I often joke that I have a sugar addiction. I put sugar in my grits, chili, spaghetti sauce, hash browns (to caramelize the onions) and in just about any other food that needs a little flavor help. I think frequently about my next date with a sugary little angel and then before I know it, I’ve inhaled said love only to regret it as it finds a new home in one of my fat deposits. Until today, it was a vicious cycle.
But there’s a new way of thinking, one born from the idea of ownership. I own my thoughts and my thoughts trigger these responses to seek these foods. This epiphany didn’t hit me until I was out running. I’ve been devoting a lot of energy to owning feelings, but not necessarily to thoughts I don’t want to continue giving life. I also realized that it’s the auto-pilot thoughts that are holding me back.
I allowed these foods to own me for too long. In order to change this behavior, I have to be conscious of what I’m eating and why I’m eating it. I realize that I make the decision to have these foods, but then I don’t necessarily enjoy them. I eat them, but I am not actually savoring the experience. I couldn’t tell you if a piece of Key Lime pie from Bahama Breeze is any better than one from Cap City or The Cheesecake Factory. It satisfies something.
And the triggers, dear readers, is what brings me here. I’ve been ignoring ownership, but the few times I decide to listen, it boils down to two triggers: fear and comfort. The fear comes from my schedule: if I eat at 3 p.m., will it hold me over until my first break at 6 p.m.? I start thinking that it won’t and what turns into a normal plate becomes an overload ‘just in case’ scenario. Repeat that three times between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The other trigger is a little trickier because it’s not comfort in the sense that I feel bad. I’ll call it familiarity. I grew up around sweets. My mom baked cakes as a side gig and other treats just because she was good at it. We frequently had cobblers, cakes, pies, cookies and everything else under the sun around for eating. It was commonplace. Of course, I grew up and did the same thing. The difference between us being, she didn’t necessarily love the sweets and I do.
I’m not giving them up. To avoid anything never really helps a person understand if they’ve managed to change a behavior. I’m also not a fan of deprivation. I don’t however have to make and eat a whole cheesecake. There are any number of ways to have my cake and eat it too, the most obvious being to make and share or make, cut and freeze for later. But there are ways to have a healthy relationship with the foods I like. Today is the first day of the new journey.