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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31 -- "Happy Halloween ... Sweet Acceptance"

It's Halloween!  Such a fun, creative, expressive time of the year.  Candy was always a big part of my thoughts -- even during my Weight Watcher Leader days.  I'd hold off and have a couple of hours, or an afternoon, or a certain amount where I would limit my indulging.  There were some years I could really do that!

Other years -- not so much.  And my greatest downfall was afterwards, into November with the candy that my kids brought home.  All four of them, but especially my 2 sons.  They had so much fun collecting it.  Starting with a small bag early in the evening, coming home for pillow cases, then coming home once again for the red wagon to drag it through the neighborhood .... Oh, the memories.  Then the cascades and waterfalls of it as the sorted, piled etc., etc.

Then they were done with it and forgot it in their bedrooms.

But not their Mom.  Wow. Though the kids at home (and that much candy) are not a part of life any more, I still remember it. 

These weeks of November were not my shining moments.  I was like a little rodent, squirreling through it while they were at school.  Every day, really, until it was gone.

There haven't been years like that for a long time, but I found my sources!

Bu this year -- oh what a joy it has been all month long.

This morning, before we got up, I said to Bob "And it'll be a super fun Halloween without one piece of candy!" And he said, "Awwww, who needs it, hon?"

And he's right!

I got to thinking yesterday, though.  Of the people in my life with physical handicaps that they have no choice but to live with and accept.

Each day at school, there's a little class of handicapped children.  Some of them have mental handicaps.  Others have physical handicaps.  One especially darling little boy, about 10, has one arm that is deformed, and quite a bit shorter than the other.  There's a great big scar on his head where there's been some type of surgery done.  He can walk, but it's with a limp/gait.

But oh, what a smile and cute personality!  Just so friendly and thrilled with every day.

Someone else I know who lives with great grace with the bag from a colostomy and deals with that ...

As I look around, I am surrounded by people who have had to come to terms with what their bodies will and will not do.

And you know what?  I've decided my body's inability to manage sugar as the same type on "non-option."

It's not an option for the little boy at school to just "quit" being like that with his deformed arm and inability to walk straight  Or my friend with the colostomy bag to function normally Or ... so many things.  They have no choice but to be creative in accepting it graciously, or being bitter and a burden to those around them.

My disability: I do not function well with sugar.

But I function EXTREMELY well when I accept that and turn to my Heavenly Father and real sources for genuine comfort and for help in addressing stress.

Happy Halloween, Indeed! It's a time for not just CANDY, but CREATIVITY, in not just CREATING COSTUMES but COMING UP WITH CONCLUSIONS to CONFLICT.

And that's what I'll CELEBRATE!  WELCOME, NOVEMBER!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30 -- "Finding Comfort in the Best Big C"

As I continue to review the month of October in my heart, and the things that have transpired, I am filled with awe and humility.

This has been one of the most powerful experiences with the Atonement that I think I have ever experienced. I am at a different place than would ever have been possible on my own.  Is this not what the Atonement is all about?

I got the dearest letter in the mail yesterday from a Beat Sugar Cravings friend.  She is making her way first with eliminating the sugary BIG C comfort foods.  You know --  cookies and cookie dough, candy, chocolate, cake, etc.

I CONFIRM (another C) that that is where I am right now too.  I am well aware that there is sugar as an additive in many foods that we eat. That bread, and even fruit is high in sugar.  I'm no longer eating white bread, or much of any, and I expect I'll be ready to take the other, more hidden forms of sugar, on in a more expansive way in the coming months.

But this month I have, with my Savior's help, been able without a problem and without any drama (just a touch of sadness now and then) not eaten any of the Big Cs.  None!  And truthfully, not even been tempted or over-wroght.

In fact I have found, instead, my finest and dearest and most powerful Big C and true comforter,  My Savior Jesus Christ. Which is also the letter C!  In a very new and personal way.  For which I am CELEBRATING :0)

I COMMIT, as Halloween and the rest of the holidays begin to descend upon us, to CONNECT with Him for the COMFORT I need, for the comfort that each of us needs to COPE with every day life and the loving and the challenges that being a part of it all brings.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29-- "Building a Testimony"

What a month it has been.  I did not have an official "DAY/HOUR" when my sugar free life started nearly a month ago.  But it has been about a month.

As  I look back, and on the writings here, I know that it is all farrrr beyond anything I could do on my own. 

Of great, great value to me has been the "Win the Sugar War" book.  Kind of like leaning on someone else's testimony that gives you strength to find your own.

