Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Defining--and keeping--a commitment

It's been interesting to observe the attitudes and actions of other people who feel some solidarity with me around freedom from sugar. I've had at least a dozen people say they are also giving up sugar. Then I've watched them eat pie and cake and just a bite of that chocolate and only half of that muffin, and then they turn to me guiltily as if I'm the sugar police.

Two things occur to me around this. First, there's a real difference in energy between "should" give up sugar and "committed" to giving up sugar. I was in the "should" space for about 10 years (following 10 years of "hell, no, you can't make me give it up." The "should" space never lasted for more than a few months. I'd believe I had a firm commitment, but really all I wanted to do was lose weight and then go back to eating exactly as I had been before. I still needed sugar too much.

I suspect that these folks who want to join me are doing so because they feel they "should" give up sugar, not that they really want to. For me, there's something different this time. I can see what it keeps me from experiencing as well as the negative impact on my health and well-being and I want that well-being more than I want the sugar.

Second, as human beings, I think we tend to feel guilty when someone else's resolve is stronger than ours. I've felt guilty for years that I don't have the self-control around food that one of my sisters does. She's able to indulge from time to time and then abstain, seemingly at will. And I just could never do that. I'm wired differently, motivated differently. I definitely don't want to police other people's actions or have them feel guilty around me because I appear to be able to do something they can't when again it's really a difference in commitment. I want to tell them that it isn't virtue that's driving me; there's no me good, you bad. It's just a different commitment, that's all.

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