Usually when I write I have to go back and change sentences up where I’ve gotten too many sentences beginning with “I”. And, then, also I try not to be preachy but to show and tell my experiences and give my take on stuff - just like I was speaking to someone who really cared about what I say. Wordpress blogging is a really cool platform to share life experiences. I like to read about other people’s lives as well.
OK, so here’s my “About Me”
I am a Christian woman, mother with one child left at home home-schooling 11th grade... grandmother of 2, wife to a man with frontotemporal dementia who is now living in assisted living. I’m an artist who paints in oils and acrylics and sometimes acrylics with oil overlay. I’m a writer and the more I write the more I want to... write! I feel that writing about my life is a purpose I am called to do. Currently I’m giving up sweets which is not for any religious purpose except that I was eating WAY too much of the sweet stuff! So since November 1, 2018 nearly all of my posts have been about this process. The month of October, 2018 I wrote poetry because it was Octpowrimo month. Before that I blogged about my paintings, my art process, and about caregiving my husband who I placed in assisted living the beginning of October, 2018. I love homemaking and organizing and making things work.
I don’t know everything but like to learn.
I originally wrote The Art of Caregiving, a book about my family’s long suffering, learning, and believe it or not... growing.... (6 years so far as of 2018) through my husband’s early onset behavioral type frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). I crammed into that book the details of the life we have lived while my still young daughter and I had taken care of my husband.
My original Art of Caregiving book was about him, a man with a terminal illness with all his faults and problems. It was less about us. But this new out of the ashes approach for this blog is about living, light, and life. Of course it will be peppered in with real life incidents and dementia difficulties as well as humor.
Who am I? Wouldn’t we all like to know just who we are?
What do I do might be a better question. So, here goes the best answer I can give to both questions.
I am an artist and have been able to express myself through the difficult days of caregiving by putting my emotions onto canvas. I am drawn to painting rocky and turbulent ocean scenes in between learning to paint peaches, people, street scenes, and pathways through meadows.
I am a Christian and I love to study the Bible. I host a weekly bible study where we simply read the Bible together. So far we have read Genesis, Exodus, Luke, John, Acts, Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians. We begin Joshua this afternoon as I write this I am thankful for this study group which makes me have to stay on my toes so I always study up before we come together and read. I have loved to learn different methods to memorize scripture and it is so cool how a scripture verse will come to mind during all kinds of life events to put my mind and heart and spirit on the right path whenever faced with any dilemma. I have many different ways I approach memorization and I am very excited to share them with you. I have a separate page on my blog where I show how I do some of the memory work I do and I have a verse in my back pocket nearly every day I’m working on.
I am a creative person so I like to do things my own way. Not because, so much, that I am stubborn, but that I like to figure out the best ways to make things in my life work. have approached caregiving in a different way than most. I approach giving up sweets my own way... and it is so far working! Come along with me on my journey and experience my whimsical ways... on the paths where my life twists and turns but always leads me to God.
It’s always a long wait. They open at 10. I got here at 9:50 and there were already three people in line.
Since the denial of my claim for aid and attendance for my husband’s assisted living, I have worked hard to collect additional evidence and learn what I can to best support the claim. The Veteran’s administration is a mountain. I’m doing the best I can with it. So, Lord willing … it gets approved!
Working on my people on day 74 of 172 of giving up sweets
I’m making such minute changes now that it’s a game of what’s different to see what changes are even there. Those people on the couch, I think, have tired from their portraits and need a rest. I may be needing to get this wrapped up and framed soon. I am donating it to the kind folks who took my husband in at Morning Star Memory Care In Fredericksburg, Texas. He’s been in good hands there.
I’ve included in my title where I am on the giving up sweets challenge because I am still doing it every day! Doing a challenging painting has been good for putting my hands to work and keeping on keeping them out of the cookie jar.
Pillows behind my people on day 70 of 172 of giving up sweets
My left couch ladies needed pillows behind them. They’d never be sitting straight backed or perched so they seemed stiff without some back support. So I painted in some pillows. Next I need to try and lengthen the far left enthralled lady’s legs. And I need to lengthen and define better my husband’s fingers.
My painting style is to keep layering up paint while working to the goal of the painting which for this one is to reveal gestures of personality. For though body and mind are frail, humanity is still there.
Over several days I’ve worked on this painting. I sometimes remember to take a picture! Not finished but sharing my progress… in the last picture you will see I decided a dark background was necessary to make the people what the eye is drawn to. Their white heads were blending too much into the background.
“Scheduling in Art” On day 67 of 172 days of giving up sweets
I’ve ruined art pieces. Good thing I took a picture of this one before I painted over it.
Art can take over my life. In the past I’ve given precious time and energy to whatever whimsical idea would come my way. I was what you might say, “out on a whim”. But, my desire is to master my art, reign in my talents, and focus on finishing.
Scheduling an appointment with myself for my art, like I would do any other important endeavor, is one of my plans for this new year.
To complete the writing process of my book as well as finish some specific paintings, I have chosen to block in time on my calendar and establish deadlines to accomplish these otherwise open ended tasks. Treating them as an appointment puts me in charge instead of the whimsical way I have approached my art.
I will blog about the results… which hopefully will be GOOD!
It will most likely be: writing after breakfast and painting after lunch.
So enraptured, we create!
We write, we carve, we build, we paint.
But, the most important time of day comes first before I do anything else. Prayer, bible study, and scripture memorization. Most days I have a scripture in my pocket I’m working on memorizing. At odd times during the day I will pull it out and work on it and sometimes, forgetting to check my pockets, I send them through the wash.
I Must Make Art! on day 66 of 172 of giving up sweets
My pendant “I MUST MAKE ART” was photographed in front of one of my many water over rocks scenes, a painting hanging in my bedroom. I have many more like it stacked in my closet at various levels of completion. Some are signed but I don’t feel they are completed.
The deep desire to paint has come after days of pouring myself into writing. Writing is one thing… getting it to where someone will be able to relate to it is something else. Writers always say it is hard work and it is so true. When I write I feel like I’ve given my all.
For this week, I plan to block in painting and writing time on my calendar so that I will do both each day. I wonder if it will work that way…
By the way, both writing and painting make time zip by so fast. I might say that I’m painting and writing my life away! A timer is my friend to remind me to take a break.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my daughter is homeschooling her high school years and “we” are in her Junior year now. So, my job is to keep her on task and to feed us healthy meals. I try to keep a step ahead of her desire to go get fast food. So, I will cook us slow meals here that are both healthier more delicious. Yesterday I cooked good old fashioned beans and cornbread to which I added the leftover ham from our New Year’s dinner. And, since I gave up sweets, my palate has changed. I’ve been wanting more vegetables. Recently as a side dish I cooked up some mustard greens. Surprisingly, I was kind of craving it. I don’t think I have ever craved greens in my life.
A healthier diet means a healthier appetite. But, not right away. Join me and find out. I would love to have others come along!
Gingerbread Results on day 64 of 172 of giving up sweets
Of course you can see we are not professionals But we make gingerbread houses every year. There should be a gingerbread house school. I’d attend.
My daughter did a very neat house with a first time try in candy baked into a tree. The tree below left was made with a Christmas tree cutter with a triangle cutout and peppermint candy inserted inside and melted while baking the dough.
My house sports a thatch roof using shredded wheat cereal was frosting glued on for a most cozy gingerbread log home/ island retreat.
Mostly we just had fun. I served sloppy joes and bottled water to help keep the kids from getting too sugared up. Normally I’d wish I could sample a little candy but this year on day 64… don’t even want it!!!
Writing my book on day 63 of 172 of giving up sweets
New Years is bringing about my desire to:
FINISH MY CAREGIVING BOOK
I’ve got to get my caregiving book finished. I have been working on it off and on for the past couple of years. How many times I’ve rewritten its chapters. And, now that my husband has needed to go to assisted living, I am needing to give myself some writing and editing deadlines.
So, currently I am adding, subtracting, and editing my caregiving book. I’m finally able to see what it actually is. This writing process has been throwing a bunch of clay on a table and molding it and then carving it out, totally demolishing some parts and then building it back up.
While editing, I notice I tend to say “just” a lot. Just just just. Like this:
“I just wanted a break.” So I was thinking about that. What do I mean by “just”? Maybe what I really mean is “only”. I only wanted a break. But, do I say “just” because it has a little whiny capability to it? a little more oomph to it?
Maybe I also say “little” a lot. So I could say:
“I just wanted a little break.”
But the TRUTH is: I wanted a break. No just or little. I wanted a very long break.
I wanted it to be over.
As many of you know who are slogging through caregiving days, if you ever do get some respite, it is very difficult to relax if you “just” get a few hours.
Sometimes writing can get me to truth. Telling the truth in my writing means I have to revisit old information and ways of thinking and ask hard questions. Am I saying what I think people want to hear? Am I revealing nothing but saying something? That’s what makes writing soooooo difficult but also so cleansing.
Hosting a gingerbread house party today and gluing together some gingerbread houses ahead of time gives me great respect for people who make great gingerbread mansions. A few of the houses I purchased from an after Christmas sale. The others I made the old fashioned way, rolling out gingerbread and cutting them out…
Pretty sure you can figure out which one is the store bought. Mine I’m calling a “fixer upper”.