Janice Kapp Perry wrote a song called "My Own Little Lamp"  that my children loved to sing (both my own and when I was Primary chorister.
-- the melody was beautiful and it had an earnest quality to it that just felt good to sing.

It feels so appropriate to find the words and the spirit of it now!

I need to have my own testimony to be sure that the gospel is true.
It’s a blessing to have parents who have taught it is right
But I can’t live on borrowed light
I must ask the Lord, I must make a choice
To listen for the still small voice
And then I will know that these things are right
And my own little lamp will be filled with light.

I need to have my own testimony to be sure that the gospel is true.
I know there will come a time when I will have to walk alone,
But I need to know it too
I must ask the Lord, I must make a choice
To listen for the still small voice
And then I will know that these things are right
And my own little lamp will be filled with light.

As I've written these posts through the month, I'm realizing kind of like bearing your testimony.  It defines your beliefs about yourself, and the principles that are not only truths, but your life's foundation.

I emphasize that I have gotten a great deal of inspiration from the book "Win The Sugar War"  It tells the stories of 100 people who have kicked sugar -- for years.  For some it was for health reasons.  For others, emotional. For all, a blessing.

I affirm to myself and all my friends here that I have not always been a sugar glutton -- there have been a great many times when it was under control.  Some of those times were for a very long time, even.  But in my heart, I knew there were was not a sure foundation for long-term living.

At the end of the sugar cravings test month, I know and bear witness that October 2013 has changed my life and how I manage candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, donuts, desserts ....  and that with my Heavenly Father's help, it will be for a lifetime!

One day, one month, one season, one holiday, even one hour -- at a time.  Even when the sugar detox month is over, I think I will continue with this blog as a way of confirming to myself that THIS MATTERS FAR MORE THAN I ever thought possible. Not just for me, but for my family, and for my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Bob and I are now teach a Missionary Preparation class on Institute night for our stake.  It's a very rewarding experience to both prepare, then to teach together.

Last week's lesson on the importance of teaching by bearing testimony was powerful for me, and I find myself turning to a statement by Boyd K. Packer:

"It is not unusual to have a missionary say, 'How can I bear testimony until I get one?'  Oh that I could teach you this one principle!  A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!  Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that leap of faith, as the philosophers call it.  It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and step into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.  (Boyd K. Packer, "That All May Be Edified," p. 339-340.)

So!!!! I confess, I'm a junk magazine junkie.  But only at the checkout line!  Last week, to further bolster my testimony that I'm a "No Candy-Cookies-Ice-Cream-Doughnuts-Cake" person, I read the account of some Hollywood star (I never know who anyone is -- I just like reading at the checkout line) that had lost 70 pounds.

When asked what she eats on her cheat days, she said, "For me there are no cheat days.  Who am I cheating?  Myself?  Why would I do that?  Cheating for me is like telling an alcoholic, 'You've been sober for so long!  Why don't you go have a few beers and kick back?'  No.  For me this is my life."

Between the Sugar Wars book, my own growing testimony a la President Packer, and the Hollywood star ... by golly ... I know I'm going to have fruit for dessert.

And make it through Halloween with NO CANDY.

The thought of doing the same through Christmas, then forward is getting easier and easier to get comfortable with.

I know I've used this word WOW too much in these posts but ....

Wow.  Is this all really me?  Living without candy and frosting???? I have a testimony that IT IS, and it's just about most lovely, peaceful gift I could ever imagine for myself.

Monday, October 28, 2013

DAYS 26-28 -- "Of Mountains and Mole Hills"

Our Ward Trunk or Treat party was delightful.  Bob and I wore matching Halloween aprons, chef's hats and carried these very cute little tin pumpkin pots with wooden spoons.  We'd stir-stir-stir then pretend to fling "Halloween Magic" on our friends, young and old.  Quick-easy-fun costumes, and our little nursery brothers and sisters were still talking about it all in Nursery yesterday.  "You were a crazy chef!"

It was also the traditional chili cook off.  I usually have little tastes of all, but this time I had only someone's fabulous white chili, that was mostly a clear broth with onions, green peppers, a little chicken, white beans and killer seasonings.  I tracked down that chef, who is new in our ward, and she promised to get me the recipe.

