Day 6: Replacement Behaviours (Sugar Challenge)

I’m still tired, but starting to feel a little better.

Today was all about replacement behaviours. This is a concept I use all the time at work, and I’m excited to introduce it here.

I very strongly believe that we do things to fulfil a purpose, and that – rather than simply eliminating things – it’s easier for us to replace the behaviour with something else.

Replacement Behaviours: Anxiety Edition

This morning, I was walking to the subway and I was feeling anxious. It was very hot in New York, I was waiting for my train below ground and there was no breeze. My heart rate was still high from walking quickly to the local subway station. My thoughts were starting to spiral.

Simply telling myself to “stop being anxious” was clearly not helping, so I went for my next best idea: replacing one thing with another.

I asked myself: how would you like to feel right now?

Calm, confident, excited to be on a small adventure?

I got into a corner without other people to lower my mask for a minute (it’s not mandatory here), took a few slow, deep breaths, listed the positive reasons for my little adventure, and then took out a book to feed my mind more engaging and fun material. The rest of the day went fine.

Replacement Behaviours: Sugar Challenge Edition

When I came back, I needed something to keep my energy up (purpose/reason/trigger), and I didn’t want to reach for refined sugar (undesired behaviour), so I got myself a smoothie (replacement behaviour).

I usually only have green smoothies, but – to avoid a repeat of my earlier kale smoothie debacle (god, I hate myself for saying that) – I had a fruity one with mango, pineapple, banana, and almond milk. It was really good. (It was also very sweet and I ended up sipping it slowly throughout the afternoon, and then sharing the rest with my partner, who could easily down a milkshake in thirty seconds if asked.)

Delicious smoothie & writing on the balcony

I’m still having a hard time making it through the whole day without wanting a nap, but I’m sure that’s still the hormones.

I’m also still eating frequently (every two hours). I hope I can get back to more normal meal times when my blood sugar stabilises. (Then again, some argue that these are normal times, so we’ll see.)

How to apply this

Some (simplified) ideas to apply the concept of replacement behaviours to your sugar challenge:

  • If you eat sugar because you’re hungry, make sure you eat enough meals (short-term) and know you’ll probably get less cravings when your blood sugar stabilises (long-term)
  • If you eat sugar because you want more energy, have a smoothie or some fruit (short-term) and get some sleep + consider moving your body on a regular basis if you’re able to (long-term)
  • If you eat sugar because you’re sad/upset/frustrated, learn to sit with your feelings (long-term) and come up with a strategy to feel better now (short-term)

I hope this is helpful! If you have kids, you’ll understand the benefits of replacement behaviours. (“No, you can’t jump on the couch, but if you want, you can jump on the trampoline outside.”)

May all your replacements be better than the original,



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