Making Space – Week 11: Abstinence

Welcome to Week 11!
Here is an overview from Week 10.  Being that I am still following the Whole30 way of eating (for the most part), I did not have the need to take my top off as I am not  eating foods that have a top!  I still love the concept!
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And now for Week 11…
I have read a lot about habits.  If I’m honest, I think I keep reading about habits so I don’t have to put them into action.  If am still learning, I am not ready to act – this is my reasoning.  Ridiculous.  In Gretchen Rubin’s, “Better Than Before“, she talks about the concept of abstaining, or being an abstainer.   When I read this and when I think about abstaining from anything, it feels so drastic, final, not fun and unrealistic.   I have come to recognize these reactions as a way to justify not doing it.
I have posted for the past month about completing Whole30,  a short-term (30 day) nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.  Talk about abstaining.  You completely eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and sugar for 30 days.  Was it fun? Not the word I would use.  Did I like it?  Not the entire time.  Did I see a difference? Absolutely.  I am actually still eating that way 90% of the time – the foods I do eat are DELICIOUS, I am cooking a lot more and I feel good.
The one thing I added back after Whole30 was my Starbucks drink.  I also made a gluten free chocolate chip cookie over the weekend.  One thing they talk about in Whole30 is “food without brakes”.  Those foods/beverages that keep you coming back for more, and more, and more.   Foods/beverages that support an unhealthy emotional/psychological response.  OF COURSE I don’t have a unhealthy relationship with my Starbucks drink and of course I can eat just a couple of cookies.  Um, be real Julie.   Not the case.   For me, sugar has ALWAYS been a trigger, something I want when something else is missing, a comfort, a need.  That does not sound like a healthy relationship.
I did abstain from all sugar (and everything else) for the entire 30 days and I felt great.  When I brought the sugar back, the headaches came back, being tired came back and a sense of not being in control came back.   Abstaining takes the question out of whether you should do something, eat something, drink something, which removes the need for “willpower” and can ease the mind.
SO, based on this little experiment, it would reason that sugar is probably something I should abstain from at least until it is no longer is a craving or promotes an unhealthy emotional response.   I gave up Diet Coke about 4 years ago and have absolutely NO desire for it (or any other soda) to this day.  That is where I would like to get with sugar/sweet food (I include sweet food because Larabars are delicious and I do not want to replace Starbucks or a cookie with a Larabar – same unhealthy response!).  I honestly can’t fathom a day where my Starbucks drink or a cupcake doesn’t sound delicious and I guess I won’t know until I abstain from them for a long while.
So this week’s challenge is to completely abstain from all sugar/sweet foods and beverages.   For some of you, it may be salty foods, or alcohol.   You know what you have an unhealthy relationship with.
What will you abstain from?  Tell us in the comments below…

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