Thursday, December 29, 2011
I think I've figured out why my weight loss has been so slow going. I'm enmeshed in a toxic relationship that is undermining all my best efforts. No, it's not with my husband, or my trainer, or anyone from my family of origin.
It's with sugar.
Sugar and I have had an ongoing love affair for many, many years now - since as far back as I can remember, really. As a child, breakfast was Cookie Crisp cereal, lunch was peanut butter and fluff sandwiches followed by a marshmallow scooter pie for dessert. I couldn't go to sleep without a kiss from my mom and bedtime snack, which was usually a heaping bowl of ice cream. Every birthday was celebrated with cake and ice cream. Boo boos were made better with a lollipop. Holidays were marked with tables heaping with sugary treats and stockings bulging with candy. One year, my sister and I even gave each other our own stockings so our sugar high could last twice as long.
Six years ago, I realized that sugar had a nasty hold on me when I found myself losing the train of conversation as my own thoughts drifted to whether I could grab another bowl of ice cream without anyone commenting. The struggle to moderate only led me to late night binges on anything I could get my hands on, even if the only thing I had in the house was sugar-free ice cream sweetened with chemicals that left me with a terrible stomachache, a nauseating chemical aftertaste, and a mortifying flatulence problem.
I managed to give up sugar in favor of natural sweeteners for several years, but picked it up again during my last pregnancy. It's no coincidence that nine months post-partum, I still haven't lost many pounds beyond what I lost in the first few weeks after I left the hospital. It's time to admit that my love affair with sugar is what's keeping me apart from my beautiful pre-pregnancy body (see photo at right, if I do say so myself).
So, it's time to write the goodbye letter. The other day I was exercising with my 9-year old and she asked me why my dear friend, who had a baby 5 months after I did, has already returned to her pre-pregnancy weight. I told her it was because she worked really hard and gave up treats for a few months. She said, "Why don't you do that?" And I said, "I'm going to. I'm going to give up sugar for awhile. In fact, I'm going to write it a nice goodbye letter." "Really, mommy?" she giggled. "Yes, really."
So here it is.
I suppose this won't really come as much surprise, since what we've had hasn't really ever been good and we're both much happier when we're apart. Well, maybe it will come as a surprise to you - after all, we've been keeping up appearances of being happy together over the past year or so. But the truth is, Sugar, this just isn't working for me. I'm not happy. It's not you - it's me. I know you'll make someone else very happy, but I just lose myself when I have you in my life. I get so consumed by you - thinking about when we can be together, and howI can prolong our time together, and how I can make it work when it really doesn't feel healthy. I try so hard not to admit the inevitable fact - that I'm really unable to resist you and that loving you is keeping me from doing the things I really want to do in life - like run faster and more often and strut my sexy stuff all over the stage and maybe most important of all, have great sex with my husband. You're just dragging me down and I've got to let you go.
I'll think of you often, I'm sure, and I might even write you again to let you know how I'm doing. But please stay away from me and know that once we make this break, I intend to keep my distance from you as well. I will have lots of support, and will be surrounding myself with people and things that are healthy for me, to make the transition easier. I will always love you, but I love myself more.
So, there it is. A new chapter - I'm optimistic. I can do this. I've survived more difficult breakups than this one. And others before me have released sugar from their lives and lived to tell the tale. If they can do it, so can I.