I ran to get some soup cans to help prop the walls together when I was gluing it together last night. They were all nicely together and then I heard them plop, plop, plop… as I was in the pantry. Next time (if there is) I get the soup cans out before gluing. The base I made the night before to dry thoroughly.
This morning was roof day. I saw a cool tutorial about gluing together the roof and letting it dry first before putting it on. It seemed dry but when I put the roof on it went sliding down. Anyhow, all the houses are together now.
It’ll be fun having our friends come over and gluing the decorations on. After they are all completed those fixer uppers will be fixed. I’m sure I will choose to do this one because it will be a challenge.
Do you wonder how I can make gingerbread houses without eating any? I have no desire for sweets! What!!!??? If you’ve been reading my blog since day one of giving up sweets you will know I was eating cookies by the bag and I couldn’t open candy quick enough to eat it.
Giving up sweets has been instrumental to me in not desiring them.
If you want to do it and If you think you can’t do it, think again. Give it a go. I’m on day 62!
30 minutes was all it took to a better baking cabinet. There were about three problems I was having with it: I couldn’t fit the raisins on the middle shelf standing up so they were on their side with the lid on the end so I was having to stretch and reach that shelf so I’d barely get ahold of the lid and down they’d fall spilling out which really began bugging me. Then there was the lazy susan spice rack that wouldn’t turn, and finally, the bottom of the shelves needed cleaning.
These simple goals in mind, to make the contents better accessible and to make cooking and baking more pleasant, this small clean out was a quick success.
At the end I reorganized the contents so that the most used items are now on the lower shelf. That lazy susan spins nicely now which was my major goal and the raisins are in front of the oatmeal On the lower more reachable shelf. (Oatmeal lover that I am)
Happy New Year’s Eve, a great day for a clean out. I will be looking for other fun and rewardingly quick clean outs as I plow ahead into this new year.
I must admit that I am a cleaner outer. I’m always cleaning something out.
It’s really because at my heart I’m a messy person. Unfortunately.
Recently I cleaned out drawers in my kitchen and next I plan to clean out my baking ingredients cupboard because the lazy Susan I keep my spices in is not spinning around right. Like most messy areas of my home I find that there end up being things that are “misfiled”. Everything is a filing system, be it clothes, dishes, garage items, or baking spices. Not everything has to be perfectly orderly but small areas like my baking cabinet can get out of control and so need to be rethought. I like making things work smoothly and efficiently.
Like my mom always said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
The new year makes me conscious of the need to make my life more orderly. What things used to work smoothly but are needing rethinking? What needs to be made right? What things do I wish I would just go ahead and bravely do?
I feel that in my past I always had weight loss or eat better on the top of my list. Well, since I’m already doing those things on my 172 day plan, that leaves me room to move some other plans and goals up to the top of my list.
Recently I heard someone give advice not to share your goals because if you do you will have expended some important emotional energy on the sharing of the goals and that it will pull that surge of energy push needed to get you going on the goal. I don’t know if that’s right or not.
So, just in case, I will not share my goals; but what I will share is my accomplishments as I simplify and minimize all I can. And, furthermore, I plan to take inventory of my talents and abilities to see if I am best applying the gifts I have.
So in this new year I will share
Simplifying my life,
my sweets challenge,
my paintings in progress,
poetry and other writings,
experiences homeschooling my daughter as we begin the process of getting her ready to take the SAT.
And, of course information pertaining to visiting my husband in assisted living and the application for veteran’s benefits.
Morning Star Meeting on day 58 of 172 of giving up sweets
I’m enjoying bringing my “painting people” here to life. The process has involved many layers of paint. Since I brought these folks together from a few different photos I’ve had to figure out how they’d be sitting on this couch together. I have some problems to sort out like the woman on the far left needs to scoot back and sit farther in… or I need to make her appear to be perched a little better on the cushion’s edge. Expressions are coming along as I dabble paint here and there – what a way to do it, huh? I just keep putting more shadow, color, rosey up this and put a wrinkle there until I start seeing the person.
My husband is beginning to look like himself – but it’s like one of those creepy pictures that looks like the person is staring at you.
I have the painting propped so I can see it during the day as I always do when I’m working on a painting so that I can figure out what it needs. I had painted more detail in the background but then decided it needed toning down. There was a Christmas wreath and some branches that could be seen through the windows from the beautiful backyard trees that are actually there but they were interfering with the main idea of the painting. So after I painted them in, I painted them out. It is a work in progress. I am using acrylic paints so you can block out easily and paint over.
I keep my paint palette tightly sealed so that it won’t dry out so I can just work on a painting any time and it doesn’t take a whole lot of setup.
Preparing to Paint on day 57 of 172 of giving up sweets
My beginning painting process doesn’t always include doing a sketch ahead of time. But since I am portraying people and placement and expressions I decided I’d best try it out. After the initial sketch, I decided a little different placement was needed to allow the woman on the far left a little more room since she is animatedly clasping her hands together. Her portrait was initially what I planned to paint because she seemed enraptured by the pianist serenading her with Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” at the Morning Star Memory Care Christmas party.
Considering the painting’s composition, the anchor on the left will be the serenaded woman. It is important in the painting placement because the woman on the far right is wearing a bright red jacket making that end heavy. In the middle I am wanting to capture the expressions in the sitting styles of those two people and when I begin layering paint I can give all of them life. I always learn something when I paint because I am forced to study a subject. Something as simple as sitting style became an interesting study. I’m no body language expert but I believe people communicate who they are without talking. Two of these people have lost their ability to talk, and even though they are all in various levels of dementia, they are all still bodily communicating. They are probably sitting the way they always have which I am guessing because I captured my husband sitting the way he always has.
As a painter, I don’t do people generally. So, this will be a challenge. I so want to get the expressions right. Third from the left is my husband and problem is right now it doesn’t look at all like him which is kind of strange because the others have more of a resemblance to the actual people than my husband. You’d think I could paint him. I’ll be working on it. I think I will do it in oils on canvas. I can’t wait to dive into my oil paints.
As I worked on the preliminary sketches I was thinking of those special people there. Like my husband, they once lived a full life on the outside but now are being protected and every need cared for. I pieced them together as if they were sitting together on the couch.
Yesterday, because it was Christmas, I tried to test myself by planning ahead to eat just a tiny sliver of cake but it didn’t taste good when I took only a tiny nibble. Have I gotten incredibly picky? I enjoyed the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts I roasted as part of our Christmas dinner. Fact is the cake was just way too sweet.
As the 55 days have passed by, I’ve considered many times switching to non whole grain breads and pasta. Reason why? Research is telling me that there are foods and drink that go quickly to sugar in your body. Here is the list I’ve made thus far. Of course sweets is still on the top.
In the Texas hill country, snow is usually nonexistent and that’s the way I like it having moved from Colorado, my snowy home for 20 years. I don’t miss driving in it or shoveling it or slipping down on it.
But I do miss the tranquility of large flakes flitting, blanketing neighborhoods in cool blues. Then there’s that Gilmore Girl breathable cold sweetness right before a snow. Or red cheeked returning sledders, huddling hot chocolate.
So I wanted to try painting snow. Oh what fun on a sunny 70 degree Texas day.
Merry Christmas Eve from the Texas Hill Country!!!
Though the melody sings for all to hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, Christmas time can be the loneliest.
Recently we were eating at Cracker Barrel, a homey chain restaurant with an enormous wood fireplace serving southern home cooking and a large gift shop selling nostalgic toys and gift items. As we were, my daughter and I, sitting and chatting, I notice a man eating by himself and am reminded of the loneliness many people face. No wonder a person would pick a homey place like Cracker Barrel to have a lone meal.
But then I notice another table with an elderly couple who seem to be having a sad conversation and she has her hands in his. And, yet another family has four little children all zapped into their electronics. Then there are a couple of good-looking cowboys with their hats on talking on their cellular phones.
And I am glad that my daughter and I instituted a no cell phones dining practice.
What I look forward to the most on Christmas is spending it with our family and friends who we love all year long. We will attend a candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church to sing Christmas carols and remember the Spirit of Christmas. And then on Christmas Day we will celebrate with gifts and a Happy Birthday to Jesus cake, a tradition my mother started.
And then we will take my husband a slice of that cake to where he now resides at Morning Star Memory Care since he hasn’t forgotten he likes cake. And there we will light the candle on top and sing with him Happy Birthday to Jesus as we do every year.
And I plan to partake in a small sliver.
May all the wishings of Merry Christmas ring the good news of Christ “who came to seek and to save those who are lost”. Luke 19:10
Electronic Fire and Morning Star on Day 51 of giving up sweets
Keeping the home fires burning is always on my mind. And if I don’t stoke the fire, who’s going to? (Admitting here I don’t have a fireplace). So what is better than pulling out a technology fire that also plays Michael Bublè Christmas. On YouTube there are lots of fireplace scenes to choose from to crackle and “warm up” a space. I also like to set it up on my smart TV.
So by my “fire” I baked cookies (and Not eating them) for the Morning Star Memory Care Christmas party. My Husband was quite unwell and wanted to be tucked into his bed so we left early. A memorable moment was the pianist singing Patsy Cline “Crazy” to this sweet resident who deeply enjoyed the serenade. Music reaches people.
Day 50 is nearly a third of the way through my giving up sweets challenge and I am glad I have done it. What a gift I give myself each day as I pass by whatever treat of the moment might sparkle a little extra this holiday season. But, it doesn’t sparkle anything near the joy of not partaking in it.
