If you missed it, you can read part one of this story here.
I have often shared on my blog that I am an “all or nothing” thinker. So it might come as no surprise that when I decided to cut back on my use of sugar substitutes I decided to cut them out completely. Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me to do it any other way.
I think in the back of my mind I had the idea that I might eventually get used to the less sweet taste if I just went without. Kind of like how I am used to not salting my food anymore. And maybe I just wanted to see if I could do it. Just for one day. Totally abstinence. Zip, zero, nada.
Let me give you an idea of what my day might have looked like with artificial sweeteners in it.
It would start with a glass of Orange Sunrise Crystal Lite for a little morning hydration, followed by two or three mugs of tea with a packet of sweetener in each. That’s four servings before breakfast. Then during my morning workout I would drink up to 16 ounces of a zero-calorie sport drink or Crystal Lite iced tea. (I just prefer the taste to water and will drink more if it has some flavor to it.) After lunch I might have a piece of sugar-free gum or a sugar-free mint. And then in the afternoon, between two to four more cups of hot or cold tea. All with sweetener. Dessert most nights is sugar-free Jello pudding. And then there might be more gum. And more gum. I’m up to well over ten servings of the fake stuff.
So last Sunday morning I woke up and went cold turkey. Water for my first drink of the day. Unsweetened tea. No gum, no mints, no sugar-free Werther’s candies, no pudding, no fun.
The tea tasted almost bitter to me. I drank it, but I didn’t enjoy it. My most disappointing cup of the day was my beloved coconut cocoa flavor. With sweetener it was delicious. Yummy. Without it was not. Bland. Nothing to look forward to or savor. Sad. And that first evening all I could think about was the pudding I wasn’t eating. So I ate an apple instead. Then grapes. Then cheese. Hmm. Maybe deprivation and resentment were rearing their ugly heads and whispering sweet nothings in my ears. As in… sweet… nothing:(
But I got through the day. And that was that. I had done what I set out to do. And not enjoyed it. But I got up the next day and did it again. Why? Because I could. And because I still wondered how long it would take to get used to the taste of unsweetened tea! Day two went pretty much like day one. So I decided to try another day. Why not, I thought. I’ll tell you why not! Because it became pretty obvious that my lack of sweeteners was sending me to the pantry, time and time again, to find something satisfying. My online calorie tracking showed the proof in the sugar-free pudding: my little unsweetening experiment had resulted in my highest calorie intake days in ages. (Okay, not counting the little cereal binges of recent weeks past.) So I jumped off the no-sweetener band wagon and stuck my feet firmly back into the land of fake stuff.
But wait. All is not lost. Because this “all or nothing” thinker… hold onto your hats here… has suddenly found herself subscribing to the previously inconceivable and unmanageable concept of moderation. In my world of black and white I see room for shades of gray. And yellow. And blue.
My new plan is to go without sweeteners when it pains me the least. I can drink water instead of Crystal Lite. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I can sip my three morning mugs of tea sans sweetener too. My taste-buds are still half asleep, after-all. But later in the day, when I am trying to keep the snack monster at bay, I am going back to what satisfies me. Artificially sweetened tea. And gum. And pudding:) And I’ll keep researching the variety of sweeteners to find which might be the least objectionable and questionable. I’m not picky. Just give me a little sweetness to fill my life:)
Are there just some things you won’t sacrifice for the sake of healthier living?