Punching its Lights Out on day 32 of 210 of No Sweets

Beware of Sugar Monsters – They’re a Killer!!! (IPad Pro art – me fingerpainting)

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, there really is a sugar monster.

Elderberry Syrup On Day 31 of 210, No Sweets

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?

And the Christmas cookies begin. Of course I won’t eat any! But they’re fun to make and give away.

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.

Proverbs 25:27.

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.

It’s a sweeter day that has a friend in it.

We have our Christmas tree up!

Word Cookies! On day 28 of 210 of no sweets

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

Ingredients:

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 a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

Beginning Illustrations using watery acrylic on watercolor paper for a Children’s Book I’m Writing

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.

Lost in Comfort on day 26 of 210 of no sweets

“Christmas in Comfort” 2018. The Willow City Band solicits crowd Christmas song requests.

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.

This is a page from a children’s story I wrote for my grandson. The story is “Where did the Seed Come From?” It isn’t about sweets but I included it here for the nom nom nom…

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.

Sweet Scene

Look up to see the silvery moon

To think it’s the beach’s blanket

Tucking it in with its tide every night

Dishing out a sparkling delight

How the artist dips his brush

To collect the scene

Onto his canvas, quickly translating

Adding foam like thick whipped cream

And in the gallery window now it hangs

Rich in beauty a value it brings

A swell of heart, its waves arouse

Something sweet it lifts the brows

More than paint strokes on the canvas,

A gift of heart there’s in that scene

Just a glimpse of Creator’s perfection

Rendered by an artist, so affected.

~Julie Robinson

Thankful on day 22 of 210 of No Sweets

…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.


Abundant Provision

Abundant provision!

It’s out of this world.

Measured in faith,

Forgiveness, and grace,

Causing Thanksgiving,

Flowing full to the brim,

And spilling.

Oh! Happy Thanksgiving!

~Julie Robinson

Llama Mama
I painted this llama mama inside a wooden purse for a local craft fair.

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.

Holding Captive on day 20 of 210 no sweets

………………………………

HOLDING ONTO A FROG

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:

Love>fear

…………………………………

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