And, if I weren’t in the throes of the 172 day challenge I’d probably be eating chocolate cake right now as I feel sorry for myself with back pain that has got me. I went to the chiropractor yesterday and he did an adjustment. It’s better, but I’m still having spasms in my middle back. And, he’s away now for a Christmas break. The first available appointment just in case I need it is January 8. So I booked it. I felt bad for doing that because I wanted to just go on faith that this spasm would leave me way long before then and no follow up needed. But the receptionist convinced me otherwise.
There was no fall or injury I can think of. But I did carry a heavy bed frame down the stairs. I don’t remember injuring it then. However, I was at my wits end trying to take that metal bed apart. The screws were stripping and they were round so no wrench could pry those screws loose enough to twist them out. I was on the floor contorted (aha! That’s when it happened!) trying to hacksaw across the screw heads to allow me to us a flathead screwdriver. A friend’s husband suggested that. I couldn’t get all the screws out but I was able to disassemble it enough to carry it, with help from my daughter, downstairs.
It was me vs those stripped screws that now has me in agony. And, I want to blame it on those cheap soft aluminum screws. They left nice piles of shavings on the floor.
So, wind knocked out of me, sitting against my heating pad I pop some Alleve and listen to Josh Groban work up majesty and excitement in Christmas carols. “O Come Let Us Adore Him!” And for a moment the pain leaves.
My Best Friend on day 49 of 172 of giving up sweets
My oldest daughter puts my grandchildren on FaceTime to talk with me, aka Mamaw, so she can get dinner cooked. So, we are all entertained with whatever we get into together. The cutest thing is when my toddler granddaughter carries me around and my viewpoint is her forehead or her chubby cheeks and front of her shirt as she walks around with me in her hands. My favorite so far is she with her sippy cup and I with my water bottle drinking together and saying AHHH after each in between fits of giggles.
My best friend and I scheduled a FaceTime to open our gifts we mailed to each other together. My favorite part of our best friend’s FaceTime gift exchange was getting a tour of her house where she and her husband looked every bit Mr. and Mrs. Claus with their heartfelt gifts, preparations for a trip to visit grandchildren, and their beautiful decorations.
Before our call I was trying to remember how long we had been friends. We met in high school 38 years ago and she was a year ahead of me. She taught me to drive, how to dress, and how to put on makeup. But, what she has mostly taught me is how to stay in touch with a friend and make them feel special. She has always been the leader in that and I am so thankful.
Gold Coated Dessert Videos on day 48 of 172 of Giving up sweets
We like to watch Buzzfeed’s “Worth It”. It’s where these guys go to three different restaurants and eat and compare expensive and inexpensive foods. Usually they like the less expensive versions.
Them biting into a gold covered donut made me cringe. But they said that it melted away in their mouth.
The guys are just a riot.
I mention watching the show because I thought it an interesting test as to how I might feel watching the sweet stuff since I am giving up sweets. And you know I didn’t even want any.
But, I can imagine myself now rationally enjoying a sweet treat after my 172 days are up. And, I’ve mentioned it before: I will be on the search at that time for the perfect chocolate cake.
But, no, I didn’t even want any, and I didn’t even want any when I made my gingerbread manger scene. And let me tell you, I had no idea that these jelly beans were so strange. Had to read on the bag… there were buttery popcorn flavored jelly beans in there. Yuck. They ruined the whole bag. Usually when I make a gingerbread house I am eating loads of candy and frosting.
In order to get my manger roof to stay up I had to cut holes and support with candy canes. Problem was I cut the holes a little large so the holes around the candy canes had to be reinforced with lots of frosting. This is my first gingerbread manger scene. I used the wall cutout from our usual houses and cut two walls and glued them together with frosting. The hay is shredded wheat cereal. On top is my attempt at an angel.
Below, here is my daughter’s gingerbread house.
She cut the tree out and then cut the triangle middle out and cleverly put peppermints in and baked in the oven (on parchment paper). Last year we left out the parchment paper and couldn’t peel our candy windows off the cookie sheets. I think the little gingerbread boy looks like he’s ready to go out and play in the snow.
Feverishly pounding the keys on day 47 of 172 giving up sweets
I had a latte yesterday and the foam swirled a little birdlike so of course I helped give it a few feathers. This has nothing to do with my topic today but it was so cute I wanted to share.
So pardon me while I turn my gears…
I learned to type in high school on the old style typewriter with keys which must be struck hard unlike the soft touch of today’s iPad or computer keyboard. Our hands were up at carpal tunnel level before anyone knew the damage it could cause. Today I get numbness in my fingers if I do any task too long like crochet which I like to do. But if I keep my keyboard low enough I can type for hours.
Which is good because presently I’m feverishly typing my Art of Caregiving that I had in my laptop before it went blue screen. Fortunately I had printed stacks of paper so I didn’t lose my work. And I like the process of reinventing my writing while retyping it. It’s forced editing.
I like the sound of my fingers hitting the iPad keyboard. Sounds like rain to me. My favorite sound though had to be the IBM selectric. Oh the clickety clicks. I did college before computers. What a shame. I want a do over on that one!!! But Who knew the wonders of word processing at that time. We were our own word processors.
I do type fast. Where were those auto edits long ago when we typists had to be painstakingly perfect?
So much of life changes with invention and discovery and of course for my blog right now I have researched giving up sugar. Make sure to look up Dr Robert Lustig on YouTube if you still think “a calorie is a calorie”.
We should be our own information processors. We have a wealth of information in our hands.
This is my 47th day of giving up sweets and I am my own scientific experiment. Yes. It can be done!!! Oh and were you wondering about the latte? Non sweet with no artificial sweeteners either. I never had to give that up because I prefer a non sweet coffee.
What’s the Cost? To give up sweets on day 46 of 172
Doesn’t the world selling addictive food use the word crave. I’ve seen “obey your thirst” and the ideas of overconsumption used as cute little advertising gimmicks like “the fourth meal”. But, I want to sell you an idea:
Lose your crave.
But, before we buy into something, don’t we weigh the cost/benefit?
That’s what I want to do with you now. What are the costs? What benefits are there? Of course… I will tell you there are both. But I’ve got good news, of course, that’s it is really really
Really… worth it!
What would any of us pay to lose the out of control craving for (Anything… including sweets?) … the out of control desire that keeps us down, drugged, overweight, and unhealthy. Eating or using anything in a way that is self destructive is the very definition of insanity. So, I guess you might say I’m a recovering insane person? (Me laughing, not insanely)
Ok, so I am going to weigh the cost of giving it up:
“Naysayers” will in the smallest ways make fun of you and belittle your efforts, try to sabotage you, will not support you, and will be unable to understand, really, what you are doing! They really wish they could do the same but don’t believe they can. They may even be jealous of your efforts or success. How is that a cost? Well, it is a lot easier to go along with what everyone else thinks. It’s a lot harder to step outside of that and do something you know is right. It can be downright isolating. I think at some point the benefit that you find friends who actually care about you and maybe just perhaps you pull some people out of the mire of addiction as well. So, naysayers watch out!
Cravings, sometimes severe, mostly at the beginning. This only seems like a really big cost at the time! TRUST ME!
You have to find a plan which is a little difficult and stick to it, and ok… YES that is difficult. But, it will become your new way after all and will not take much effort to continue along in the process, the new strategy becomes your life
Effort – Saying no gets easier as you go
Weight loss. But maybe not right away. I am attempting NOT to concentrate on the weight loss (not that it is not needed) – it can be a trap because if you aren’t losing or are not losing at a rate you imagined when you gave up sweets and flipped out your calendar and pictured. your bikini bod on the beach in the summer… You know what I mean.
INCREASED energy. This is amazing. BUT only after the beginning few days of all out tiredness and you don’t have your DRUG OF CHOICE!
Clearer thinking. YES! This might be the best one of all.
OK so let’s weigh that against the opposing viewpoint which might be as follows:
“I know I have a problem but I don’t think I can do it. Am I right?”
Don’t wait to start. Start today. Though it’s the Christmas season and sweets sit calling your name… Go back and read my posts. I’ve been posting each day for the past 46 days! So, then, you will get new sweeter friends that understand and will support you in your effort.
Sweets Teetotaling Rehab on day 45 of 172 days of giving up sweets
I found this cool countdown app “Countdown Star” for my IPHONE! I think the background looks like sugar! How appropriate!
Ok, so first order of business here… I have to say a big whoops! I made an addition mistake – it’s not 210 days I’m giving up sweets. It’s 38 days fewer! I’m 45 days into a total of 172 days. I feel a little relieved by that mainly because I have planned to blog each day about the giving up sweets and then I am going to publish a do it yourself book to help people be able to get started… and stick with it.
Now, I’ll explain about where I get this teetotaling from…
Teetotalism pertains to people who make a lifestyle of giving up alcoholic beverages completely. And, I don’t subscribe to it for myself for alcohol. But that’s because I can drink a glass of wine but I don’t really care about drinking too much. I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I don’t crave it. Once I accidentally got drunk in a restaurant when I was 18 and newly married where everyone knew I wasn’t a drinker and they kept pouring their champagne in my glass. I had never had any alcohol before that and I weighed probably 120 pounds so I got drunk pretty quick and started crying in the middle of the restaurant because I couldn’t feel my face. It was really scary. You might say, I was scared straight from that time on. I have never wanted to be drunk again. I keep an unopened bottle of wine in the cabinet because sometimes I might like to serve it with a meal for guests. But, I haven’t ever craved alcohol. Come to think of it I haven’t craved anything except sweets.
