Yup, a week into the sugar free challenge and we caved, but I am really pleased that we gave it a go and I'm proud of the family for sticking to it so well for the week.
Who would have thought that so many valuable lessons could be learnt in just one week of a sugar free challenge too?
Here's what happened and what I discovered...
I have a sweet tooth and love to have some sort of "pudding" after meals so this was a bit of a struggle as this obviously was drastically reduced. I was finding myself making anything sweet that was sugar free and I was constantly making sweet potato brownies or no-bake gooey brownies (made with dates). What a find though as they were delicious! You didn't need much to feel satisfied and we all enjoyed them.
Lesson one - you don't need sugar to have delicious tasting treats
Will power vanished
Anyway, it had been a busy week, I had been recording a lot of workout videos so was feeling particularly exhausted and my will power was very low, I didn't have the mental resilience to ignore temptations like I usually do. So we allowed the temptation to get the better of us when we went via Starbucks a week into the challenge. Well I say "we", but that's unfair, my nine year old son resisted! He was the only one out of all four of us who resisted the temptations and held strong. What a star!
I am delighted that he has a strong will power and is able to apply such discipline to things when he wants.
Lesson two - my son has hard core determination when he wants
Sugar vs sweetener
The no sugar yet still having sweetener thing was really getting on my nerves, the more we were doing the challenge, the more I was annoying myself. It just didn't make sense to cut out something that is technically a natural product, yet continue to consume man made versions. So this then impacted the "why" of the challenge. I lost sight of why we were actually doing this and therefore any motivation for sticking to it.
Lesson three - you need a crystal clear "why" to achieve your goals
Team-work is dream-work
We have a much better understanding and awareness of just how many products contain sugar now and we are still going to continue to avoid it where possible. We have very few (if any) products at home right now with added sugar in it and that makes me happy. As a family we have agreed that we will try to keep this up and I am, once again, thrilled that the kids are so on board with this. I think we sometimes are afraid to implement changes as we assume there will be a battle with our children or other family members but actually, if we stick together as a team and continue to educate each other then there is no reason why we should shy away from positive changes.
Lesson four - don't underestimate each other, especially your kids
In the past week my kids have tried so many more foods, from my random culinary experiments to just a different vegetable or fruit and this is something that we will absolutely be continuing. It has broadened our horizons in terms of the foods we enjoy and that is such a positive take away lesson.
Lesson five - be brave enough to experiment
Only positives here
I do think that we were more consistent with our moods too over the past week. I have also found that the children seem to be much more up for doing creative activities, whether it is drawing, colouring, role play, Lego, making salt dough, Sylvanian families, activity books or reading rather than heading straight to the TV. Maybe they are feeling more consistent and are able to concentrate for longer which gives them a clearer focus so they are able to apply themselves more readily. I dunno, but it has been lovely to witness and I would love it to continue!
Despite the fact that we didn't make it exclusively sugar free for the full two weeks, I am still counting this as a huge positive. We have discovered a lot about each other and how our misconceptions can be so limiting. We have a much better awareness and we will continue to remain aware of the products we purchase and consume. We will continue to be experimental with cooking and discover many more sugar free family favourites from here on in.
If you are thinking about giving a sugar free challenge a go, I highly recommend doing it.
It is worth trying at least!