So you can put yourself off dessert occasionally because you rationalise that you can save a little bit by doing so. Motivation is held by helping your health and your wallet at the same time.
Maybe you’re also pretty good at not spending extra pennies on sweet goods when you’re food shopping. Again, you use the cost of the bad stuff to help you avoid it. Nice little strategy eh?
This is all well and good until….the hotel buffet strikes and there are free biscuits in your room. You’re somewhere where three courses is the same price as two, or dessert is included in the price you paid. They’re giving out free chocolates at the conference stand or work have funded some Friday ‘treats’…
Suddenly money doesn’t come into the decision and you’re battling with what I call ‘free’ sugar. That kind of sugar that you feel obliged to eat, because well, it’s free. It’s almost a crime not to, isn’t is? May as well make the most of the free food….
My experience with ‘free sugar’…
A few days ago I had a conversation with a colleague saying she only ate the sweet food because it was ‘free’.
We were working at a hotel where there was more ‘free’ sugar available than I’ve ever experienced.
Freshly baked cakes mid morning, a full dessert buffet after lunch, pick and mix come afternoon and biscuits everywhere. Oh, not to mention the 24 hour hot chocolate and marshmallow station.
I really wish now I’d taken a picture so you can truly comprehend the extent of this sugar feast.
I reflected on the situation because I used to suffer horrendously from ‘free sugar’.
It was the case that I wouldn’t often consciously buy myself unhealthy sweet food – however, if it was on offer for free, not only would I find it hard not to eat, I would also then overeat it.
In some cases I didn’t even want it that much, but it was free right?
It had suddenly developed into an unhealthy, and unnecessary habit.
Now you could just call me a foodie cheapskate but it’s way more complicated than that…
I realise now that the causes for my ‘free sugar’ syndrome developed from a number of things, including my upbringing and beliefs.
My beliefs not just about food, but about money, resourcefulness and appreciation.
It also got worse as my ‘free’ rules grew into habit.
These rules I was living by were dictating how healthy I was being, rather than me doing it myself.
It was essentially a semi guilt-free way of eating sugar. Little did I know that every time I did eat sweet ‘free’ food, it was costing me the long term control I deeply desired.
The questions to ask yourself around ‘free-sugar’?
So how can you start to turn the tables against this tricky psychological strand of sugar addiction?
Asking yourself some powerful questions when you’re faced with that free sugar is the best place to start.
Practice mindfulness by pausing and asking yourself these questions. Write them on your phone to remind you if you need. Overtime, you’ll start to shift your thinking.
- Forget monetary cost, what immediate physical cost will I have to pay after eating this?
- Is there any other healthier ‘free’ food I can eat instead?
- Am I craving this because I normally deprive myself of it normally?
- Have I been over-restrictive with myself recently and is this a rebellion?
- If I had to pay for this right now, would I still eat it?
- What beliefs about food and money are in my head right now? Are they logical?
- Would I pay more than this food is worth to be truly free of the hold sugar has over me?
- Can I plan ahead and decide the amount of ‘free’ sugar I’m going to eat beforehand?
- Will I really lose anything if I don’t eat this? In fact, what could I gain?
- Am I being influenced by others to eat this? e.g. do I feel peer pressure to do so?
If you manage to pause and consider some of these questions, it might just help you start to learn a bit more about yourself and how you justify eating sweet food in these situations.
This is the start of the process for rewiring your habits and becoming more mindful to make a healthier happier you.
Once you’ve re-wired you’ll become more rational and bring decisions back into your control. You’ll be able to take or leave ‘free’ sugar as you see fit, depending on that situation, feeling gloriously empowered.
Over to you…what are your thoughts on ‘free’ sugar’? Are there any situations that you find really hard?