So, for sweets, I have adopted the teetotaling philosophy but just for a period of time. II think teetotalism is the only way to go with sweets until the addiction cycle is broken.
Then after that I will move on to my second phase which is eating sweets sometimes, seldom, or for a special event (defined as not more than once a week and just only a serving).
So I’m presently a sweets teetotaler.
Why is it that so many people think they can get over an addiction to sweets by still eating sweets? I just bought a little magazine at the grocery store by Prevention Guide entitled“The Sugar Smart Diet, Sugar Detox Made Easy.” On the front cover is an apple pie with “Cure Your Cravings” in bold letters next to the pie. And inside the magazine there is lots of really good information for people like me who need to sugar detox. But, also, there are pages of pictures of sweets and recipes that make you think you can make them and still feed your sweets desire AND detox off the sweet cravings. That mess no sense!
My own sweet addicted life attests that curing cravings cannot happen while still eating sweets even if it’s low sugar or baked with fake sugar.
It has to be TOTALLY given up for a time. I’m doing 172 days. Don’t people go to drug rehab for 60 days? So, I’m over doing it for effect. So, you’d think by day 172 in my “sugar rehab” of sorts that I could kick that habit as well as the addiction, right!?
NO WHINERS – Part 4 of 10 of How I do it – on day 44 of 210 of giving up sweets
A little dab of plums or applesauce on the end of the spoon would get my babies to eat their green beans. They would all out gag on them otherwise. And, my toddlers, at the height of willfulness, would go hungry rather than eat something they didn’t want.
I would cook really nice dinners for my family and as my children got to school age they’d come in and complain about it. So, I instituted a “stand in the corner” rule for the offense of: complaining, asking what it was with intent to express dissatisfaction, crying, groaning, face-palming, or sighing heavily. The requirement was to try it but not eat the whole thing if they didn’t like it. And, it had to be a bite, not just some little lick.
It wasn’t good for any of us to come to the table like that. It wasn’t good for their development to think they could rule the roost on what I was making for dinner as well as create a fuss filled dinner time. But, it wasn’t easy for any of us for them to be in their separate corners and I ate alone. They figured it out really quick that I meant business. So, although they tell me they can still smell the wallpaper, I think we only did it a couple times. And, that made mealtime a nice place to be. I remember one of them saying that somebody’s mom makes them take a “no thank you” bite. I like that very much. Do you know, they learned to like the things I cooked that way. And, as well, they learned an important lesson: don’t mess with mom.
Raising children as a single parent… ouch!
Raising myself, even harder!
Aren’t we always raising ourselves? If there is something out of balance in our life – like (all kinds of too many to list things we do that aren’t so good for ourselves) and of course I add to that for many of us: eating too many sweets…
We must figure out a way to stop the whining that we can’t or don’t want to do it and stand ourselves in that proverbial corner.
SATIETY!- Part 3 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 43 of 210 of Giving up Sweets
Today I will talk about the one key ingredient to giving up sweets, and that is #3 of 10 ways I’m giving up sweets for 210 days.
My appetite has diminished although I still get hungry. I just don’t get ravenous. Desires and cravings have gone away. More than the craving for sweets has gone away. For instance, those old cravings for fast food have mostly subsided and I’m wanting to prepare more delicious meals at home.
When faced with too large a serving at a restaurant, I have no problem pushing it away when I’m pleasantly full. And, at home I don’t usually snack between meals. It’s not that I’m against the snacking. If I ever do, I am sure to reach for a Babybel cheese circle or some nuts.
Very Seldom do I Desire Sweets.
Besides blogging about it, I’m not consumed by thoughts of not being able to eat sweets. I don’t feel sorry for myself that I don’t get those Christmas cookies or that dessert that everyone’s having in front of me.
Instead I have found the pleasantness of NOT eating the sweet stuff.
SET A GOAL – Part 2 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 43 of 210 of Giving up Sweets
Yesterday’s “how-to” was: “Thought Control”.
Today’s “how-to” is #2 of 10 ways to give up sweets: “Set an achievable goal”
ASK YOURSELF: “WHAT IS MY GOAL?”
A sweet addiction is complicated, and that is why going off of it must include a well designed goal that solves the problem. There’s nothing else like a sweet addiction because there is so much wrapped up in being alone with a chocolate cake. Right?
What goal do we all jump to? Weight loss. Of course, losing weight probably is a need as well as a desire for the sweets challenged person. But, it’s best not to have weight loss as a goal AT ALL because the giving up sweets needs to be the primary focus. And, perhaps the giving up sweets is all that is needed to reaching a desired weight loss.
I will tell you, though, that weight loss is happening for me… and I’m not even working at it beyond giving up the sweets. I’m over 11 pounds down in these 43 days!
So, OF COURSE the goal needs to be to either:
eat fewer sweets,
or never binge on sweets,
or stop eating sweets for a period of time,
or never eat sweets again for the rest of your life (what! Scream heard trailing off into the distance)
Here is what my goal is:
STOP EATING SWEETS FOR 210 DAYS.
Your goal could be:
STOP EATING SWEETS FOR _______ SECONDS/MINUTES/HOURS/DAYS/MONTHS/YEARS… (ok, maybe not years!)
Now whatever you put in that blank is an achievable goal.
ASK YOURSELF: “IS MY GOAL ACHIEVABLE… FOR ME?”
Of course, you all know by now if you’ve been reading my blog (at least for the past 43 days… that I set a 210 days without sweets goal. Here are some questions that might help you to ask yourself:
1. Instead of asking, should I... and instead of asking is it possible…
Ask: Is it possible for me. Is it possible for me to go a particular time without sweets…
With my particular time I chose… 210 days… I had to say YES! because I once went much longer than that without eating sweets, so I know it’s possible for me.
2. Will I be able to keep it up?
It was a quirky thing to do with a strange enjoyment factor for me – the 210 days is the time from Halloween to Easter: “The Season of Sweeting”. I think if a goal is possible to attain there must be some enjoyment factor to be able to keep you doing it. I think the fact that so many people are astounded that I do it makes me want to do it. To have someone tell me they don’t think they can do it strangely makes me want to continue. Why is that? I do like to go against the grain, artistically, it’s my personality.
3. Do I have a plans in place to achieve my goal?
My first plan was to binge out on that Halloween candy (click to read the Halloween post where I made that decision here) and then to test myself I left the remaining candy in the bowl right where I had binged out on it, right by the front door where I was handing out the candy to trick-o-treaters. It was like a “crime scene”. If I’d have thought about it at the time I’d have gotten some crime scene tape and made it such. But, it was enough of a memory of that crime that I had involved myself in – on purpose- right before I knew I’d be giving up the sweets – BUT it just about killed me. – I was so sick from having done that! (NOT RECOMMENDING THIS!!!)
The second plan was… so very simple!
Don’t eat anything hereafter defined as sweets. candy, cake, cookies, cobbler, sweet soda or tea or coffee, dessert, pie. But, I don’t go crazy on the other foods like ketchup or spaghetti sauce… or bread or potatoes or pasta ..or fruit… I deferred that to a later decision. ALSO, I made the decision, since I was quitting sweets not to eat sweets that contain fake sugar. I was worried that might feed my addiction.
Quite simply, I’m giving up my binge worthy food. Which is sweets.
Part 1 of 10 of How I Give up Sweets on day 42 of 210 of Giving up Sweets
BECAUSE IT’S…..NOT!… ALL ABOUT EXERCISING SELF CONTROL,
for the next ten days, I plan to give to you the ten ways I give up sweets that are not simply exercising a flabby muscular will.
So here goes – #1 of 10 ways I give up sweets:
Giving up sweets means learning the truth and debunking the lies. Lies like:
“There are starving people in the world, so hungry or not you must eat.”
“Life is short, eat dessert first.”
“I need chocolate because I have pms, a fight with my mom, a bad day at work….”
“A calorie is a calorie.”
“You might as well eat the whole thing.”
“I can just burn it off by exercising.”
“This _____ will make me feel better.”
“I deserve it.”
“On Monday I will start my diet.”
“I have no willpower, It’s because ______ made me this way.”
A right mindset based on truth has to be formed again and again towards food. And doing that takes answering back truth. This goes deep to the heart of the problem. The mind is a powerful place for truth to dwell. But, it can be riddled with lies from a lifetime of experiences surrounding food that are based in emotion.
But, how to get that truthful mindset? I use the “holding thoughts captive” method from II Corinthians 2:5. Here’s how I do it: I imagine the little thoughts under a bright light in a jar. Of course they can’t hold up to scrutiny if they are in error and then I reword the thoughts into what the truth is about the matter. It’s such a cool visual artistic way to do this.
With giving up sweets I have found it important to rethink a saying we all usually only giggle about:
“LIFE IS SHORT, EAT DESSERT FIRST”
This statement assumes you like dessert better than dinner. Maybe that isn’t always true. If you are off sweets or even eating sweets in small portions as a sometimes food you are calmed down enough to enjoy them in the smaller quantities.
Maybe your life could be shortened by eating too many sweets.
Perhaps you would be healthier and feel better if you ate fewer sweets.
Maybe there are decades of your life left so if you start now, you’d never eat dessert first.
