FOMO - The enemy of a sugar free weekend
A weekend away with family is the biggest test so far of my no booze or sugar for a whole year experiment
It was my dad’s birthday this weekend and as it was a big one we arranged a whole family get together. My dad is originally from the north east of England, so a weekend back up to the mother land was in order to celebrate. I knew that as I was only ten days in to my no processed sugar and no booze for a year experiment this was going to be a challenge, but I never comprehended just how much.
Day 10 - Friday
My brother and his girlfriend picked me up at my flat. As soon as I got into the car I was offered a gingerbread man that my brother had picked up at the supermarket on the way here - he had got one each for the three of us. I had to turn it down which made me mad. Not only was I touched that he had included me in the car snacks and I didn’t want to offend him by refusing his lovely gesture, but I also really REALLY wanted to eat that gingerbread man. I’ve found substitutes for sugary snacks like Naked bars (cold pressed fruits and nuts) but nothing so far has replicated a biscuit or a cake in texture. And I miss it. Because I love biscuits and cakes.
We got to my dad’s house and usual protocol would be to walk in the door, drop my stuff in my room, head to the kitchen to grab a Diet Coke and then find a space on the sofa. I reached into the fridge out of habit and then remembered - no Diet Coke for me. He also had Capri sun as I’ve had a love affair with those little pouches of fun since I was a kid, but a quick look on the back to see a description of “fruit drink with sugar and sweeteners” quickly put the stoppers on that too. I settled for a cup of tea whilst my brother and his girlfriend discussed how they could never give up fizzy drinks, and I agreed. Because I love fizzy drinks.
By the end of the night the travel plans for Saturday were agreed - a McDonalds breakfast would be acquired to keep us going until the meal with family later that afternoon, and orders were placed so that my brother could go and get it first thing. Onto the McDonalds website I went. Understandably there were certain things on the breakfast menu immediately ruled out - sugar donut, millionaires latte, bagel and jam, pancakes and syrup (clutching at straws I checked the pancakes ingredients just in case and not only do the pancakes have sugar in them, the pancake syrup isn’t actually maple syrup and is in fact sugar, glucose syrup, and caramelised sugar syrup. It’s literally sugar on sugar on sugar.) So I checked the savoury options. My fave sausage and egg McMuffin had sugar in the muffin and glucose syrup in the sausage patty. The hash brown was potentially ok, but is actually fried in oil that a croquet containing sugar is fried in. The bacon roll had sugar in the roll, and glucose-fructose syrup in the ketchup. None of this seemed necessary, and I settled on ordering some plain porridge and a flat white with a side order of sadness. Because I love a McDonalds.
I went to be feeling a bit deflated after eating yet another Naked bar for dessert.
Day 11 - Saturday
Breakfast arrived and I was handed a small pot of what my brother called “gruel”, but I pimped it out with some honey and fresh raspberries and it was actually very nice. It wasn’t a sausage and egg McMuffin, but it was very nice.
We headed off in the car and a couple of hours in stopped at a service station for a stretch of our legs and a coffee. With coffee comes cake, and everyone chose their weapon from the cake counter except for me. I enjoyed my flat white whilst they tucked in to their salted caramel hazelnut triple layer sponge cakes whilst I looked on with envy. Because I love salted caramel.
We eventually got to my aunts house and after a couple of hours of catching up we headed out to dinner. We kept it simple with a carvery, and I wandered down the line of meats and vegetables filling my plate as happy as a pig in shit. But when it came to condiments I absentmindedly put apple sauce on my gammon, then realised as I got to the table that it would be full of sugar. So I reluctantly scraped it off which made me sad. Because I love pork and apple sauce.
Back to the aunts house for dessert of birthday cake, vanilla sponge with jam and butter cream freshly made by my brother’s girlfriend who used to run her own bakery. I sat with none whilst everyone else including the kids tucked in, and my cousins discussed how they could never give up sugar. I love birthday cake.
Then later the treats came out - heroes chocolates and sour cream Pringles and cans of fizzy drinks for the kids and wine and cider for the adults. I love chocolate and crisps and wine and cider.
I could go on and document day 12 where I missed the pastries at the hotel breakfast and so on, but I won’t because I think you get my point. I have stayed as strong as I physically could this past weekend, and it’s taken every ounce of my will power to do so. It’s highlighted a few things to me:
1. It’s more convenient to eat sugary foods when you’re on the go. By not having alternatives available you just have to go without which SUCKS BALLS.
2. Social gatherings more often than not centre around food and booze, so I need to be more prepared in future because otherwise it SUCKS BALLS.
3. It’s more socially acceptable to eat sugary foods than it is to openly cut them out, which is surprising. But I guess it’s just weird to people because it’s not “normal”.
I have felt like I missed out massively this weekend for sure. And just so we’re clear they were completely my own feelings as my family couldn’t have done more to make me feel included. Regardless, I still wanted to join in with the cake and wine and fun. But, I know rationally that the experiment for me is the bigger priority at this moment than eating a slice of cake in a service station was, so I just have to try and keep that in mind when I’m starting to doubt why I’m doing this. I don’t want to avoid social situations, but I certainly don’t want to feel FOMO for an entire weekend again.