1. Denial and isolation: “I can stop whenever I want.” Followed by, “Everyone else is eating sugar, but not me. I’m all alooooooooone.”
2. Anger: “Dammit, I want a cookie!”
3. Bargaining: “Okay, I can have sugar, but only one square of dark chocolate a night. No? Okay, how about every other night? Twice a week? Once on the weekend?”
4. Depression: “I’ll never beat this addiction. If I have even one bite, it will be like giving an addict the keys to the evidence room in the police precinct.”
5. Acceptance: “Hell YES I will do this. I will be all zen and shit. Me? Eat sugar? No, I’m better than that.”
I know it seems extreme, but for me, it’s necessary. I don’t even eat many processed foods with added sugar. I rarely drink sodas or other sweet drinks. Most of my diet is really healthy.
But… I have a weakness for chocolate, cookies, pastries, and more. That’s where my problems begin and end. I’d like to think I can have just a little bit, but a little bit turns into more, which turns into more, which turns into one night when I scarf down an entire two-serving chocolate bar and still want more after that. And then I wake up the next morning with the mother of all headaches and feeling like I am in the midst of the world’s worst hangover.
And along the way, as my sugar intake increases, my weight goes up, my skin breaks out, and I generally start to feel like crap.
So, it’s best for me if for now I stay away from sweet treats. I still allow myself one-quarter teaspoon of honey in my one cup of morning coffee and that’s it. If, later in the day I start jonesing for sweet things, I have a clementine or some of my homemade applesauce* or some grapes.
* Just apples and cinnamon and that’s it.
Surprisingly, I’m feeling fine about not having chocolate. Not pining (too much) for the things I’m not allowing myself to have.
Yes, I know that the timing of this sugar fast could be seen as unfortunate, what with the imminent arrival of the holidays, but for me, it’s actually the best way I can prepare for the holidays. Seriously, staying away from what is basically street legal heroin now makes it easier for me to resist temptation later.
Take Thanksgiving. This year I’ll be making all the desserts for my extended familys’ feast. I volunteered for duty, in fact. No, that’s not lunacy talking. Because luckily for me, none of the Thanksgiving desserts tempt me. So while I might have a sliver pumpkin cheesecake or a tiny bit of apple crisp, no one’s going to find me under the table with pumpkin smeared all over my face and bits o’ crisp all over my shirt.
The month of December, however, will be more of a challenge. There are so many things available only this time of year that I utterly adore — pfeffernusse, vanilla cookies with colorful frosting, gingerbread… The list goes on. So I have to decide how I’m going to approach the 31 days of December.
What’s worked in the past for me is negotiating with myself in advance: “Okay Jen, you can have one cookie at this holiday party. And you have to wait an hour before you do and afterward you have to walk away from the dessert table and not look back.” That tactic works surprisingly well for me.
Some years, I’ve exercised moderate caution with my eating in December, but then used exercise as the crutch that keeps me from getting to January 1 feeling bloated and gross. Unfortunately, in August, one of my Achilles tendons started to bother me, got worse, and has reached the point that I’m in twice-a-week physical therapy. The PT told me it could take months for the tendon to heal and in the meantime, I have limited exercise options. So I have to actually eat properly and not power walk off the cookies.
I could about this, but I’m not going to. I’m a grown-ass woman who needs to take care of her health now, lest she end up like some of the people she’s seeing at the physical therapy clinic: 70 years old and in constant pain and with limited mobility because they didn’t take care of themselves all along. No, nope, no way.
So that’s what’s going on around here. (With me, at least.) How about you? Are you doing anything to prepare for the holiday food orgy? How are you keeping yourself healthy?