Friday, March 11, 2011

Travelling Sugar-Free

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about messing up on Sugar-Free when I travelled. Without home comforts and day-to-day habits, it's hard to know what to expect. I didn't stick as strictly as I would at home, but I'm really proud of how I did in Melbourne.
Thursday at the markets, most of my food intake was fresh fruit and vegetables. I had a Ciabatta roll that would probably have included a small amount of sugar but everything else I chose was sugar free. We were surrounded by specialist candy and chocolate stores. I don't know how I did it! At one point I tried a free sample of a licorice-like twist lolly. The sample was only 3mm or so cut off the end but it was so sweet I couldn't have had more if I wanted to.

Thursday night we went to Pancake Parlour. Pancakes are one of my favourite foods and I was so sure that I would at least have a scoop of ice cream. I surprised myself though! I had two pancakes, which were 4.8% sugar (they sell the mix at the counter and I snuck a look). Instead of Ice cream, I had unsweetened cream and instead of maple syrup, which is one of my favourite flavours on earth, I had organic honey. I felt like I had indulged, and not at all like I had missed out. Squish and I shared a bowl of wedges with sour cream, bacon and cheese, and I drank water. It may seem minor to some of you, but I was so happy with myself and felt like I had overcome a hurdle of sorts.

Friday was Soundwave day. At breakfast I had toast (0.8%) and avoided the 68% jams in favour of 5.5% Peanut Butter. I followed that up with a bowl of Ricies (8.2%) and milk (approx 4-5%). At the festival, I drank a lot of water and had a mini-burger with chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise, and I shared a cup of hot chips with aioli. The mayo and aioli would have had sugar, but overall they were better choices than a lot of what was available.
After Soundwave, I had subway. I chose a Ham sub from the 6-grams of fat or less menu and asked for no sauce, to avoid extra sugar. The sub came with a drink and I chose Coke-Zero.

Finally, at the airport on the way home, I had a fruit salad with yoghurt and honey. The yoghurt tasted sweetened but there was only a tablespoon or two of it. I had half an english muffin with ham, poached egg and hollandaise as well, all sugar free bar a marginal amount in the muffin. My normal airport habit would be to have a hot chocolate and a bag of lollies to nibble on. As I waited for the delayed plane, it was hard to avoid, but I managed it.

Becoming sugar-free is about forming a habit of saying 'No'. Honestly, it's the easiest way. If you get into the habit of saying no, you give yourself a spare second to think about your choice, and you forget about all of your habitual sugar munching. Once the habits are gone, it's only cravings that are left, and again they are about willpower (as an aside I heard that a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can push cravings aside, but I'm yet to try it).
Staying sugar-free is different. Maintaining that initial momentum is about substituting. I still own the habit of saying no to sugar. But I also automatically think 'what can I have instead?'. Fruit, milk, honey... savoury flavours as well! Are you actually craving sugar or is your blood sugar low and you just need to eat? Not everything that has sugar, needs sugar. The whipped cream with my pancakes was delicious, I only noticed it's sugar-free flavour when I tried it on its own.

Overall, I'm stoked with my achievements and my mini practice run for Europe, and I'm so happy to hear feedback from you guys saying this is helping you! It has very hard moments, but sugar-free is not that hard as a whole, and it's so worth it.

I'm doing OK on the water-intake issue, Squish's suggestion of setting a reminder on my computer at work definitely helps during working hours. I also have to focus on eating more because by avoiding sugar I'm naturally avoiding a lot of fats and I'm losing too much weight.

Yes, too much is just as much a problem as not enough!