Christmas day is about to come to a close. What a glorious day! We celebrated our annual Christmas Eve party last night. Always a gala event in our home. The house was filled with music, laughter, hugs, and tons of food.
As our party was winding down, requests for foods to take home began to pour in. It made me think of parties in the past when I would never offer anyone food because I wanted it all. I would eat and eat, and eat some more. In fact, when I gave up sugar, flour, and wheat many years ago, I was amazed to learn my family did not eat the “goods.” I did! I would eat every bit knowing I was going on my “diet” on January 1.
Of course January 1 would come and go, but I did not start my new way of eating because I reasoned with myself that it was a holiday and I deserved to eat. Why not! I could start tomorrow. And of course tomorrow never came. Before I knew it Valentines Day was creeping up and certainly I could not start my way of eating until the holiday for “lovers” passed. And chocolate was my greatest love! But…promises to diet soon faded. I would reason with myself
. It made perfect sense to wait until until Lent (good Catholic girl I am) before launching my diet. And of course
on Ash Wednesday I would always wait (to get my ashes) for the latter part of the day so I could have my last hurrah with whatever I would be eating.
One Lent season I had an awakening! I decided to give up sugar, flour, and wheat for 40 days and 40 nights. I promised God none would touch my lips until Easter morning. Oh my! It was SO hard. I had the worst headache known to mankind. I thought I was suffering from an aneurysm. I had to lay in a dark room in absolute quiet. I could not even move my head. It felt like it weighed a million pounds. Every fiber of my being was hurting. For a minute I thought maybe God really wanted me to eat the sugary/starchy foods, and this was His sign. Nice try I heard Him whisper!
Soooooo…I continued to move through Lent without eating my beloved foods. I did it! I went 40 days and 40 nights, and after the first 3 torturous days, I was reborn. I felt unbelievable! I knew I was on to something big. I knew this was the way I should be eating. I had no cravings. Not one urge to eat sugary, starchy foods. It was a miracle! And to top it off, my weight began to drop slowly and steadily…until Easter morning came. I deserved to eat the Cadbury Easter Egg(s)! It was one of my Easter rituals…you know…open it and drizzle the goo on my tongue, down my throat, and just feel the sugar rush to my head. And that particular year, my Mom had bought special dark chocolate eggs. And…I began to eat the “goods” again…and again…and again.
It was many Christmases and other holidays before I “got” it. I remember going to a 12-step meeting looking for the answer and they presented almost exactly what I had done on that Lent so many years ago. I liked the idea…but not that much. So…I let more than a decade go by eating my way: dieting and binging, followed by dieting (which was clean eating except I allowed myself to have whole grain flours, and “gray” foods). But…I could never make it more than a few weeks before succumbing to yet another binge and slowly but surely my weight began to climb. Out of sheer fear I did find my way back to that 12-step program. Thank you God! Today, I am at a healthy weight! Last night (Christmas Eve) I was so reminded of where I used to be as I was packing up the “goods” for my guests. I was happy to see every sweet, gooey treat go.
Today, on this glorious Christmas day I woke up clear headed and free from cravings and free from guilt. I do not need to make a New Years resolution to give up sweets and processed foods like I had for so many years. I am in a good place. I have this big grin on my face (for real), and am filled with such joy knowing I carried on business as usual, even though it was a major holiday, normally food infested. Off to bed I go abstinent one more day. Life is good!
Photo taken by: Lisa Ortigara Crego