Ever since I can remember, I have had a love affair with sugar. In elementary school, I used to sweep the coins off of my dad’s dresser and walk down to the candy store and buy long pink ropes of bubble gum and soft-serve ice cream cones covered with crunchy rainbow sprinkles. In middle school I cut through backyards to get to the Quik Mart and used babysitting and dog-walking money to buy handfuls of chocolate bars and bags of chips and packs of shiny jewel-colored gumballs and paper boxes of candy made mostly of corn syrup and dye, then sit on my bed and read for hours at a time while dipping my hand into the brown paper bag and eating until I was numb.
As a child I hid candy under my pillow and tucked it among my pedal pushers and t-shirts in the dresser drawers. Now I hide it on high shelves and in a wicker basket among my business receipts and in the cupboard above the closet next to the Christmas presents.
I need to give up sugar, or at least cut way back. I’ve thought about it for years, I’ve tried it before, I’ve read the recent studies detailing every awful thing that sugar does to your body, your moods, your skin. I know it siphons away my energy and ambition.
I used to think that once I gave up sugar and ate better, I’d become a different person and live the kind of life I wanted to live. But it’s become clear that the truth is that I need to become a different person and then I’ll give up sugar and eat better and live the kind of life I want to live.
There’s a book I love called Potatoes, Not Prozac that asks the question, If you just got back from dinner and you were completely full and perhaps you had even had desert, and you walked into your house and there was a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies sitting on the table, would you have one? Well, of course, I thought, who wouldn’t? And she explained that not everyone would eat the cookies. SOME PEOPLE WOULDN’T EAT THE COOKIES. And that just blew my mind.
I know it’s a one-day-at-a-time kind of process. I can’t think too far ahead. Motivation will come and go. There are very important reasons that I’ve listed in my notebook why I must do this. Some days they’ll be enough and some days they won’t. I’m hoping that most days they will.