23 days ago I began a journey to stop eating refined sugar. I’ve had a sweet tooth my whole life and have tried and failed multiple times to stop eating candy by the handful, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.
I’ve tried shaming myself, using willpower, “eating less” of it or flat out scaring myself with thoughts of diabetes and hacked off limbs, but none of it has worked. This was the fuel I used for the first 2 days, and that is why there’s a discrepancy between the title and the first line of this post. After experiencing same results as before within 2 days, I realised that I had to do thing differently this time, so I went into my workshop and took out the same tools I normally use when I’m installing a new habit — environment design, habit tracking & identity affirming statements.
Here’s what that looked like:
- I packed all the candy in house into a container and removed it from the kitchen.
- I added “No Sugar” as a new habit in my tracking app.
- I went from saying, “I’m trying to quit eating sugar.” to instead saying, “I don’t eat refined sugar.”
Moving the candy out of sight made it easy to avoid triggers, so I no longer had to rely on willpower. Tracking the days I went without eating sugar gave me a daily sense of progress and accountability, and changing how I spoke changed it from a goal that was far in the future and instead into an identity I could affirm today.
Quitting habits that negatively impact us is super difficult — I went from routinely inhaling half a kilo of sour worms in a single sitting after going through a bad day, to being able to pick a banana over a glorious pack of speckled eggs — but with honesty, patience and commitment to change, it can be done.