I'm not known for being good at moderation. I know people who do a great job with it, but I am not one of them. I'm either in or out. On or off. Full steam ahead or dead standstill. I don't do much in-between.
So that's why I am having such a hard time with finding a way to live harmoniously with sugar. It is a major impediment to my workouts, nutrition, and general happiness, but I still keeping trying to find room for it in my life. It's as if sugar is an old friend from high school that I have grown apart from, but she still wants to hang out. We don't really have much in common anymore, and I'm just into different stuff now. We have some mutual friends and I see her from time to time, and I don't really have much to say but I feel like I should at least be polite. Then after a while I remember that she was the kind of friend who stole my stuff and talked bad about me behind my back, and I'm reminded of why I didn't want to hang out anymore. It's not that we didn't have some good times, I'm just in a different place.
For the most part, I avoid sugar completely. I've even gone for long stretches where I didn't have any at all, but then BAM! It hits me square in the face. Usually on a Saturday, when my defenses are down and I'm in a party mood.
Before I know it, I find myself in the situation that occurred this weekend. I was sitting on the arm of a sofa watching my husband and our friends play Rock Band when one of my best girlfriends asked, "how's the training going?" "Great!" I enthused, popping a handful of mint m&ms into my mouth. The irony did not escape me, I just chose to ignore it.
Later that evening, birthday cake took the stage, and against my better judgment, there I was. A couple of hours later, stomach aching, I bemoaned my momentary lapse of sanity and vowed never to eat sugar again. I knew in my heart that it was an empty promise, but I knew that even deeper down, I was serious. I want to find a way to get sugar out of my life once and for all.
I feel like such a hypocrite. I've always maintained that a little splurge once a week or so is good for us, and I've savored my chocolate frosted brownie on Saturday night feeling like I had earned it for all of my hard work during the week. But a little voice in my head sang out, "you're not being honest..." I pushed it away. Me like chocolate. Chocolate is good. Yummy yummy yummy. And then, 20 minutes later, I'm feeling gross and wishing I hadn't "treated" myself to a stomachache.
I have a little motto that I self-righteously share with people when they talk about "treating" themselves with sweets or whatever food they deny themselves on a regular basis. I remind them, and myself, that eating crap is not a treat. Putting trashy food into your body is not a treat. Why is self-sabotage considered a treat? Because it's tasty?
I was so proud the day that a friend told me that she had shared my little motto with her Weight Watchers group and that they had actually printed it on bookmarks so they could remember it in times of temptation. I felt so smart and smug. And I was truly happy that my message had resonated with someone. I maintain that by calling these little diversions "treats" we are tricking ourselves into thinking that we've earned them as a badge of honor, but in reality we are taking two steps forward and one step back. So instead, I try to call a spade a spade. Eating chocolately goodness is not a treat. It is yummy and it is fun for a while, but it is not a treat. It's a step back in this process, and one that is rarely worth it.
Well, now it is time for me to heed my own advice. I don't know exactly how I am going to do it, how long it will take, or whether I will succeed, but sugar and I need to have a talk. It's not you, sugar, it's me.
Well no, actually, it is you.