Perhaps dessert is better enjoyed in a few bites at the end of a meal.
And a little further, is dessert better enjoyed when NOT hungry.
Perhaps the meal itself which can be quite yummy is better enjoyed without eating the dessert first.
So, the truth for me is: Put dessert in it’s place, at the end of the meal but only as a sometimes treat and only after my 210 day no sweets challenge is up. This is a radical shift in my thinking.
The thought control muscle needs exercise. The more it is applied the stronger it gets. But do we think of overeating as a problem solved in the thought process?
Tomorrow I will share #2 of the ten ways I am giving up sweets.
JOIN THE CHALLENGE! For those of you thinking about doing it, jump in with two feet. Just stop eating sweets for five minutes and lengthen the time from there. Watch your thought cues that will lead you to the truth. There are lies you’ve been telling yourself keeping you where you are: an unhealthier version of yourself than you wish to be.
I will divulge to you the best way to cook a quick meal that is delicious and nutritious. You can cook it for any number of people from one on up…
Now that is sweet with no need for a dessert!
ROAST CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
I use boneless breasts normally but have done it either way.
Here’s the way I did it last night:
In your roasting pan place the chicken in the middle like they are the castle.
And then surround the castle with a moat of:
Potatoes, any kind (cut up, not peeled). I like to use sweet potatoes or those little round purple and white ones because they look so festive.
Carrots, cut up – peel if you care about having peeled carrots. (I don’t always put the carrots.)
Brussels sprouts*, quartered
Onion (yellow or white)
Drizzle with olive oil and stir around to make sure to get those veggies a good coat.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
Roast, uncovered, at 375 for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and the veggies are fork tender.
Prep time is about ten minutes. And, it’s more delicious than anything you will find out to dine. Really. And, it’s always good!
Let me know if you plan to try it!
The bottom of the roasting pan has some nice juices which I pour over the chicken when serving but next time I may even whip up a nice gravy out of those crusty flavorful drippings. To do that all’s you have to do is add a little flour and milk. But, the clear juices are really tasty and take no work.
Since I sometimes think I must be a real chef, I will even slice the chicken and pour the juice over it and surround the plate with the vegetables.
I’ve found that you can cute it up and feed even the pickiest eater.
The sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts look so festive. It smells so nice cooking and it serves up real nice looking. And, besides the knife and cutting board, the cleanup only requires the washing of the roasting pan, plates and forks. That chicken’s so tender so no knife needed.
*When I was a kid my family served boiled Brussels sprouts (as well as okra) and I sure didn’t like them even though my mom would say they were so cute, like little cabbages. But, the roasting makes them just delightful. Try it!
Cinnamon Rolls on day 40 of 210 of Giving up Sweets
I made homemade cinnamon rolls for a family gathering recently and I just threw the remainder out. (Before 40 days ago I would have made sure to eat out the gooey middles first, at least!)
No, I didn’t eat them nor did I want any. I made them a couple of weeks ago as well for a church potluck and they vanished. A man came to tell me he liked them better than Whataburger. My family just loved them. So, therefore, I didn’t need to try any to know they were good.
Well, they aren’t chocolate cake.
Sometimes, like yesterday, I have difficult moments.
But, don’t get me wrong, this is much easier than dieting. And, today I had a good friend tell me she could tell I was losing weight. I haven’t wanted to make a big deal of it, but I’ve taken off about ten pounds so far.
And, at the beginning because I was just so focused on the giving up sweets challenge, I didn’t want to put any focus on losing weight. But, now that I am losing, that makes me want to lose as much as I can to get out of the “obese” weight range. I have 20 pounds to go to get to the simply “overweight” category and then 30 more if I want to just be normal weight. But who likes “normal”? I just hate the word normal, but I am quoting the BMI calculator I just put my height and weight into. Again, I hope I don’t get off track from my most important expedition which is:
STOPPING THE INSANE SWEETS ADDICTION!
But I can’t help but imagine just how nice it would be to carry around a little less baggage. I wonder if at the rate I’m losing – 10 pounds in 40 days – if by day 210 I might just achieve the goal without any dieting! Just giving up the sweets.
Isn’t it so cool that the length of time (210 days) that I chose because it is the “season of sweeting” as I so named it… because it’s Halloween to Easter where sweets abound, multiplies out perfectly for the weight loss I need to drop.
Can you believe that here on day 39 I had a fleeting desire to eat sweets that started with a sadness that seized me and demanded I make an exception for it with any kind of sweet I could lay my hands on
I felt momentarily hugely FRANTIC about it. But why?
And, it is an unusual thing to happen to me quite like this, out of left field really. But, it happened nonetheless.
Ok. So in all reality I think the whole experience lasted less than five minutes. However short a period of time, it was still a huge difficult torment that could have been much worse.
It’s so much better, instead of stuffing it down under a bunch of chocolate, to experience the sadness.
And, being sad can be endured. Thinking through it helps or perhaps calling a friend or even having a good cry is all that’s needed. And, I’ve never wanted to eat while crying. Funny that.
And of course the best solution is sought through prayer because “The Lore is near to the broken-hearted….” Psalm 34:18
Now, that is of course better than any chocolate cake.
What have I learned today? That the problem of sugar addiction has no simple fix – even if you get to day 39.
Because: There really is a sugar monster for a picture of him click here.)
Sweets for the heart on day 38 of 210 of giving up sweets
Oh, let the tears roll!!!
First of all, have you heard of the “hearties” – those who watched “When Calls The Heart” – What a big deal that show was that I just finished binge watching.
I could barely watch the last episode without blubbering. Good thing my daughter went to a basketball game with some friends so I could sit here with my Kleenex and embarrassingly ball along with this series on Amazon Prime. A friend of mine suggested it so strongly and so mostly I stayed with all of the five seasons because of her. It was a sweet show, but too sweet at times, sooo predictable, but… at the end they got me! I was surprised at how I had gotten used to those characters like they were my close friends. For awhile, I think I was living in Hope Valley – the fictional town where people love each other and pull together during good and bad. Anyhow, if you watch it, remember I said it was really good, but then, it was sorta bad. I had to write this poem after I couldn’t stop crying, I know! So embarrassing!
Of course, I had to weave in my “give up sweets” since it’s what I’m all about right now.
Can a hurting heart
Be tended with sweets,
Ably mended with marshmallow treats,
Cuddled by cupcake or chocolate, in heaps?
Time’s the tender touch it’s needing,
A messy healing, flowing, bleeding,
No sweet salve but only grieving.
It’s bittersweet, without the eating.
By the way! In yesterday’s post, (scroll down to see) I added a picture of myself with my container of Quaker Oat Meal. I about cracked myself up… I think I’m beginning to look a little like him! Vote in the comments if you agree.
But, I, lover of oatmeal this morning gave the steel cut a try because I’d thought maybe they’d be healthier.
First off, what’s the difference?
The rolled oats are creamy and the steel cut are kinda nutty/chewy.
Are the steel cut healthier?
Yes. But not by a lot. They foul out on mouth feel and texture when chewing. They take longer to cook and seem dry. The dreamy creamy rolled oats get the touchdown with me. They stay with me very well, sticking to my ribs. I will keep on cheering them on!
Of all the addictive substances that hook people in by the promise of a better “now”, a temporary life changing good feeling, an escape, would you consider “sugar” as one. You might laugh at the prospect since you probably think of addictive substances as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
Take a bag of Oreos. How many does it take fill that sweet tooth? Before you read any further, think about your favorite sweet food, how much does it take? True, three Oreos are a serving. But quite simply I would rather not eat any at all. (The old me, 36 days ago anyhow). If you only eat three Oreos and are satisfied then can we safely say that you are not an addict. I’m no expert… but uh, yes. But for the rest of us, how many does it take? I’ve eaten a lot of Oreos in a sitting just keeping dunking, staring into space, each one in a glass of milk – and I’ve been surprised how most of the bag would be empty. And, I think, “Hey, they’re making these Oreo bags smaller!” or “Who’s eating my Oreos?” while looking over my shoulder to see whatever gremlin might be sneaking them. The whole bag feeds twelve I notice as I’m waking up from the sugar induced temporary insanity. What have I done! It is SWEET INSANITY!
First of all, let’s talk a little about insanity in view of:
“What is a sound mind?”
I have witnessed countless wills my husband prepared for his clients over the years. And, he always asked the same questions of the persons attesting to their wills. “Are you of sound mind?” Even the most morose will signer would giggle a second over this standard question.
We all hope to have our wits about us in our lives.
So, in studying, trying to figure out where a sweet addiction comes from, I was trying to find the etymology of the word sound in the relation to a sane or “sound mind” in order to consider what that means regarding insanely eating sweets.
No joking! There is a sweet insanity!
First, the word “sound” used in this way “sound mind” is also used in other similar ways:
sound footing (financial),
I’m sure you know more…
Common element here: a lack of defect.
A cause of insanity, or the lack of a sound mind, can of course be a defect caused by illness or by unrealistic fear. Or, by addiction.
I tread carefully calling the cause of a sweets binge insanity, but it sure doesn’t seem to be the action that begins from a sound mind. But, there is a fix for it, don’t worry! I’m excited to announce that it is possible to make sound decisions regarding food as I am doing presently. And, I hope, after I complete my 210 days off sweets to add it back in “soundly”.
