Lent is just around the corner and has become a very timely reminder these days for a lot of us to use a jumbo sized portion of self restraint and put the sugar to one side for a few weeks. The amazing thing to me is that so many of us do! When we can’t resist a single chocolate or biscuit any other time in our lives! Not for all of us, but for more than a few of us, sugar slyly dominates our day…from the regretful self-admonishment first thing in the morning of all the food we didn’t want to eat but then we did eat anyway the day/evening/night before, swiftly followed by the absolute 100% rock steady resolve that almost obsesses us from that first hour or so of the day. To the perfectly painful feelings of self denial and that sense of ‘missing out’ when we try to resist what others are clearly and very obviously enjoying right under our nose, just to spite us, obviously. (Until they walk away and leave some unattended and within inhaling distance, that is…are they mad?)
We are in a cycle. Day in, day out, week in, week out. There’s barely a break, only perhaps during times when we’ve really over indulged and eaten too much even by our own standard. And then there might be the ‘regret break’ for a couple of days…it’s almost a ‘coming to’ moment, when you can actually feel a bit shocked and a bit horrified about just how far your sugar habit is getting out of control. But these breaks inevitably don’t last for long. That first offering of your colleague’s birthday box of chocs handout at work, or the first brand new, not-to-be-resisted home-made cake brought in by the superstar cake baker…and that smell of the sugar has you floating on your tippy toes…on air like the cartoon cat towards its’ sugary source.
Resistance is futile.
Even the holiday build-up to bikini-on-the-beach shame time doesn’t really pack a punch that’s hard enough to horrify you into stopping your shameless sugar-fuelled habit. If you’re lucky you may last for a few days. The thought of the favourite summer dress that you KNOW is way too tight for you pricking your conscience every so often, but the bounce back to sugar seems something that’s beyond your power to control.
You are completely at the mercy of that sweet sugar smell, and no amount of will-power helps!
And yet. Every year I see on social media….posts across the board. Countdowns and determination. The sound of sleeves being rolled up. Drawers and cupboards being emptied out in one last almighty binge. Resolves being broadcast at work, home, around the school gates and anywhere you need to let people know…to warn them in advance, enlisting the troops of friends, colleagues and family members. The rally cry to get them on your side….rooting for you from the sidelines…cheering you on day by day and you proudly declare “Don’t show me the chocolate…I’m off it for Lent!”
And then the countdown begins. Every single day. There are calendars across the land with crosses in ink drawn plainly in the blood of sacrifice. Blood drawn from the very depths of your determination, each and every day of the 40 long drawn-out… more than a month, more that the longest time I’ve ever been without sugar since that time I was really ill… days.
Every single one of those days I see a post from someone or other. Often with just a number, nothing more. And it’s the amount of days…a proud proclamation… and not without an air of happy surprise about it!
It’s actually happening that air seems to say. I’m actually really doing it! It’s amazing and I’m actually quite proud of myself for this, is really what that little number is saying too. It’s a joyous and happy looking thing to behold. And there’s cheering from the sidelines in the comments, of course…”Well done you!” “I could NEVER manage it myself” “You ARE brave!” there might be some that quietly don’t believe you really could be THAT STRONG. But you know how well you’re doing! YOU know you’re just nailing it!
The amount of days without that little treat. That little friend. That little piece of heaven every day. Without that sociable sharing of the sugary-sweetiness. Without that little bit of something after dinner just to finish the meal off. Without the kids lunch-box goodies being raided yet again. Without the sugar rushes and dips of a day’s energy ebbing and flowing. Without a sugar-foggy brain that creates more hassle than it solves. Without the bulging, bloating waistline and that heavy-fat-suit-wearing feeling after a period of over indulgence. Without being chained to that ever present little temptress in the shiny purple wrapper.
There is soo much of an air of denial about all of it…and at the end?
Chocolate. That’s what. Tons and tons of chocolate. Friends and family buy you EXTRA massive Easter eggs as a ‘treat’ for doing so well. You might even buy yourself one that you can look at every single day, as a resolve to keep going. As a sickly sugary end-reward. And it IS sickly and sugary to you! You’ve had over a month without it and your palate has actually substantially lowered your sweetness threshold. Your body has enjoyed a more stable source of energy for over a month, so that sugar rush is a bit of a surprise for you. You feel a bit wired, and a bit sick. It’s a bit of a shock to the system. But you’ll persevere. You’ll bravely soldier on. Wading through a sea of mud, made sugar, for you. And you’re back. Back to the endless, monotonous, let’s face it downright boring yoke of sugar addiction.
That’s what’s at the end of this 40 days of chance.
A chance to change a habit that so obviously is the most negative, painful, all consuming, controlling, unhealthy, and depressing element in your life. You see Lent is a Pause Button. A MASSIVE pause button. And the moment you pressed it. You put that addiction on hold. You simply ‘switched it off’ Not completely, as the desire was still there…but you OVER-RODE that desire. You took a big breathe. Paused. And owned it. Suppose there was never any sugar at the end of it. Suppose by some absolute miracle that you could keep going with that Pause Button for as long as you want?.. Well, my friends. You absolutely can! 100%, in fact 1000% you can!
And it’s the easiest thing you will ever do.
And I’ll show you how in part two. That’s if you want to, of course. If you actually want to free yourself. The Pause Button is the way. And it’s the simplest techniques I use ☺