As I eat lunch today, I am looking over the Food Section of the newspaper and reading easy cookie recipes for people who don’t know how to bake, or just don’t love to bake. Before reading the recipe, I hone in on how much sugar each recipe uses; I sigh.
I think back to last December, when I had gained a few pounds after returning to school. While there, I had relearned the hard sparkling truth about white sugar, and so I decided to give up all sugar from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Day. ALL sugar. That included wine, too, not just festive holiday cookies you see in bakeries and at parties once a year, or the Panettone specialty bread and other yeasty delights available only during December, and let’s not even talk about forgoing chocolate. Just thinking about that loss makes me close my eyes and center myself with five deep breaths.
You may be thinking, “Were you just crazy, or what, to forgo sugar at the very best time for all things sweet?” Honestly, there was a method to my madness beyond becoming a masochist for thirty days. First, I had experienced a number of holiday seasons: this wasn’t my first rodeo. I truly believed I had tasted all the holiday treats anyone has ever invented, and so giving up sweets for one season seemed doable. Desperation to fit into my clothes became a strong motivator, after failing to lose the weight after my courses ended. On Thanksgiving Day the pumpkin pie slid too easily down my throat for me to truly grasp that those bites were the last sugar, in any form, I would have for thirty days, except for one-half cup of berries three times a week the nutritionist said I needed to keep me healthy and flu-free.
Yes, a couple of times I fell into the sugar ditch and took a bite of something made with the forbidden plant, but I didn’t beat myself up or dwell on it. I just considered how I felt emotionally and physically, and vowed to get back on the high road, ASAP. I did, and I noticed several things as the month went on: I was less wired, less irritable, and my head was clearer. I even slept better, despite the stresses of the season. The best part came while packing to travel at Christmas…almost all my clothes fit! I had dropped five pounds and I was a few inches smaller in the classic three measurements-bust, waist, and hips. I had done it, and to be completely honest, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, mainly because I had become very motivated to lose weight. An additional benefit I experienced, which I know from my work, came from a decreased desire for sugar after the month ended. I was free of its pull, free from wanting sweet things. That was empowering, very empowering, a sensation I continue to relish.
Have I gone back to eating sugar? Yes, but so much less than before. Feeling free from, well, let’s face it, sugar addiction, is powerful, and knowing I can take it or leave it feeds that awareness even more. Now, when I have sugar it’s a conscious decision, and I can take two or three bites of something and be satisfied. (Since I love to cook, I do like to taste everything!)
I am not suggesting you give up sugar during the holidays, but I think it is important for me to walk the walk and talk the talk, if I am asking you to consider your sugar intake this holiday season. Writing to suggest you eat less sugar, in say June, would be a piece of cake, oops, sorry, a lovely cup of berries.????
Until next time…Be Vibrant!