Come along with me, join me. I won’t promise that it is easy. But, that it is possible, I think, is the best news I can give!
The Apostle Paul addresses this powerfully in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a strong mind. …………………
Helene Vaillant gives the best picture prompts for story writing challenges. I don’t always take them, but this one creatively sparked my writing enthusiasm! So today, I take a break from talking about giving up sweets… I hope you enjoy the beginning of a story that I hope to finish in another post.
Earth had run off course recently and people were worried. Scientists warned of a possible collision with planets seemingly on the horizon.
People on earth were either praying or preparing or both. Some said that underground bunkers would be the best protection from all of the intensities of such an occurrence. Janine wondered if no one really knew what was about to happen but that doing anything to prepare gave people hope.
Janine Lawson packed out her car and was headed to a holdout bunker her brother had built underground on his West Texas ranch, a place he began preparing in 2001 after terrorism fears. She had taken a tour of it with him, it was like a small city underground.
Friends and neighbors had already moved into their homes in the underground city, and they were first met with the sign as they descended the main elevator. It said simply, Hope, in two feet high gold letters suspended from the ceiling of the new town. But, not everyone could be convinced to go.
With spotty cellular service while driving there, she was tearfully and frantically trying to convince her mother to come to Hope.
And though they were only ten minutes away from their destination, she was forced to pull her car over for her little almost three year old boy, Alex, who had been hollering that he had to go to the bathroom. Recently potty trained he would NOT “just use his pull-up pants” as she had suggested a few times.
We’re almost there!
“Potty, potty!” He demanded and in any other occasions she’d be proud at the great success of her growing up little boy.
But when he began crying the cry that every mother knows there’s no return from, she quickly spotted a post which would serve in this potty pinch.
But, as soon as she set him down by the post, a great wind blew the dusty red Texas sand right into her eyes which she shut tight and as she was attempting to right herself, she could hear her mother’s voice in the cell phone she dropped, and dizzy from the initial onslaught, she bent over blindly trying to pick him up, wiping mascara across her sleeve, trying to see.
Her arms couldn’t find him. And, she squinted her eyes in every direction, frantically running this way and that.
What she didn’t know was that her little Alex had gone running back down the road to the light.
The same light that beckoned him now completely blinded and disoriented her.
It had all happened in less than five seconds.
He was just out of reach as she lunged this way and ran that way. And he didn’t turn back for her voice trailed away with the wind.
She stood, helplessly flailing, screaming his name.
A Sweet Relationship on Day 35 of 210 of Giving up Sweets
I once worked with a young lady who didn’t like sweets. She’d scrunch her nose up at them like they were boiled okra.
It was a life changing event for me as I discovered this alien of a person, non-citizen of the sweet loving world. She was standing across a holiday sweets laden table from me and I was mesmerized by all the quantity and was pondering the quality making my heart race like a love affair and I was thinking what I’d do if I could be left alone in the room – well, me and the sweets, that was.
And, she, no plate in hand, when offered by the hostess, spoke against my sweet nation:
“I don’t really like sweets too much.”
And, you know how people will push the sweets just like they do alcohol. The hostess had gotten insistent and the poor lady was then blushing while still trying to smile while pushing away the offer of the bewildered hostess. I couldn’t feel sorry for her at the time but I have never been able to forget what she said and the look on her face.
Time stood still and my gaze zeroed in on her attempted grin to the hostess but was came off as a grimace and I’m just sure my own face reflected horror as my jaw dropped and my eyes widened. Mind you this was thirty-five years ago and look how my emotional reaction to it made me remember it in slow motion.
She actually was really no alien but a sweet lady. I trained her before I left the employ due to a job transfer for my husband… and she sent me a thank you note.
On this day 35 of giving up sweets I’m thinking alien thoughts too… but I think the possibility is nil that I would ever not like sweets.
But do you think it’s possible for me to at least be a little ambivalent? Maybe, at least, I can enjoy it like other things I enjoy, be it fried chicken or mashed potatoes of which I only eat a serving, (albeit with gravy – but I am a Southern girl) but my heart doesn’t go pitter-pat over it. And,I don’t need to eat a whole bucket of fried chicken. But, I have felt like I could eat an entire cake. (I’ve never EATEN a whole cake! But, I have felt like I could.)
At the end of my plan of 210 days I will not be in total abstinence any longer, but a kind of ambivalence is what I’d like to have come April when I’ve finished with this challenge.
Driving Internally on Day 34 of 210 of giving up sweets
Pushing a stalled car where the driver is attempting to start it is dangerous because its possible to get run over. But, in my past before I ever heard about that, I helped push a friend’s stalled older car that needed a momentum to get going.
That gets me thinking, do we need a push when our motivation gets stalled out?
Both words have a common meaning. Motor and motivation: “to move”.
The former must have an external fuel source or push. The latter can come from another such as a motivational speaker. But the best motivation comes from within.
Sometimes an outside push helps but sometimes it just isn’t there. For instance I haven’t been able to find one person who is willing (as yet) to do the giving up sweets challenge with me. I thought for sure someone would be intrigued and give it a good try at least. I thought that I might have needed that kind of a push to keep going.
To be sure, there have been countless times in my life where I have needed to be the only one driving my success and pushing it! – like mastering a course or skill, beginning a new job, having a baby.
Maybe it’s helpful that no one else is doing the sweets challenge with me yet. Maybe it is better to solely depend on a continual conscious effort of heart and mind and internal drive. That way I am depending on God.
Near Sweets Suicide on day 33 of 210 of Giving Up Sweets
…Rewind to Ten Years Ago…
I wonder if other people keep video of major life changing events in their mind with full sound, thought, feeling, color, motion, and sight? I don’t remember everything, but some key moments are fully hyper-recorded and their memory protected by emotion. And, I like to replay those records and feel those emotions again, well the good ones, anyhow.
So, a “recording” I just love to push play on is the thought decision moment ten years ago where after suicidally eating sweets I gave up them up for a full two years.
It might be important to note that I had about killed myself on sweets: donuts, bags of candy, whole bags of any kind of cookies, cakes, frosting out of the can, cookies, anything, really! I developed an esophageal stricture from the constant stomach stretching and overproduction of acid caused by my suicidal eating and I had to go to the endodonist to get it stretched because I had gotten food stuck in my throat feeling like I was choking… I had to have it done twice in two years! It was just a horror! I don’t know if they didn’t have me sedated enough, but I felt like I was being choked to death. I also was showing signs of arthritis and had several root canals. All that was going on while I was raising children, caring for my husband, and running my husband’s busy law practice as office manager and he was in the very early stages of dementia, (though no one would have known, and – not even me, at the time.)
My desire for sweets was pathological.
I was binge eating sweets and then feeling bad about it and then I’d do better for half a day and blow it at three o’clock, the most tired and troublesome time for me. So if I’d already blown it, I’d eat more. Sweets were my drug. I always thought I’d do better the next day, on Monday, at the beginning of the school year, on January 1. But those days would come and go with defeat in store.
With the covers pulled up to my nose, I lay in my bed on a cold Colorado morning when (who wants to get out of bed in the cold) it was a little early to be getting up but in those first early morning minutes I decided to give up sweets.
Those first morning minutes are perfect for sorting thoughts and chunking bad ones down a destructive worry path and holding onto ones that by faith I’d solve or accept, no fear. Those “first thoughts” are golden clues to solving the puzzle of my life. And, in the way I do it, I can carry through and “see” if the solution might work and sort of already do it even before even getting out of bed.
That morning began with a tiny “What if” that I might have missed had I jumped out of bed too early. What if…
What if the next time I was feeling like eating a sweet or the next time I was offered one I just said no.
What if I just did it as long as a could? Could I do it for five minutes or five hours or five days? Of course I could do it for five seconds.
I think what worked in those “What if’s” was the gift to myself of a way out, the opportunity to have it, but just… later.
Of course after those two years of sweet abstaining I ate it a lot less (AT FIRST!). But that sugar monster had not been completely defeated (see yesterday’s post)… hah! NO!
So the change this time (a decade later) is to do it for a period of time set up at the beginning (210 days) – and to give it a meaning – “the season of sweeting” I call it, to pray and ask my Maker and Lover of my soul for his help and guidance.
It’s been with God’s sweet help only that I am at 33 of 210 with no sweets.
Punching its Lights Out on day 32 of 210 of No Sweets
Sometimes sweets is a beast, and though I’m on day 32 now (of eating no sweets) and have done well with giving it up – sometimes sweets is a beast and I’ve got to punch its lights out!
Yes, it’s me vs. the sugar monster! And, I know full well that I have to get through these trying times by sticking to my 210 day goal. At that time I do not plan to eat a truckload of chocolate cake (in case anyone’s wondering.)
That sugar monster comes in sneakily… Just after lunch today it said “You know, you could just be glad you made it this far and hang it up. What are you trying to prove?” I heard those very words in my head.
Yes, my sugar monster talks to me. But, just in my own head. Of course we all know what “negative self talk is” – it’s us defeating us.
Want to know the knockout punch to throw? It’s at the beginning of round one of the boxing match: It’s called – don’t answer that kind of foolish line of thinking. PUNCH IT’S LIGHTS OUT! Dancing this way and that throwing and dodging little punches in any kind of discourse allows the thought to seem more reasonable and then to take root.
BAM! Fell that beast!
