A Christmas without sugar

Christmas and sugar seem to go togehter.
Christmas and sugar seem to go together.

A sugar free Christmas

I love sugar.  In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what my favorite foods were they would mostly be refined sugar-based.  Ice cream, cookies, jams, donuts, the sugar list went on and on.

In November of 2015 I did my best to give up foods that were mostly vehicles for refined sugar.  Despite my love of sugar, I felt that it was causing me harm.  I was dealing with the impact of inflammatory disease, I was always achy, and tired, and I felt dull.

Was it difficult to give up sugar around the 2015 holiday season?  Of course it was, but less difficult than it could have been as I was charged up with the idea, and enthusiastic about the potential results.  In addition, I was still gaining weight in an already obese body. I knew that Thanksgiving and Christmas would only compound that problem.  In 2015 I actually lost weight at Christmastime, a first for me.

I have kept up with my abstinence, and I have seen many benefits.  As my tastebuds readjusted, vegetables started to taste good again.  As I started to feel less achy, it was easier to exercise.  I lost a lot of weight, my energy level improved,  I felt better and clearer.

After a while I forgot how sick I had felt, and  I had to remind myself on a regular basis that refined sugar was not a friend that I could revisit.  With careful planning and lifestyle change I moved forward.  And then there was Christmas.

This year we traveled to Minnesota to celebrate the holiday with my wife’s family.  The week before we left my wife started baking and cooking.  Homemade poundcake, several different types of cookies, cake candy balls, almond bark coated Chex Mix.  Foods that usually only appear once a year.  I resisted.

We arrived at the Petersons on Christmas Eve.  Julie brought most of the things that she baked, which were added to the large cache of sweet items already there.

Every meal included various desserts, quick breads or other tasty morsels.  Each vying for my eye.

I found it difficult to resist, but I knew if I would go down the sugar rabbit hole it would take me a month or more to regain “sobriety.” I did have a few unintentional slips.  The jello salad that found its way on my plate, and a baked oatmeal dish that was more akin to rice pudding than oatmeal.  However, I white knuckled it through the weekend, and here I sit on the Tuesday after Christmas and I am so very glad that I didn’t succumb to the tremendous temptations that were presented before me.

I did the best that I could, not perfect, but good enough.  My diet was off, but manageable.  I survived.

Today my goal is to celebrate the fact that I didn’t relapse on sugar and to accept the fact that often being less than perfect can still be good enough.

My next podcast will be on lifestyle and its impact on emotional and physical wellbeing.  It will be posted New Year’s Day.  Check it out.