Reframing “A Treat”

Anniversary trip to Cape Cod & Somerville 151As a little girl, I learned my mom grew up in upstate New York in a farmhouse without running water or electricity.  It was years later that I realized this meant a cold outhouse in the middle of snowy winter; kerosenes or candles for light; no quick meals; having to rely on a wood stove, etc.  But no matter how poor they were, she was proud to announce that they always had dessert.  It might’ve been meager, but dessert there was.

I grew up with dessert every night after dinner.  Everything made from scratch:  cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, etc.  I learned to bake cookies before I was a teenager.  On most days since I’ve been alive, I have eaten sugar.  Since I seem unable to quit, I guess that means I am a sugar addict.  There, I’ve admitted it.  I can hardly go an afternoon or evening without craving something sweet.  It’s my “treat” for the day…whether I had a good day or a difficult day, whether I played or worked, or both…I feel I deserve a “treat”.  It’s a “reward”.  Over 20 years ago, a body worker told me that sugar removes fluid from our joints.  I read “Sugar Blues” close to 40 years ago.  I know all the facts.  Now that I’m older, however, I’m FEELING the facts:  my neck hurts every time I eat sugar; my shoulder joints don’t like it much either.  So I’ll go a week or more without sugar, and the pain is gone, and I’ll forget….just like any addict.

I’m not alone in my struggle with the white powder.  That’s heartening.  This morning as I finished meditating, I lit a candle with a prayer that “the craving for sugar is removed…..well, no, how about that when I have a craving, I remember that sugar is not my friend and that it’s NOT a treat….OK, so help me recognize the craving, and have the strength to say, no thanks, I prefer my health.”

Now I need help finding replacements.  Here’s what I’ve heard and tried so far:  avocado, pecans, cashews, any kind of protein.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.  This does feel a little bit like not polluting the earth, on a smaller level of course. Maybe that thought will help too: I don’t want to pollute the earth or my body.

But, gosh, those brownies sure look good…….”I’m only human after all”….. the real message I want to convey here is:  Be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself, no matter how many times you do what you don’t want to do.  We fall, and then we get back up again, over and over.  We learn through our falling.  Rather than berate myself for falling, I’d rather give myself a hand back up again.  I hope you will too.


2 replies to “Reframing “A Treat”

  1. I too am cutting back/down/out the white-powder-devel and replacing with fresh fruit when the cravings hit, especially the ‘treat’ cravings. Also, drinking a glass of water helps, but you already do that. Next one my list is to hum a favorite tune while doing a little movement (tai chi for me). Some form of distraction helps too – playing Cribbage or Backgammon on the computer. All this works most of the time, and when not, a little something sweet, but only if I WON’T beat myself up after …
    Love, Jan

  2. Fermented foods, like raw sauerkraut and kimchi are supposed to help, but aside from that I only have all the usual advice, and I fall pretty regularly myself.

    I do know, without a single doubt, that sugar is the Devil’s cocaine…

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