Good heavens, January is a long month! All those snuggly Christmas days feel so far away, but as we approach the end of January, the old habits feel far away, too. If you’ve managed to eat clean until now, you’ll be starting to form new habits. A month without sugar will force you into planning and problem solving – two essential skills to keep your nutrition on track and realise long term fat loss.
I didn’t know how I was going to make it through. As we neared the end of the month, my husband and little boy starting asking for cookies. I tried to placate my son with a shortbread biscuit. These boring biscuits had been hanging out in the cupboard and I didn’t see them as a threat. They are boring. Unfortunately, my son agrees. He asked for a cookie and I said ‘yes’ for the first time in weeks. His little face lit up. But he couldn’t hide his disappointment at being handed a boring old shortbread.
I knew I was giving myself the best odds by keeping tempting food out of the house. I’d given into extra dried fruit and nut butter now and again. Had honey in my tea. And a glass of red wine last weekend, which I didn’t finish. But the idea of making cookies and not tasting the batter or testing out a warm on fresh for the oven? I wasn’t sure I could do it!
But finally, on Sunday, I made some. The boys were ecstatic. I remembered that when I was pregnant I never tasted the batter because of raw eggs. Just knowing that gave me a bit of resolve and this helped me to get the whole batch cooked without digging my little fingers in once. A triumph! And that set off a chain reaction of confidence. I felt a renewed belief in my willpower and have not had a single cookie. Even my husband is amazed.
If you haven’t remained sugar free this far into the year, it’s not too late. The key to sustainable, long term change is not seeing slip ups as failures. They are chances to learn and improve for next time. While I’m pleased with my willpower so far, I’m only human, and I’ll make my fair share of mistakes. But if I want to fit into my jeans the way I am now, improve my energy and see those abs creeping back out from behind the Christmas chub, it’s vital to see each slip as an opportunity to get better for next time the challenge arises.