A week ago, I committed to giving up sugar (all sugar) for 8 weeks. I wanted to improve my overall health and well-being but had previously lacked the motivation to follow through on my good intentions. I had tried and failed many times. I remember on several occasions being at work, and wishing one of our service-users would challenge me to give up chocolate. I felt like my ‘addiction’ to chocolate was the closest experience I had to understanding their drug dependencies. Watching them play tug of war with their own addictions has been difficult, even heart-breaking, at times and I have often felt so powerless as a bystander to their battle. I would typically then feel ridiculous for even comparing my ‘love’ for chocolate to anyone’s drug addiction. On some level however, this journey for me has been brewing for some years.
Having spent the last week immersed in literature and podcasts to increase my understanding of my relationship with food, my addiction to sugar and the long-term health consequences of my diet, I realise that I have been minimising the impact my drug of choice was having on me. This week it has been hugely validating for me to read the words like: ‘studies show that [fructose] is more addictive than cocaine and heroin’ (Wilson, 2014, I Quit Sugar For Life’). Instead of worrying that I am over-cooking my own struggle with sugar and over-identifying when I compare my addiction to the addictions our service-users battle, I am feeling entitled to own my story, to own my struggle and to own my future.
This week, in all honesty, has been far easier than I was anticipating it to be (granted, that may be in part because I am not required to go ‘cold turkey’ until week 3 of the detox). In the absence of all chocolate, desserts and treats, I have the felt the presence of quiet support, new knowledge and understanding and a renewed focus. And I’ve got to say…it doesn’t taste quite as sweet, but boy does it feel good!
What I have most learnt in this first week is that other people’s reactions matter. I have said out loud, on many many occasions that I am going to change my diet. And I have…for a week, at best two. So I can understand when those that have heard my latest pledge to clean up my act do all the right things on the surface and smile, and nod their heads and say ‘good for you’ but whose smiles and nods and words become less convincing each time they are called to action. This time, I really want to follow through. This time I have a plan. This time I have more reasons to change than ever before…and so what I need this time, more than ever before is your help.
Having had so much support by sharing my pledge to #QuitForKairos online, I have felt the instant impact that encouragement, positivity, belief and solidarity can and do have. I have felt my motivation soar or plummet depending on how my intentions have been received. This week, I have learnt that the biggest gift I can give to someone who wants to regain control of something that has been holding them to ransom, is belief. I am not a powerless bystander, my words have far more power than I ever imagined.
Please support the #QuitForKairos campaign. You can do this in several ways:
- Make a donation via our Big Give page. Money raised will be used by Kairos WWT in their work to support women at risk of or subject to sexual exploitation
- Quit something for Kairos – just for a day, or an evening and tell your friends (and us of course) that you’re #QuitingforKairos. You might quit riding the bus for one day and walk to work instead, or quit that Friday night bottle of wine, or that afternoon cake and donate the money you would have spent to the #QuitForKairos campaign
- Commit to your own #QuitForKairos personal journey. If you’ve been struggling to give up something in your life that you feel has a hold over you and you want to stop, join me! Drop me an email Lucia@kairoswwt.org.uk, tell me what you’re quitting and I’ll add you to our #QuitForKairos ambassador list, complete with your own cartoon (I’m just itching to draw someone dressed as a giant cigarette…who’s in???)
- You can join me at any time over the next 8 weeks and believe me, you’d be helping me out if you did. There’s nothing like solidarity to get through a challenge. And this, for me, really is going to be a challenge.
- Don’t offer me chocolate.