Being around other people, like work colleagues and friends, can be difficult when you decide to quit sugar: they don’t get it and probably don’t want to.
And they most certainly won’t go out of their way to ensure that they don’t consume sugary foods in front of you to help you avoid temptation, unless they’re incredibly considerate people.
But when it comes to family, it can feel ten times as hard because, well, it’s your family!
If you’re the only person in your family who wants to quit sugar and everyone else doesn’t pay attention to their sugar-munching habits – and they’re likely to thwart your plans – then how can you ensure that you stick with your plan to go, and stay, sugar-free?
Let’s first consider some of the factors that may affect us and the relationships we have with others, especially our family members.
- We don’t want to let people down
- We don’t want to feel left out
- We don’t want to break traditions
- We want to express love or show appreciation/gratitude
- We don’t want to create conflict
The point is considering that sugar has the ability to weave itself into all of the above factors in one way or another, it becomes easy to see why someone might find it difficult to say no to sugar when she is around family members, especially when they pressure her to join in.
How you can successfully quit sugar (even when you’re the only one in your family who wants to do it)
If you’re determined to go sugar-free, here’s what you can do to deal with your family before you launch into your sugar-free life:
1. Share with them your reasons for going sugar-free and just how important it is to you.
Understanding why you’re doing it might be all that’s needed for them to come around to the idea of you being sugar-free.
2. Acknowledge any concerns they may have.
Some people might take you not eating their birthday cake personally and think it means that you no longer care. Reassure them. It’s solely about your health and not about you trying to upset the family dynamics.
3. Let them see how excited you are about this new phase of your life.
If they don’t see that you’re excited, they might think that you’re forcing yourself to do it and, as a result, try to dissuade you to stop you from making yourself ‘miserable’.
4. Recognise that some people might pressure you because they dislike the fact that you’re taking a stand for your health.
They feel bad that they’re not doing the same and will (unconsciously or not) do their best to pull you back into their sugar-filled worlds.
The most important thing is for you to make a firm decision to quit sugar. Without a firm decision, it becomes easier for you to backtrack.
Are there any other alternatives?
Another option is to give yourself some leeway. In other words, you can be sugar-free 90% of the time, and the 10% is for special occasions. You might even opt for an 80/20 ratio. You get to decide how to make it work for you.
This option, however, could work either for or against you, depending on your level of addiction to sugar.
Most people don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ in their families, but every adult is responsible for their own health, so if you have a deep desire to quit sugar, not quitting in order to keep others happy will only hinder your ability to take full control.