!!! And I’m saying no to an act of love.

I’ll say it again. With love and celebration comes dessert. And when you reject someone’s offer for dessert, it’s almost as if you are rejecting their offer of love. You can see it on their face. So add to your own out of control sugar needs the guilt for saying no and you’ve just entered a whole new level of misery.

I am now in transition out of my relapse and back to the world of reduced/no sugar. I’ve said “No thanks” to dessert offers twice. I’ve given in just as often. But each time I say no I feel stronger. I try to remember that each decision is only that, one decision. It doesn’t stop me from making a different one down the road. I’m going back to what worked for me before and I know I’ll feel better once I stop giving other people power over my decisions.

 

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