30 day trial: no alcohol, no sweets

IStock_000008800699XSmall For the next 30 days I am abstaining from alcohol and sweets.

Why am I telling you this?

I'm telling all of you about it because I realized that I didn't really
think I'd do it. But if I tell the world, I know I'll do it. (Or at
least I'll try much harder. 🙂

What am I really giving up?

By sweets I mean things like cookies, candy bars and chocolate chips.

I think the alcohol part is self explanatory but I mean beer and wine. (I don't really drink anything else although that Amarula stuff that Frank picked up before Christmas is pretty yummy …)

I know you should only give up one thing at a time, but for a multitude of reasons (including a lack of patience), I'm not doing that.

Will you have to listen to this for the next 30 days?

No, I won't be blogging about this again during the month unless something unexpected happens. (Like I have an amazing amount of energy or need 3 hours less of sleep a night or start losing 2 pounds a week. Not that I expect any of that.) I probably will be twittering about it so you might see updates on identica, twitter and Facebook.

Why 30 days?

I want to see how I feel without alcohol and sweets. 30 days is enough time to figure out if I feel different. It's also enough time to establish new habits but a short enough time it doesn't seem too daunting. A 30 day trial allows for success where as "giving up sweets forever" probably doesn't. (And I am not giving up sweets forever. No way!)

So I encourage you to do your own 30 day trials. They don't have to be about food. 30 day trials are a good way to start any new habit or break any old habit.

17 Replies to “30 day trial: no alcohol, no sweets”

  1. I call this detox month. It is typically January and is usually only for alcohol, but this year it contains dessert since december I had too many butter tarts.
    Good luck.

  2. Interesting. Is there a particular reason for cutting those types of sweets? Are you also cutting out other things which are high in sugar (or more accurately, fake sugar)?

  3. I’m cutting out those types of sweets because they are the ones I consume the most of. (Baked goods with chocolate and sugar …) I crave them all the time. Which makes me think there’s something wrong with how much of them I’m eating.
    I’m not cutting out carbohydrates.
    And I’m sure I’ll still get plenty of sugar in all the packaged foods I eat like bread, frozen foods, spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, etc.
    I don’t eat any artificial sweeteners any more. Or at least not when I can tell that they are in the food …
    Thoughts?

  4. Ah ok. I was wondering, since if you cut out actual sugared foods, and end up drinking more sodas, or eating other sweet/semi-sweet snacks, which use HFCS/HMCS (M = maltose) instead, to compensate for your lower sugar intake from baked/pastry sweets, that you will probably definitely feel different at the end, but probably more on the worse side of things.
    I’ve been trying to cut back on things that are loaded with engineered sweeteners and such, myself, but sometimes it’s hard to find good alternatives. If only there was a store around here that had kosher Coke products… 🙂

  5. Hmmh, does that mean there will be more wine for those of us who don’t plan to stop? 😉
    Good luck for this “endeavour”. I am sure you’ll succeed. That beeing said, I don’t really care about the sweets part, but I can’t wait for the end of your wine detox, because clearly drinking wine is the best way of celebrating the glory of Dionysos. And everybody knows Dionysos is the best god ever.
    And next time we meet (maybe at next Guadec), I hope I can offer your a glass of wine. That’s way cooler than a bag of sweets, isn’t it ? 🙂

  6. There’s probably way more sugar hidden in prepared foods than in the sweets, when looking at the big picture. Usually the higher quality (often: more expensive) bread, frozen foods, pasta sauce, etc. has much less sugar and salt (or, if not, at least higher-quality, healthier sugars). Often, they are “organic” or “natural” (but not always). It’s almost always the case that the ones better for you will have fewer ingredients — and ingredients you can easily pronounce too.
    It might be harder to justify the higher cost when shopping and knowing that you can get a similar item for much less, but don’t think about it as buying more expensive food… think about it in a way that you’re buying quality food, and the junk masquerading as food just happens to cost less.
    You may want to compare prices at different stores for the higher quality food, too. Some sell food cheaper than others, and the store you usually visit may not. It’s perfectly fine to shop at multiple stores: to stock up at a place that may sell most things cheaper than another, but then buy limited items from another which may be closer. (If that is the case, depending on the stores near you, then if it’s slightly more expensive, you could consider that paying for convenience.)
    Also, if you happen to have a farmers’ market nearby, it’s worth stopping by (provided it’s the right season for your local one).
    Still, it’s always good to try to limit your intake of sugar. You’ll still get enough (and the better types of sugar) if you eat the right foods. Sweets & junk foods are packed with sugar and lots of other bad things (and often “diet” foods are too, ironically), so cutting them out does make a great first step.

  7. Oh, a few notes:
    I became more aware of ingredients by being forced to read labels due to a food allergy, by-the-way. It’s amazing to see all the stuff they put in the food when you look closely. Also, companies know some people look out for sugar and other things in food, so they try to split up and creatively rename various ingredients so it’s not as obvious. (This is why you’ll often see various forms of sugar listed multiple times if you read the entire list of ingredients. The list has to be in order of quantity, and splitting it up makes it look like less.)
    Also, I highly recommend some books, like “Fast Food Nation” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Michal Pollan just released a new book called “Food Rules” which is supposed to be a pretty short, quick read with simple rules to follow to help select good food to eat (and explanations for each rule)… so that book might be worth checking out first, as it’s supposed to be short, and be an easy-to-follow guideline.
    “Food Rules” is also in paperback and Kindle (although I saw a comment that the Kindle one is poorly formatted) — for around $6.
    Pollan posted something on it here:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-pollan/food-rules-a-completely-d_b_410173.html
    …and there’s an interview here:
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/08/michael-pollan-offers-64-ways-to-eat-food/

  8. No alcohol is doable, but no sweets either? Then what’s the point in life if you give up to the day to day small pleasures?

  9. Yeah, I almost mentioned the fact that stating your goals publicly makes it less likely you’ll achieve them. The study I read said it was because you already got the social credit. So I thought about it and in this case I wasn’t really committed to giving up sweets and now I am. Plus I think most of my friends will call me on it or help me if I’m about to give in. And I know they’ll ask about it so I’ll have to give status updates.
    As for the money going to an “anti-charity” I suppose I could do the same just for the 30 day goal …

  10. Depends on how many sweets you are eating if you define them “small pleasures”.
    But being healthy and feeling good are worth a lot.
    And there are lots of other small pleasures in the day like a hug from a 3 year old, eating a handful of cherries, sharing a moment with a friend, …

  11. Thanks, Garrett, for all the good points.
    We cut fat and added sugar to all processed food …
    Are you able to find bread without sugar? I read all the labels for all the bread in my local grocery store. While I know you put sugar in bread, it was one of the first couple of ingredients in almost all the breads in the store! (With the exception of an organic bread that had a sugar substitute as one of it’s last ingredients.)
    Luckily my SO likes to cook so we don’t eat a lot of packaged foods as part of meals. (I just snack on them. 🙂

  12. I’ve been trying the “no s” diet (http://www.nosdiet.com/ ), which I’ve found to be a pretty appealing and sensible compromise, and I’m losing weight on (though I’m only 1.5 months in, so hard to say). The whole thing can be summed up as “no sweets, no snacks, no seconds, except for ‘s’ days (Saturday, Sunday, and special occasions)”. The idea is that it’s a substantial improvement for most people, and yet it’s an entirely different willpower proposition. It’s much easier to turn down sweets in five day stretches and much more sustainable than giving it up for good.

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