Last year I shared how important it is to take some time to breathe and reflect on a daily basis, when in conflict, and having to make important decisions. It gives us time to uncover our thoughts and have a more informed perspective about the situation. Lately I have been taking some pauses and I will be sharing in a three-part series about my experiences.
This is part two. Check out part one here.
By the time this is posted, it will be my first day having sweets after 40 days.
Since I was young, I have loved to eat treats. When I became a teenager, I started baking. I still love to bake, and it is actually one of my favorite things to do. When I became an adult, having dessert at a restaurant was almost a must. When I became a parent, ice cream was there after a long day of giving.
Every day was visited by sweet treats, and as the years went by, so did the amount of treats. There was always a reason why, and while I was enjoying dancing with sugar, I was starting to see how it had turned into my default method of managing my life. I did not want to continue walking that way.
My habit kept growing and it was starting to take over my body.
I decided that it was time to take a pause, and bought a book I had seen at a store while checking out: The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation by Wendy Speake. It was more than what I bargained for.
Overall, it wasn’t as hard as it sounds. I was still eating normally, yet skipping anything with added sugar. Yes, I lost a few pounds, but that was the least of the rewards.
My eyes were opened to see how much I go to food when I am uncomfortable. I did not know that I was an emotional eater until I had my little one. As I started a journey to a healthier relationship with food, I noticed that I took any excuse of boredom or tiredness or anger to run to the kitchen. During the fast, I even caught myself at the entrance to the pantry about to grab some crackers, after some frustration with my husband. I stopped and said a prayer to release that discomfort instead of stuffing my face and thus stuffing my feelings.
I grew closer to God. For me, connecting with God is a very important pillar in my life. I took advantage of the triggering emotions and said a prayer instead of wallowing in my craving. It was easier to stay in the right mindset because I was constantly feeding my spirit with edifying thoughts, teachings and prayers. Like a chain, it built on itself and made it easier for me to be less driven my emotions and more driven by my principles.
I had been setting myself up for failure. Constantly buying treats or baking while wanting to live a healthy lifestyle was a fool’s game. Saying no when the cake or chocolate is sitting right there is very hard for me. I will confess that I have bought treats to try when the day comes, but they will not live in our house. I am not opposed to having a thing or two at hand, but having buffet-scale variety is very unnecessary.
I realized that I enjoy being that free person, and don’t ever want to go back. At first, I missed being able to stuff my face. I don’t think that I will ever quit sugar. I don’t like rigid diets or eating guidelines. I do want to foster an appropriate relationship with food and enjoy it for my nourishment and in social engagements, and not as way to deal with my life. I plan to share my sweets, continue praying during triggering moments, and always keep in mind that I have ready access to sweets, so I don’t have to eat as if I can’t have them tomorrow.
The biggest surprise is that I don’t have one thing that I want to eat come day 41. What I really miss is the freedom to eat anything. I plan on having a very normal day and only eating something if I think it will be worth my while.
Have you ever done something like this? Let me know if you have, and how it went! If you haven’t, I hope that this inspires you to take a pause to understand yourself better and pivot if necessary.