I kind of get a little mad at the mind games but that anger gives me an advantage. See, that sugar monster wins when I lose my nerve. So it has to try to manipulate the facts. I heard it said recently, You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own set of facts.
Yes, this elderberry syrup is sweet, but it’s medicine. And for medicine… it actually tastes pretty good. I wonder what it would taste like without any sweetener added.
There was an ER nurse on YouTube – one of the places I currently go when I’m doing my research for natural cures, and she explained how through using elderberry syrup she’d never contracted the flu despite the close contact she had in her 20 years of ER work flu ridden patients sneezing all over the place. And she had always been opposed of the flu vaccine so had never been vaccinated for it.
She had a remedy she says kept her well all those years: a dose of elderberry syrup.
So when I was out grocery shopping I looked for it in the vitamin section but had troubles finding it and was intending to order it on Amazon, but then after I gave up I was walking through the baby section for no good reason except the the other medicine aisles were completely clogged with customers and carts. I don’t even know why I glanced over at the baby shampoos and such as I hurried through but anyhow I was surprised to find right there next to Johnson & Johnson … that elderberry syrup I was looking for. And, for babies. That gave me a really good feeling about it. What’s safer than something you give to a baby?
I don’t know if that ER nurse is right or not, but I only know what happened for me the past two times I have felt like I was beginning to get sick… You know that feeling of being run down and tired, maybe a headache or runny nose? And instead of having to be SICK which is such a bummer, I took a teaspoon of that elderberry syrup. I think the instructions warn not to take it longer than ten days. I have only taken a teaspoon each day for two days mainly because I felt better right away and I didn’t want to take more than needed. Actually, right away within seconds of taking the syrup I felt better. I don’t know how it would do for someone who had a full blown cold or flu. I wonder if it would shorten its duration?
Fasting From Sweets: How I do it on day 30 of 210 of no sweets.
PLAN. I began with a plan to binge out on Halloween candy fully knowing that I planned the next day to begin my fast. Now, I know what many might say… it’s not a good idea to do this. Do I recommend it? No. A binge is always a bad idea! But just to let you know what I did… I ate a lot of candy the night before my fast.
FUN. I liked the idea right away to do the 210 days because it seemed so big. I was excited for the difficult challenge. And it was significant to me as those days spans the three sweetest times. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
CLEAR “RULES”. I made the decision early exactly what my defined fast was. I was cutting out “sweets” except fruit and dried fruit. But I wasn’t cutting out bread. That may have made this more difficult. Cutting out too much right away can be defeating. I may go ahead and cut out bread unless it’s that sprouted grain from the health food store. I’m not a big bread eater anyhow.
KEEPING SWEETS NEARBY. Because I had tried to clear them out so many times in the past (but failed in the task of abstaining), I decided to try the opposite. First off I kept the bowl of Halloween candy for a very long time right by the door where it was when I ate it like there’s no tomorrow. I finally threw that candy out. But now I’m involved in the sugarcoatingest holiday of Christmas so I’m going to participate in baking and making but not eating. And do you know I don’t want any of it.
DEFINED BOUNDARIES. I thought ahead about what I might say to people who might be naysayers but I haven’t run into anyone who’s been against it.
A GOOD START. When I first started, I’d eat oatmeal each morning. I did the larger 3/4 cup serving which is the heart healthy recommendation on the box. I added a handful of pecans and raisins and lots of cinnamon. That set me on the right course each morning. Something about that oatmeal – it’s hearty enough to stay with me until lunch. I think it’s because it nourishes and fills me up while leveling my blood sugar. Presently I’ve not been hungry first thing in the morning so I’ve been skipping it. Seems I’m not hungry until noon at this point and I’d rather be hungry for lunch. I’ve even eaten oatmeal for supper.
SATISFYING MEALS. My lunches and dinners vary. Yesterday I cooked a beef stew in the Instant Pot my son sent me. I love how insanely quick it cooks. From frozen stew meat to bowls of steaming stew on the table was 1.5 hours. It was really satisfying. I ate it for lunch and dinner with some hard crusty French bread. When I was on sweets I would have preferred a peanut butter and honey and banana sandwich with tons of honey.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE. I’m not counting carbs or even sugar grams but I did look up the current recommendations for women – 6 tsp of added sugars or less each day. Currently I’m doing no added sugars. When I’m done with this experiment/challenge I will add in sugars in that kind of 6 teaspoon moderation which isn’t much and then a cheat day weekly I think where I eat a dessert without worrying about it. Lord willing.
REMEMBERING THERE’S SO MUCH MORE SWEET THAT ISN’T FOOD. Love and kindness, giving, completing a difficult task, learning something new or acquiring a new skill, getting out in nature, painting, writing, poetry, reading my bible and praying, and, especially, listening.
If I have motivated you to start a similar challenge of a fast from anything, please let me know by commenting or liking this post.
Bringing a coloring book is my favorite way to visit my husband in assisted living. He doesn’t color too much in the books anymore but he sits and looks through them and seems to like that I’m coloring. There are upon occasion others who will come around interested as we sit at the dining room table so I will tear pages out and hand out colors and encourage them to join in. Pretty good and relaxing way to wile away assisted living visits, otherwise I just don’t know what to do. I see other spouses come visit and they just sit and hold hands. I either color or if it’s a nice day I suggest we walk on the sidewalk out back. He always says yes to that.
Today though the visit was strange. I was there at the table and he sat for a little while looking through the color book and then he got up to go watch television. Usually he wants to stay right with me.
The workers there asked if I’d help with the Christmas decorations, painting Christmas trees for each resident on construction paper which I of course enjoyed doing. When I left, the nurses were hanging greenery and lights. They decorate for each season, successfully creating a homey feel. My husband was engrossed in Gunsmoke, so I gladly slipped out.
The Christmas season is the cookie season in our family. I make cookies and mail them off to my grown children and I keep the cookie jar pretty much filled at our house. I usually can’t get enough of them but this year I’m abstaining of course.
Christmas is such a sweet season and I hope to think about that when tempted to cookie it up.
I wrote a recipe for the “word cookies” I am making on my day 28. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing.
Sweet Word Cookies, a recipe
A pound of thinking
A cup of kindness
A sprinkle of salt
Season with sweetness
Stir the listed ingredients from the heart.
Bake your ideas completely before speaking as half baked ideas are never ready for anyone to consume and having to take back words is an impossible task for once they are out there they can be poison.
Pleasant words are as ahoneycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24
Painting Illustrations on Day 27 of 210 of No Sweets
Can you believe that I’m writing and illustrating a children’s book about apple pie on day 27 of my giving up sweets challenge?
It’s a picture book about an owner of an apple orchard who operates a family bakery and bakes nothing but apple pies. I just love writing that character! She shares my excitement for the amazingness of a seed. The story isn’t about apple pie baking per se but it does push the story along.
I am not in fear that this will derail my no sweets challenge, though I am going to be painting some apple pies and I looked up some photos to get started and I was thinking they looked pretty good.
And, for greater research as well as experiencing the life of my character and for some photo ops of pie making every step of the messy way I plan to try to make some. Actually I plan to make as many apple pies as possible until my eaters say something like “this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had!”
I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been successful with pie. The crusts on my Thanksgiving pies were tough even though I was careful not to overwork the dough. I will watch video instruction on my iPad and prop it up in my baking area covered in plastic wrap for protection. That’s my favorite way to cook… and hah! Apple pie and iPads kinda go together if you think about it.
The original story that I had written and illustrated, but did not publish, was for my grandson a couple of years ago. It was Where Did the Seed Come From? I do not intend to publish that book at this time, but I fully intend to publish this new book.
The seed concept is so compelling to me. First of all it is the seed of thought that needs to be germinated. Then it is “the chicken or the egg” … but for my stories it’s “the seed or the tree”. It boggles my brain to try to think on it but that it is like trying to imagine how numbers never end.
The seed is in the apple, and the tree is from the seed. But where did the seed come from?
This doesn’t answer the question, but I thought it so interesting I couldn’t bear not to share it! Where it came from, aside, that little baby seed is made by a very delicate process similar to a human baby. It is “the birds and the bees”. The trees can’t do it by themselves. They need bees to visit every flower … or… no apples. An apple is born with all of its seeds. Similarly a human girl is born with all her eggs. But then when all of that is learned… we are still left with: WHERE DID THE SEED COME FROM!
I’m not going to be any expert, but I am in greater awe and amazement at our Creator whenever I learn about the complexities of our world. So, I was attempting to show that without outrightly telling it. Seems I heard those words again and again from writing teachers. Show. Don’t tell.
With the illustrated story of the baker I hope to show that seed story.
I can’t wait to get started on learning how to make the perfect pie crust.
The loud and electric Christmas in Comfort had been packed out with lively spectators cheering on brightly lit and musically driven floats ending with Santa Claus. It was small town fun and nostalgia on a warm late November night. We sat in front of the eye catching new wavy plate glass windows of Comfort’s newest jewelry store which is slated to be open in December, 2018, The Green Bull. The lights from the parade dazzled in those windows.
We were glad we went, but then we had to navigate back to my car.
At first my daughter and I walked the wrong way (why? Because we were sure it was that way…), but as we hurried further along what we thought the right path, the sounds and lights of town grew more and more dim and we found ourselves walking through neighborhoods where no one lights their porch.
