Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Valentine's Day to Bastille Day

Today it's been 5 months since I gave up sugar. Desserts, to be more truthful. Some of the people I've met on the no-sugar path are avid label readers and won't touch anything with sugar as an ingredient. I've found that sugar alone is not the issue for me. It's the combination of sugar and fat and other things that make binge foods for me, foods I can't let go of once I start. So over the last months, I've eaten the occasional bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios or put a smear of raspberry jam on the my English muffin or ordered carmelized onions on my sandwich.

Over the months, the no-dessert experience has become easier. I just don't do it. I find it easier to speak, easier to feel neutral when I speak it, less need to explain. And people seem to hear "I don't eat dessert" far more easily than "No thank you" to a specific offer.

One thing that has helped a great deal, I think, has been the suggestion of my therapist that I not focus on weight loss but rather on eating a bit less and not eating dessert. I've not been obsessed with the scale (although I've lost nearly 20 pounds) and I eat what I want within reason. It's given me an opportunity to change my relationship with food. I think about food much less as time goes on. I still enjoy it, I still pick out things I like at the store and enjoy eating out but without the prospect of yummy treats at the end of the day, it's a different relationship. More pragmatic, more ordinary, perhaps.

There are still restless times, times when I want to use food to soothe myself. I haven't expected that to go away, as the habit is lifelong, but I'm beginning to accept that what I can eat is not going to soothe those feelings and I'm not willing to go back to the old foods that do.

Most importantly, I don't spend time in shame and guilt around food anymore. I just don't. Hurray!

Franny Update: Thanks for your kind wishes about Franny. She has been eating better although she has a bad cold (a common occurrence for shelter animals). I'm still concerned but we're both doing better and really bonding.

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