30 Oct I Dream of Cake
Well, here I am at the end of my month without sugar… and I am still alive. Barely. Actually, I am doing quite well, which is a huge surprise to me. The first 2-3 weeks of this month were amazingly easy. I had stocked up on enough sugarless fare to sustain me and eating without sugar seemed kind of novel and exciting. (Dates for dessert? How exotic!)
By week four, though, I hit a stage akin to the the marathon runner’s mile 20. I started to feel like I couldn’t go on. My energy was low and I began, literally, to dream of cake. I can remember my mom telling me, during the Atkins diet phase of her life, that she would dream of eating pasta. I thought that was weird at the time, but now I totally get it.
However, I think my Mile 20 was triggered by two events that occurred at the same time: my son Orlando’s tonsillectomy and my favorite monthly visitor. The latter event is usually when I crave sweets the most anyway, and the former not only exposed me to the vast amounts of ice cream needed to a sustain a recently tonsil-freed kid (Oh, how many times I had to hold myself back from indulging in a spoonful of the sweet stuff as I spooned it into his little mouth) but it was also just plain stressful. I was up several times at night trying to force Tylenol into him while he screamed at me and then I would get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work. So yeah, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and when you are overwhelmed, a hot fudge sundae can start looking like your best friend.
But I resisted. I did not indulge my cravings, even though I really wanted to. And now here I am, proud of myself, at the end of a long month without the sweet stuff. And Halloween is only one day away, lucky me! However, I plan to be more picky about sugar from now on. I used to just mindlessly indulge in the stuff, grabbing a few mini Snickers from the secretary’s basket at work, partaking in every cupcake offered me by a student with a birthday, loading up on three, four, or five cookies at a time when I baked with my kids, even though I would strictly limit them to just one.
This month has made me mindful of all the times I ate sugar for no real reason. I wasn’t craving it. I just ate it because it was there. I do not want to live a sugarless life, but when I do eat sweets, I want to do so deliberately, purposely. I want to the treats to be of high quality (think lovingly homemade baked goods, high quality dark chocolate, locally made ice cream) and I want to actually want them. It is truly surprising to me that in one month without sugar, I actually only really wanted it once.
As always, my last question to myself is… where do I go from here? What will I give up for November? When I think about what I’d really like less of in my life, the answer is simple: stress. I’d like to live a month without stress. (Hey, wouldn’t we all? I hear you saying. I’d also like a Porsche and a starring role in the next Brad Pritt movie.) The problem with this is that trying to live without stress is rather ambiguous. It’s like saying I’m going to live one month without negativity. It is too hard to define, too slippery, and rather doomed to failure. (How’s that for optimism, huh? Guess the month without negativity is already shot!)
So, taking these challenges into account, I have decided to live a month WITH something that will hopefully lead to my desired results of living WITHOUT something, namely stress. November will be my month of living with meditation. I will commit to meditating every day for whatever amount of time I can manage on that day. Some days it might be just two minutes, some days twenty. We’ll see. The nice thing is this goal does not require me to purchase any arcane foods or try new recipes on my unsuspecting children. All I have to do is find a little quiet time each day… and full-time working moms of four-year-old triplets have tons of that so it shouldn’t be too hard. 😉
But I am excited about the challenge of finding the peace in my life. Where are those quiet pockets? Perhaps they are all around me and I am just ignoring them. Wish me luck, send me some positive vibes, blow me a smoke signal on a peace pipe, whatever those people who meditate a lot do. I guess I’m about to find out. 🙂