“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
How true when wind chills hover around -35 Fahrenheit (-37.22 Celsius) in the wee hours of the morning and when daytime temps are near 0. We are having an especially frigid week, reminiscent of last year’s It’s-colder-than-a-witch’s-behind winter. The long johns and hot beverages are working overtime.
Funny, I’m not especially grumpy over the cold. I told Herman over at Hands on Bowie that I would trade his snow and a piece of dark chocolate for the wind chills, but it was jest. In reality, there is enough snow on the ground here and I have momentarily given up any dark chocolate bars or truffles or blackish-brown blobs that attach themselves to cookies and pretzels.
This is not a New Year’s resolution and I am not getting a head start on Lent.
You see, I am a life-long sugar addict. Less of one now than what I was at age 8 or 18 or 35, but still an addict. I crave sweets more than savory or salty goodness; more than the taste of a dark beer or a vinegar-infused dressing; more than potato chips or a dry red wine; more than the salad on my plate or the apple that keeps the doctor away. Give me a cookie or muffin with morning coffee and I will tell you that I am in “comfort food” heaven.
I’m attempting to end that cycle. In 14 days. I started on Wednesday.
I grew up with meals that, for the most part, included dessert – pudding, gelatin, apple kuchen, pie, cake, etc. Dad always had a candy jar. I have childhood memories of Halloween treats, Christmas candy canes, and eating small, sugary dots off strips of paper. I loved Almond Joy bars and red licorice. A sweet tooth, nay a sweet mouth, was developed early on and it has been a struggle to “just say no” when a treat is placed in front of my face.
Is the bend toward sweet a genetic propensity? A relentless addiction? A sorcerer’s spell? A weakness in resolve? Or someone’s evil plan to give me a muffin top?
The answer lies in my own being with a steady resolve to stick to the plan, control urges and take advice from Doctor Oz and Doctor Fuhrman to control sugar cravings. A steady resolve has always been a battle. I can really suck at commitment. I roll with the waves, ebbing and flowing, letting exercise and healthy food habits wash in and out with the tide. I aspire to be more like Natasha, who commits to good food choices (other than eating some of my Christmas cookies) and who also has much less of a sweet tooth.
Not all is doom and gloom. In many ways, I have already changed habits: I eat very few processed foods. I choose stevia over white sugar. I stay away from high fructose corn syrup, which is in everything. I don’t bake cookies, muffins or cakes at home except for the holidays and special events. I say “no!” to gummy bears. I choose organic and whole foods.
At this point, after two days, I remain resolved. I have not eaten cookies or spread honey on toast. Green salads, protein and healthy fats touch my lips. The chocolate turtles sitting in the break room go untouched (the workplace is a difficult test as there seems to be a consistent supply of candy, chocolate and sweets available) (and people who are happy with the availability).
How do I stay committed? Here might be the answers:
- It starts with ME. I am responsible for my actions. If I eat a cookie, I face the consequences (the muffin top will never disappear and I will never conquer the cravings). I will offer no excuses. None. (Hormones and broken fingernails do not count.)
- I will keep a food journal for a minimum of two weeks. This has worked for me in the past. It’s hard to eat something off the plan if I have to honestly write it down on paper.
- I will tell everyone. Natasha knows. My boss knows. A co-worker knows. Facebook friends know. And now YOU know. As with the journal, your knowledge will help me stay on the wagon because I don’t want to confess to blackish-brown goo on my lips.
- I will shop for the foods that dare to keep me off bad sugar cravings – asparagus, broccoli, beans and chickpeas, avocado, nuts and seeds, hard cheese/unsweetened Greek yogurt (and a Lactaid pill), apples, and olives. All in the appropriate moderation.
Does this sound like a plan?
Wish a steady, unwavering, not-so-sweet resolve for me, dear readers.
Pray that I stay on this wagon as a life-long journey toward a healthy and happy Mary J.
Shake your pom-poms and do the wave if you will.
And send your dark chocolate to Herman.