It was interesting.  Even with Halloween candy that belongs to someone else, there was this impulse, more like a REFLEX to grab those little treat-size packages during the actually trunk-or-treating and get rockin'.  My joke was always to call about in the dark for "Anybody got any Mounds?"  Kids and adults would come up with some for me, along with everything else.  Of course.  I'd nibble there, on the way home, and take it from there, as if the Trunk or Treat event opened hunting season, or something.  Yeah, hunting season is right because from Trunk or Treat (and getting ready for it by buying the candy and "testing it" and/or letting it be "A-OK for eating " by merely opening the package)  ... until every last bit of chocolate (which was then followed by the Smarties and Starbursts) was gone several weeks later, I was on the prowl.  Yes.  Hunting Season, indeed!

This time, it was all about the kids and the fun.  I looked at their little packages of M&Ms.  Hmm.  Brown paper with the white letters on it.  But the reflex for "how do I get some of my own?" was gone.  Once again, it was a great relief.

We took no candy.  We ate no candy.  We brought home no candy.

I'm learning that other people do a bang-up job of providing the stuff.  Nobody cares or even notices if I bring or do not.  If I eat it or do not.  Most of these events are so packed with people and kids and fun socializing that whether you eat anything or not is on NO-ONE ELSE'S interest level. At all.

Perhaps the biggest thing of the weekend, however, was a couple of challenging conversations related to ongoing family issues. I wonder how many of those in the past I have colored and fanned the flames with my sugar-highs and lows?

This weekend, with a clear head, unaltered by sugar, I was able to realize and accept that these feelings (on both my part and the other parties) really ARE just that intense!  The difference, however, is that I was able to listen and let go.  I was a much better validator.  I was able to both express AND accept my own feelings for what they are:  real, legitimate feelings, then walk away from both them and the situation without adding any fuel to the bon fire.  Feelings that I can CONTROL and DISCIPLINE when I'm not on sugar.  Time and space to come up with better answers to the problem, or if there are none, to be content with patience and faith as answers.

In the past, I am famous for making a big problem (or even little ones) bigger than  they need to be by becoming overly-emotional, with a  heavy element of over-talking and over-dramatizing.  (I come from a line of very good story-tellers, and boy, do we love dramatics.)

How much of my past has SUGAR allowed me to turn little mole hills of problems into mountains that were entirely unnecessary? Things that could have been handled much more easily and effectively -- without the drama that is so unflattering in the hours and days afterwards?

Based on two significant conversations this weekend, probably more than I had thought.  Goodness.  Now that I'm thinking about it ... how many situations in years past, both in and outside of my family, might have been different/ended differently if not only my body was sugar-free, but my emotions and ability to communicate were sugar-free as well?

I can't change the past, but I can accept and embrace the future ... and promise myself to be at my best for those I love best  by being sugar free and in control.

After all, there are SO many difficult things that are utterly OUT of our control.  It's my DUTY to grab hold of the ones that are!

It feels wonderful to experience that during emotional, difficult times, when you're not high on sugar, you can know that your feelings and your response to other people's feelings is the real deal, not altered by body and chemistry changes that are not the real YOU.  Or embarrassed afterwards when you realize that sugar was running the show.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25 -- "Trunk or Treat Night!"

The vegetarian chili is bubbling in the crock pot and the house smells heavenly.  It's the biggest night of the year for our Ward: TRUNK OR TREAT!  We can't wait.  Bob and I are the Nursery Leaders.  We have two large nurseries in our Ward.  We have the "Big Kids" -- ages 2-turning-3.  Eighteen of them.  How FUN to see them in their costumes.  We have talked about it a lot this month with them!  Heady stuff.

Halloween.  Oh, Halloween.  It's been my candy downfall since I was a child.  There's something about even the SMELL of that trick-or-treat bag, and countless little candy bars so many that my mentality of  "no one will notice if I eat one.... 3 ... 10???? .... all this evening????"  I've been able to control it to varying degrees  some years.  Many years I didn't even try and let it get the best of me for as long as it lasted.  A long time, well into November, since we had 5 kids and there always at least 4 of the 5 who were big-time collectors.  More for the thrill of the hunt than anything else.

More later.

The important thing is that tonight, I'm remembering how for many years I couldn't even wait to open the bag when it as time to pass it out, as it allowed me to start nibbling immediately

This year, however, is so very, very different.  Between the tea, prayer, the LDS ARP meeting and handbook, reading of the Savior's miracles in the New Testament, and staying FULL with better food, I'm just plain old not feelin' it for the old candy.  The kids are tired of it in a day or two.  The interest fades (as it should).  How much I have to learn from those around me!

