When we first start our sugar-free journeys it feels hard, we are changing deeply ingrained habits, facing feelings that we may have pushed down, fielding challenging comments from people around us as well as dealing the new taste sensation of natural foods.
When we are just starting out I believe it helps to have affirming ways that we are heading in the right direction, that the effort we are putting in is making a difference. For many people who go on a sugar-free journey, weight loss is a goal for them, so this could be a measure for them.
For me, although this was a goal, the scales were a huge trigger for me and something I knew I could easily get obsessed with. Here's what I did instead...
- I counted the days; looking back those numbers now sound so small but back then, every day seemed a miracle, gradually I turned the days into weeks and then months.
- I used my clothes as a progress check-in, slowly clothes felt looser, then big, then too big.
- I also noticed my energy levels, did I have energy slums anymore, how did I feel when I had missed a meal, did my brain 'fog out'?
- I noticed how anxious and stressed I was feeling; very quickly I felt more peaceful, then I managed something out of my comfort zone with zero anxiety, so I tried something a little more challenging... I simply kept noticing how I was feeling.
- I noticed how I ate my food; I noticed I became more mindful, I had slowed down, noticing flavours and textures more, I felt more peaceful at mealtimes.
- I noticed how my taste buds changed, that quickly fruit tasted super sweet and then even vegetables tasted sweet, dairy tasted sweet, meat tasted sweet; my 'real' taste buds kicked in!
- Finally I noticed how my journey felt, to begin with it was conscious, I had to make an effort, every meal thought through, every potential obstacle considered and then slowly it was second nature, I just did it, it was easy, peaceful, happy.
...and then I found ways to celebrate, ways that didn't include food. I got my 'colours' done, I bought a new nail polish, I took a half day to walk by the sea, I bought a new item of clothing, I met a friend and did something nice.
So how do 'measure' your success, honour the steps you have taken to love and nourish yourself to sugar-FREEdom and how do you celebrate?