Current research tells us that SUGAR in its various forms (yes, that includes maple syrup, agave, and honey) is little more than poison to the body and just as addictive as smoking. You will find it among the list of ingredients almost everywhere, though it might not be called "sugar" (go here for a list of 61 different names for SUGAR.) It is a substance that no human being interested in achieving optimum health should consume, but especially those with or at risk of developing inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, or cancer. This has been well documented.
For this reason and many more, this month I embarked on a a 31-Day Sugar-Free Challenge.
The first 3 days are always the hardest, and so on Day 2, when my BF surprised me with my favourite sugary coffee blend, my mind gave me EVERY reason to drink it:
1) I don't want to hurt his feelings
2) It would be a waste
3) It isn't really cheating if it's a gift (hah!)
And so on and so forth.
An hour or so passed the cup remained unopened on the counter.
He said, "Don't you like the coffee I brought you?"
I responded, "Yes! Of course!" (stay tuned for a post on the "problematics of people pleasing!) And I opened the cup to take a sip. Then put it down again.
I didn't pour the coffee out; it stayed on my counter all night, just in case. The next morning when I got up, excuses #2 and #3 got up with me, and I went downstairs to grab a pot to heat up the now-cold sugar-laden coffee. (Just a little addictive, maybe?!)
And then I thought of my mom, a bona fide periodic sugar addict who had committed to the challenge with me; and a student who loves sugar in her coffee but who'd agreed to give it a shot; and this Facebook medium of accountability, as limited as it might be. But most of all, something I had written a while ago came to mind:
Each time you repeat a negative habit, you strengthen it. Each time you make a different choice, you weaken it. Before imbibing in whatever that thing is, ask yourself,
"Is this a habit that I want to strengthen or starve?"
I didn't drink the coffee. I made my straight-up black blend instead, added a drop of pure Wintergreen essential oil, and the sugar circled the kitchen drain. With equal measure, my self-confidence spiralled upwards.
With a little focus, the willingness to renounce old excuses, some community support, and endeavouring always to the best we can be, any deeply engrained habit can be changed. We can truly do anything we put our minds to.