I'm going to put on my big girl panties and say to myself, "Hey! Maybe I'm the only one who freaks out with this stuff and snitches all the Mounds from my kids and anybody who's not looking, but life is different.  I'm different."  This Halloween, I AM CANDY-FREE!

Trunk or Treat is a big time EVENT where we can have so much fun with our friends and our little nursery brothers and sisters. 

Candy?  HA!  I'm treating it as a non-edible  decoration for a very special event with people who bring me far more joy than sugar ever could.  In addition, we have no little ones of our own who will bringing it home, making it easier than ever to just have fun ... once again for all the right reasons.

Truth:  Bob didn't even buy candy for tonight.  (Years ago, to try and help me, he started doing the buying.  It didn't make much of a difference.  I still ate piles from my own kids bags while they were at school.)

So!  I'm going to go get the chili ready, prepare a little supper for my mom, and get ready for a most delightful evening for all the right reasons. 

I'm also going back to the "Remember" post where I got sick on the smell of tobacco and cigarette smoke at the restaurant, and allowing the old senses to do their magic and make it unappetizing.

I know I'll be just fine, and tomorrow I'll print the happy boosters!

Have a great evening!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 23 - "Holes to Fill"

Last night I got the sweetest letter from one of our precious Beat-Sugar-Cravings buddies.  She said it all, that even when you know what to do, it is VERY hard to accept, embrace, progress, plain old "quit" -- call it what you will.  Her progress feels slow.  How very difficult and sad in many ways it is to close the door, turn your back and move on from something so "sweet."  LOL.  I told her that I would post some of the "booster" activities that give our spirits a much nicer and more real lift, and in turn our bodies. 

I'll do that by Saturday, but first, I must answer my own journal prompt here.  To tell you the truth, it launched what we are all doing here.

The question:  "What emptiness have I tried to fill with sugar?" ... I don't want to dwell on the past, but as the saying goes, "Feelings buried alive never die." So I'm giving my McDonald's chocolate dipped cones a proper burial today.  I might need some Kleenex and a black outfit for mourning .... I'm not really joking.

I discovered them a year ago, so summer before this just-past summer (so 2012).  I had a few, and was getting to a point of wanting them regularly when they discontinued them at Labor Day.  I was sad, but glad too as I realized I was becoming dependent.  Then, 9-months later over the Memorial Day weekend.  They returned. I was happy.  I was TOO happy.  I ate a whole lot of them over the summer.  By myself.  In the car.

Why?  What holes was I trying to fill? 

Well ... I had planned on some "empty-nest-house-to-myself" years before Bob retired.  After raising 5 kids.  Just some hours at home each day with just ME.  However, over a year ago,  just a few months after our youngest went off to BYU-Idaho, my Mom, then 91, moved in with us.  It was to be for a short stay, but over the next couple of months it turned into permanent (last November.)

 All 5 of my siblings live on the other side of the country.  Far too far to come and help in any real way, and far too far for her to go and stay with because she has become 100% housebound and can no longer travel. 

She has thought for years she would be long gone by now.  She is not dwelling on dying, but just hoped to go while she was still independent.  Surprise.  She's here, and we're all facing the fact that the genetics for much of her family lead up to age 100.  We love her so much!  And are so grateful for delightful ward members and neighbors who brighten her days and our lives.  But ...

Wow.  So much for our empty nest years that Bob and I had both so looked forward to for such a long time.

Six months after she moved in, Bob retired his wonderful business to come home and work our tea business full time.  Another ig surprise that this is Heavenly Father's plan for us.

RESULT:
It's all good and nobody's sweeter than my Mom and my simply marvelous husband.  I love them both with all my heart and we all enjoy each other's company!  No real problems.


BUT my time at home alone is gone. Forever.  In fact, I never really got it at all.  And I had really looked forward to not days and weeks alone, but a few hours every day ... there's nothing wrong with that, is there?
Mom  is 100%, spiritually and mentally and her eyes and ears are even pretty good, but mobility wise she is greatly handicapped and totally dependent other than getting to the bathroom and feeding herself).  She doesn't get dressed or leave the house.  We're all still adjusting.  

She thought she'd have passed on years ago and handles it magnificently ...

Well, it's all been a little bit of a shock to me as I really love alone time.   I assure you, it's all working out and I'm adjusting.

But even putting it on paper reveals my subsconscious (and heck -- my CONSCIOUS self) saying "Of course!  No wonder you need some space and something sweet JUST FOR YOU. McDonald's dipped cones all by yourself are the perfect answer!"

