For Lent this year I gave up sweets. Some people thought I was crazy for doing this, and maybe I was a little. I have the biggest sweet tooth, and absolutely no control around sweets, so I wanted to put myself up for the challenge. And you know what, I did it.
I think one of the hardest things was deciding what was considered a sweet. Obviously cake, ice cream, candy, cookies, and brownies all fell into that catergory. But what about muffins or scones or chocolate chip granola bars? My intention wasn’t to give up sugar, so where do you draw the line? For me I avoided anything that could be eaten as a dessert, and for my own sanity I didn’t count protein bars as sweets (I had to be able to have a little something). I did stay away from the chocolate-coated, candy bar-like ones and stuck bars with natural ingredients.
My other challenges were stress eating. The semester has been a crazy one for me, and there were bad days where I would have given anything for a chocolate chip cookie. But I reminded myself that giving into that temptation would only make me feel worse in the long run.
So here’s what I learned from 40 days without sweets:
- I don’t need them. Seriously, I feel much better without them. My diet has been much more focused on whole, clean foods and I don’t feel so controlled by a pan of fresh-baked cookies
- There are a lot of better options for satisfying that post-meal sugar craving. I had days where I just was NOT going to be satisfied without a small sweet snack after dinner, this forced me to get pretty creative. I mixed unsweetened cocoa powder into more things than I probably should have (oatmeal, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes – surprisingly good, don’t knock it). I also turned to things like fruit, yogurt, and granola bars to help satisfy this craving, and they worked. I haven’t kicked the post-dinner sweet treat habit yet, but now a banana or cup of Chobani is all I need.
- The longer you go without sweets, the less appealing the are. By the end of Lent I wasn’t even looking forward to eating sweets. I really don’t want them that much anymore. Sure sometimes cravings hit, but they are scarcer and wimpier than they once were.
- I CAN do it. This was the most important thing I learned. I’ve struggled with getting my sweet tooth under control for a longgggg time, and I’m proud of myself for sticking with this.
Overall I really enjoyed this challenge, and it’s something I honestly want to stick to. Not to never have a sweet again, but to save them for special occasions (like the 21st birthday I have coming up in 8 days!) and not just eating a cookie because I’ve had a bad day. I’m in a really good place right now in regards to my sugar cravings and I want to stay there.
Happy Easter every one!