I tripped on that uneven path but caught myself from falling, glad not to have added physical injury to my woes. The town is unfamiliar to me at best by day so by night it was a mystery. Many old Texas towns like Comfort have few sidewalks and the festivities brought cars parked anywhere, lining the streets at a slant towards the ditches. And cars were beginning to flow the streets as we walked with our lawn chairs tucked under our arms as we kept pushing on in the wrong direction.
To further complicate matters, I apparently didn’t know how to use the Google maps in the walking mode on my cel phone. I thought the green arrow pointing upward on the top meant I was going the right way. Please I know the next time you get on your Google maps you will think of my post and wonder about me! I’m so embarrassed after I figured out how it all works… well, I know now! Maybe sometime I will laugh about it at myself.
Do you know that just as soon as we stopped walking on that wrong path and turned around and went the correct way I could see what I got wrong about the map.
At least I had the presence of mind when we parked to take note of what business it was in front of.
As soon as we turned around, would you know it, the green path on the map lit up with little dots telling me that now we were on the right path. What nice friendly little green dots.
Heartwarming thing was as soon as we turned around we were able to see the fireworks show as we walked, a reminder of sorts that the journey is enjoyed better on the correct path.
a “sweet” side note: If I hadn’t been on day 26 of giving up sweets I would not have had the stamina to get through that mess.
After returning to my car I was thankful to enter those clogged up roads that I well knew would take me home.
We had such a nice time that I wouldn’t miss it next year even with our self inflicted march in the dark. Next year we’ll go early for more close in parking.
No substitutions! (and a poem) on days 23 to 25 of 210 days no sweets.
When researching what others suggest might work to help ease the suffering in giving up sweets, I found what I believe is some bad advice: substituting fake sweets, those made with any kind of fake sugar or even honey. To soften the blow in this way I think keeps me from winning the battle.
What is victory without a bit of suffering?
Sweet victory I think comes from the addiction being broken. Then we will see after my 210 days of giving up sweets if adding them back in moderation can occur.
I am shying away from all sweet foods and drinks. I am even careful of dried fruits and fruit itself though I do still eat fruit but am careful to eat it with a meal so as to balance the sugars with protein.
As I am writing this I realized that I am still now and again drinking diet soda. It’s not a big thing… but I will give that up too.
My sweets addiction that led me to unhealthy consumption amounts is being broken in my “self experiment” of the eating no sweets for 210 days so I’m not substituting those other things.
Here’s my list, so far, of don’ts I am adhering to:
1. No sweets and no sweet substitutes, no sweet beverages, no diet soda.
2. No foods high in sugar though not thought of as a sweet like some canned spaghetti sauces or even ketchup.
3. Not eating too much fruit especially in smoothies. Yes fruit is high in fiber which does offset the sugar so I add some to a meal but don’t eat as a snack.
4. Speaking of snacking, I don’t. I eat 3 meals a day, no snacking.
Here’s my working hypothesis:
A sweet addiction is in the heart, mind, and body, leading to an out of balance need for, desire for and over consumption of sweets. It can be cured by abstaining for a period of time, 210 days or less, from outright sweets such as cookies cakes and candy and also things like muffins or pancakes and waffles, but also syrups, honey, jelly, and high sugar content foods and desserts made with sugar substitutes, and drinks with sugar or fruit or sugar substitutes and then by adding them back in the diet in reasonable portions.
If I am right I will have beat the sweet addiction! If I am wrong I will be right back where I was – a sugar cravingaholic stuck in my ways.
…Make sure to read my Thanksgiving poem at the end of this post….
I made a pumpkin pie and pecan pie for Thanksgiving. They are in my refrigerator. Will I eat any? Probably not. The farther I’ve walked away from the sweet stuff the more I realize that if I were to have something sweet it’d have to be something amazing. Quite simply the pies just don’t hold the sweet spot in my heart that is taken by chocolate cake. Good thing it isn’t a Thanksgiving dessert.
And thanksgiving is full of enough carbs from my homemade rolls and mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole and cranberry jello salad… none considered sweets but all sweet. And for me now on day 22… just thinking about it ahead of time and planning is kinda helping me sort it out emotionally.
TEN THINGS to Commemorate being Ten Percent Finished on day 21 of 210 no sweets
To commemorate my 10% finish, here is my “10 List” of the surprising highlights of my giving up sweets for 21 days:
COMMEMORATIVE 10 LIST
1. I’m exercising! What????
I don’t like to exercise, but I feel like it. Who is this new person in my body? I’m now feeling like walking on my treadmill because I feel much better and therefore have felt like exercising.
2. I’m eating less! And, I’m eating better. For instance, I ordered chicken salad today at my favorite eatery instead of the usual chicken salad sandwich on croissant because I felt like eating a little lighter. I liked very much the lighter feeling better than eating the croissant and I told myself that if I wanted the croissant next time I could get it.
A little side note: Self talk is critical! Tell yourself that you are doing something massive! You are loving it! And it is fun more than it is difficult.
3. I don’t weigh. I am not measuring my success by my weight on the scale. In fact, I have not been on the scale at all. I have an idea of my weight prior to doing this because I used to weigh every day (and then eat a bag of candy, go figure!). I have sabotaged myself on many diets by being on the scale. For the record, I am probably about three sizes, or thirty pounds, larger than I ought to be. After the challenge I plan to weigh just for fun to see how much I lost. I would like to lose. Don’t get me wrong on that.
4. I never say diet. Not to anyone. I though am vocal about not eating sweets. People think I can’t do it or they think I’m crazy. And then I think they feel I might be judging them for eating sweets. I don’t bother with any of these head games. But, I do kinda like to prove myself and everyone that it is possible.
5. FUN! I am having fun with the challenge. Since this isn’t a diet but a challenge to see if I can go 210 days without eating sweets during what I decided to call “The Season of Sweeting,” defined as Halloween through Easter, I have decided to just do that and not complicate matters by a measurement of my weight.
6. What cravings? I don’t get intense cravings. I know, I was the one ate loads of Halloween candy on the night before I started this.
7. Less hunger. The out of control hunger I had before is gone. I think it is related to my blood sugar being regulated?
8. Clearer thinking and better memory. You know those moments when someone tells you their name and just as soon as they walk away you think, Oh no! But, I surprised myself by being able to better recall names.
9. Not sure if it’s is a good side affect, but I’m not painting at all. I think it’s because I’ve been otherwise occupied with cleaning out and fixing things and as well, writing. When I begin painting again it will be with a purpose. I have written several children’s books for my grandchildren but never kept a copy of them. So, when I was visiting recently I took a picture of one of my favorite books that I plan to rework and try to publish.
10. Spiritually settled. I am operating my life on faith.
What does it mean to hold anything captive? Most likely as a child you’ve captured a bug or other small creature to study it more closely or to run show your mother. When my children were little I swooped up a little frog that we found on a walking trail and I carried it all the way home, wiggling all the way, in my hands. The memory is strong for I am a squeamish type but the enjoyment of being able to have the frog for a little longer trumped.
So, in some sort of artistic mathematics I think the equation could be written as:
HOLDING THOUGHTS CAPTIVE
Then there is the holding captive of a thought. If you don’t already do it, clap your hands around and carry a thought. Then, put it in a clear box so it can’t get out so you can study it from all directions. I am doing that right now with worry. I capture that worry and break it down to small components if possible and I ask questions. Usually the answer to a worry is to figure out all the things that are in my power to do. And, then make a plan to work on those things. Usually that works it all out. I think a lot of times the worry comes from my feeling things are out of my control. I am learning to acknowledge that I cannot push and do everything, so I listen to advice, I seek help, and I pray.
I’m holding captive the thought of eating sweets. It works. This is an example of the comparison of a rampant and a captive thought on eating sweets of which I’m abstaining presently.
Problem: Chocolate cake with inch high fudge icing is temptingly under the glass in the coffee shop surrounded by other similar icing drenched sweets.
~Rampant thought: I NEED that. (I’d feel a tug on my actual heart like a love pang… the feeling of puppy love, know what I mean!). Ok, just one piece and then I will be able to keep going on the no sweets challenge. Oh no! I have no self control! I might as well eat it.
(Notice the lies and the heightened emotion that goes with it. What is held captive? It is backwards! Let me tell you, the heart is the one held captive … by a piece of chocolate cake. Kinda funny, but, NOT if you are the one being held.) Now, picture that mean chocolate cake raising up and trying to take a punch at you but can’t because it’s under glass. Score: 0 for the chocolate cake. And you tell it to settle down you’ll have it on your own terms when it can be more rational.
~Captive thought: “It is possible to say no. Self control is a thing to be exercised by thinking it out. And, I made a decision to wait until after Easter to eat sweets. It is more enjoyable to me to do a long term exercise of self control in order to build it. Each time I say no it is easier for me. Goodbye thought.”
(Notice how the captive thought is telling the truth. It is a sweet victory!)
After I am done with this challenge I am planning to try to find or make the perfect chocolate cake and invite friends and family to my party.
The frog, we kept it for a day until we saw it wasn’t eating. Then, we tearfully took it to a little pond near us where it didn’t play the happy releasee by jumping into the pond. The little guy sat there un-jumping in, looking at us. One of the kids mentioned that maybe it missed it’s mother back on the trail where we found him. I assured that of course he would hear his mom calling and would hop home. We went home, shoulders low, and washed our hands.
Look up this verse on holding thoughts captive. I memorized it! 2 Corinthians 2:5