Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maintaining Willpower - or Lack Thereof

We spoke a few weeks ago of my success with sugar-free while travelling. It has become apparent to me that this success does not translate to staying with family or friends!

On the way down to Napier this weekend, our first stop was at McDonalds. I haven’t had McDonalds once this year but Courts wanted it and he was only an hour into a 5 hour ride, so that is where we went. It turned out that the burger I chose (Chicken Bacon Deluxe) was only 2.9% sugar, so I had a minor success to start off the weekend. I still felt like rubbish afterwards though. Damn you McDonalds.

We stopped again in Cambridge and then in Taupo but at each stop I didn’t have anything to eat or drink. We got to Napier chilled to the bone and I warmed up with hot milk. So far, success.

It all went down hill on Saturday. First things first, breakfast. Last time we were in Napier, Courtney’s mum fed us up on muesli, fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, and I had been thinking about it all week in the lead up to our trip. At a restaurant or cafĂ©, I’ll choose the cooked breakfast every time, but that’s because it’s the one I’m least likely to have at home. Put a bowl of muesli with yoghurt and fruit next to it though and I’ll find it hard to resist the latter, which is one of my favourite breakfasts ever. So Saturday morning I had Light n Tasty Plum and Almond muesli (19.7%) with Natural Sweetened Yoghurt (I think it was Meadowfresh, 10.7%) and fresh nectarines, apple, banana and blueberries. It was so good, the best possible start to any day, ever. But it was sugar.

For lunch we had multigrain bread with mashed egg, pastrami and beetroot relish. The relish of course, had sugar. It was homemade by Courtney’s Aunty, so I don’t know the percentage, but it was delicious. We ended up bring home a couple of jars of it. But again, sugar.

Dinner time and we are served up a feast. Beef Schnitzel, Chicken Kebabs, roast potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, garlic bread and cheese sauce. I had none of the hickory or tomato sauce that was on the table, and we checked that the seasoning on the kebabs was within the 3% threshold too. Not the best impression to make on your family-in-law – “Hi, I’m Penny, Remember me? The girl that’s super fussy and makes your life difficult” – Erm. Despite all this the dinner was again, amazing. I felt so spoilt by all of this delicious food. Plus it was sugar-free! Other than the very small glass of Moscato I had before the meal.

Then came dessert. Court’s mum had made his favourite – German Apple Tart. I promised I would try it and I did. I had a pie slice that was only about 2cm at the thickest end and I was proud of myself that I indulged without going over the top. It was only half an hour though before I could no longer resist the chocolate brownies that were also on the table. Again, I had a very small serving; my slice of brownie would have only been 1.5cm by 4cm or so. While I felt good that I had kept my portions down, the number of servings was adding up and I didn’t feel good about it.

The next day we went out for breakfast and I had the big cooked breakfast – hash brown, tomato, mushrooms, toast, poached eggs, sausages and hollandaise sauce. The sausages would have had sugar in them, but nothing else and I stuck to drinking water as I had done most of the night before. We returned to Courtney’s Uncles house for coffees after breakfast and I introduced them to the concept of my hot milk and water drinks. That is to say, I asked for one instead of tea or coffee and accepted their bewilderment. It’s not that weird!

We started our drive home to Auckland around 2pm and Natalie and I (driving home her first ever car!) stopped at a fruit stall for plums and apples. I also got a sugar-free V energy drink which I shouldn’t have, because the ‘sugar-free’ status is achieved mostly by chemical definition rather than the actual absence of any sugar products. Heading into dusk we stopped for food in Cambridge – at KFC. Again, I hadn’t been there all year. I got chips and a chicken burger; hold the sugar-laden mayo. I made the effort to reduce the sugar content, but I’d bet a dollar sugar is one of the 11 herbs and spices.

To top it off, when we got home at 9.30pm, I had a normal-sized serving of left over German Apple Tart.

So, I know I ate a lot less sugar than I would have ‘Before’. I had a very small wine rather than a bottle, and a small dessert rather than… three. I had no coke with my burgers and no pancakes at brunch. But I could have done better.

I started out telling myself “Well you don’t want to be a pain and cause your hosts to go to more effort” but that’s a load of crap. I was offered cheese toasties instead of muesli, and some people had them so it wouldn’t have been harder to make one for me. I chose to add the relish. I chose to eat the dessert. I chose to have the sausage, and the V, and the KFC. I had options and I chose not to use them. I’m back on track now, having absolutely no sugar since the great German Apple Tart Fail of Sunday night, and I even managed to drink 2 litres of water yesterday for the first time I can remember! I just have to keep myself in check.

Any tips for doing so? Do you take a diet-holiday when you go away, or are you able to maintain your willpower?