Sunday, February 6, 2011

Where Do You Draw The Line?

One of the reasons I have successfully stayed sugar-free this long is that I have a 'No' attitude when it comes to sugar. I don't make allowances for anything, no matter what. As I have said before, everything has sugar in it, including pretty much everything processed and everything flavoured. It's really, really hard to avoid, so I set myself a threshold of 3%, as in, I won't eat anything with more than 3% sugar.

I have heard of people recommending that if you're trying to improve your health you should aim for less than 10% sugar and 3% fat. I am not worried at all about fat content (maybe I will once I'm on top of sugar) since I am not trying to lose weight, just get on top of the closest thing to an addiction I've ever had. I chose the 3% threshold because I wanted to go as close to cold turkey as possible, and really kick this thing.

Just to clarify - the 3% threshold covers all processed food - food that comes with a Nutrition Panel on the back basically. Outside of processed/marked foods, I allow myself as much fruit as I want - its refined, nasty sugar that I'm opposed to, not the good stuff. I allow myself to use honey as a sweetener since it is not a refined processed sugar but I also try to use that as little as possible.

OK, so after all that, my darling Long Haired Boy did the grocery shopping on Thursday night while I was doing nails, and he came home with a treat for us (he decided this week that he was going sugar free as well, having seen his Dads weight loss results from doing the same). What he bought back was Fruju Fruit Whips, and in addition, I was handed a minor dilemma. Fruju Fruit Whips are 97% fruit, 99% fat free and 100% natural. Problem is, they are 15.7% sugar and most of that sugar content is from pineapple juice (this was in a Boysenberry flavoured Fruit Whip so I guess its for sweetness cause I definitely couldn't taste it) and added fructose.

The Fruit Whips break the 3% rule, by a long shot, but then so did the prunes I snacked on earlier, and I excused those because the sugar was all natural. The Fruit Whips have no refined sugar, but most people know that just because juice has no added sugar doesn't mean its good for you once the fibre of the fruit itself has been removed.

So where do I draw the line? I know 100% that my eating is way way better than it was last year. I fully intend to remain sugar free. Of the box of six Fruit Whips, I ate 2 - well, I ate half a one, then a whole one, then half a one, over 3 days.

I was so stoked when Courts brought them home. He checked the ingredients list and knew there was no refined sugar, he knew that because Fructose was far down the list there was little of it added, and he knew it fit all the rules. Something so simple yet so thoughtful, it really made my night that he thought of doing that for us. Now that they're gone - I'm actually relieved, which is a bit weird.

When I ate the whole one, I felt guilty, so guilty in fact, that it kind of wasn't worth eating it. I know that a lot of you will be thinking, why punish myself? Why stop myself eating foods I like and enjoy? Well, I know that I am making better choices now. I know I feel better, and that I am looking after myself. The thing is though, I've been sugar free before and every time Ive reverted back to my old ways. I don't want to let myself down again.

When I opened the freezer looking for food and saw the Fruit Whips box, I needed one. I didn't just think 'ooh that looks nice' - I almost couldn't stop myself from getting it. I could have, I know, but it was hard, and I justified that it was natural sugar and only 15%. I don't want to be controlled by the need for sugar, the calling from the vending machine, or the autopilot response to thirst of turning to Milo or coke.

I still have work to do on my eating habits - I hate water and drink little of it, and I haven't started to think about fats, although many of those were eliminated by the sugar-free factor. I can't focus on those things until I no longer have to focus on sugar. So, as much as i thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my Fruit Whips treat, I'm back to a strict 3% threshold, until I am at a point where I can be strolling through France, see a Chocolate Croissant and make a conscious decision to either have it or not, rather than be drawn to it and feel a need for it.

What habits do you have that control you in some way? How do you avoid them? Do you try? And where do I draw the line?