The romance is over
Goodbye, sweet thing. Or should that be sweet things: whole bars of chocolate, lollies saved up in a jar… Amie Richardson is off the sugar, and this time she really means it.
There is no going back. You were so filled with promise. Yet, toxic in the end. For every tiny boost you gave me, I spent countless hours tired, irritated and feeling bad about myself. It’s not me, it’s you. Sugar be gone. Today is the day I give you up for good.
While I’ve never had a huge sweet tooth, sugar has been a significant friend at various stages of my life. As a child, Dad always gave us 20c to spend at the Kiwi Milk Bar in Alexandra on a Sunday after church, and while my brothers spent it on spacies, I blew mine on lollies every time. During Lent, I’d save up my sweets in a glass jar over the six weeks until Easter Sunday and then eat them all in one go until I felt sick. I vigorously shook my head, my mouth filled with mirrors and probes, when the dental nurse asked me if I was one of those kids that saved up their lollies. She looked suspicious when she found a hole.
Most of my 20s were spent away from sweet things. I was a savoury girl, preferring cheese over chocolate – ignoring the allure of cakes and biscuits. I say most. Because there was the year where my best friend and flatmate at the time lured me into her habit of consuming entire blocks of chocolate in one sitting. While she remained a tiny stick figure, I did not.
But it wasn’t until I met my late husband that I discovered just how strong a sugar craving could become. On our first lunch date, Wayne ate cake. And he never really stopped. When I later became pregnant with his babies, my craving for sugar was all-consuming. I gave in. Again and again and again. While he was sick, we filled the grief between us with sweet treats. And because sugar hijacks the reward centres of the brain, the more you have, the more you need.
While the kids are not entirely exempt from my new found sugar freedom, I’m also realistic about what happens outside the home – and how hard that can be to control. The boys already understand what is healthy and what is a treat and for the most part, make good choices, though Jasper (who is 5) seems to prefer sugar over and above anything else. For him, rather than cold turkey, it’ll be more of a lukewarm chicken.
I’ve been here before. I’m not such a late convert to the sugar-free cult. I’ve gone days, weeks, months without refined sugar, my brother Simon spending $40 making a raw cheesecake for me last time I went sugar free. But I have inevitably come back, repositioning my stance as looking for “balance”, that everything is OK in small doses. But that sweet poison already infiltrates so much of our food that this time, I’m going all out. The headaches haven’t started yet, but I know they’ll come. Along with the grumpiness and possible shakes. But I’m hoping my mind will be clearer and I’ll sleep better before I want to give in.
This time, there are no glass jars.