SO!  Over the summer, the  few times I was alone during the week, I made sure I had one.  Once or twice I even had 2 (and thought about having 2 every time I had one.  So thought I was doing GOOD to hold off at one each time.)

For those who say, "Those?  They're too messy!  They chocolate coating just falls off."

To them I reply:  "They're not too messy.  You just keep an apron in the car to throw around your neck so it doesn't fall onto your shirt."

Truth.

The sillier-embarrassing part is that I was thinking about them even more than I was eating them.  And coming up with little outings as an excuse more and more.

I was really worried that they would be discontinued again on Labor Day. 

I both hoped they WOULD (so I wouldn't have to be responsible for not being able to get them) but more importantly I hoped they WOULD NOT, because I'd gotten really attached.  I think in an emotional way as much as how delicious they tasted, as a little "reward" for being alone.

I consciously expressed to friends, "I'm so worried they'll discontinue!" I asked when I ordered, and they just shrugged as if "who even cares?????"

Well, I CARED. A LOT.  And I DID NOT WANT TO SAY GOOD-BYE, like I had the year before.

I kept thinking, "I've got to get a hold of all of this!"  But my inner voice cried, "No-No-No.  I don't want to!  I just don't want to."

It was all of this end-of-summer dilemma that really prompted the "Beat-Sugar-Cravings" offer on Meridian.  Yes, that was the source, and it was my spiritual inner dilemma that was answered in prayer when it came to me that others might be struggling too.

Just accepting that it's time to say GOOD-BYE .... has been the hardest part for me! (It very much reminds me of my kids giving up blankies, pacifiers, and sucking their thumbs.  I'm sure you remember.)

As the summer came to a close, and there was no yes-or-no answer, I found myself needing MORE dipped cones o protect myself, in case it really was to be over.

It was/is pathetic, and I knew/know it, but I can't/won't deny it.

And you know what?

The day after Labor Day.  IT WAS OVER!  Not my choice, but McDonald's.

I stopped for my cone, and the gal at the window said -- completely unemotionally as if it were not BIG DEAL (which it was/is)  "we don't have them anymore." Stone-faced, non-plussed.

Not me.  I ordered a regular cone, but it was not the same.

It happened all at the same time I was launching the Sugar-Detox at Meridian, and it was Heavenly Father's way of saying, "Honey, whether you want to say Good-bye or not, you must."

I spent much of September eating anything else, since my cones were gone. 

The  "honey-moon is over" with the reality of Mom being here brought some difficult conversations with all my siblings and with her ... and you know what?

FOOD DOESN'T FILL THE HOLES.  Only Heavenly Father can make us WHOLE. 

I'm so grateful for October and the progress I have made.  I'm so grateful for the humbling reality that I have been far more dependent than I wanted to admit.

I am so grateful for the excellent resources and the support that have come my way -- and I am finding new ways to embrace the beauty of my new reality ... our empty nest years may not be quite as empty with Mom here, but they are rich and full and it is a blessing to be the ones to provide a home for her in her later years.  She deserves so very, very much, and it is such an oporutnity to become a bigger, better person.

Wow.  It feels good to put it all in writing.  It feels ... far better than a dipped cone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22 -- "Finding Wholeness"

Each day is filled to the brim, it seems ... with such a wide variety of responsibilities between my day-job at the school,  taking care of my Mom, the tea business, being a Mom to my daughter Kelly who needs my phone support ... being a loving wife.   No wonder, as I'm paying attention, it has been a habit to grab at food as I go as a way of distracting me to how full my plate is -- I guess trying to match that overly full plate with an overly full tummy!  So silly ....

It is a miracle to me how the cravings have dissipated, or is it the habit of eating more regularly, and making sure there is some protein that is making such a difference.  Whatever it is ... I am currently reading through the New Testament Religion manual, and finding more understanding.  When I read today's quote that perhaps the Savior's greatest miracles were in occurring spiritual sicknesses, my heart just kind of melted.  Maybe that's what so much of this is all about ... and it is all put into place within the LDS Addiction Recovery Manual.

I am so incredibly grateful to be able to READ! I am so grateful for this life-saving information to be in PRINT!  I am so grateful to my Savior for addressing my spiritual sicknesses with so much love ... and even the fun, as based on the cute story I wrote yesterday. 

I have always said that my Heavenly Father is "such a goooood Dad" ... doing loving sweet things that only a Dad knows about to do for his little girl.  And that's what I am in this dependent state.  A very humble little girl.

How our family needed the good belly laugh from the story I printed yesterday.  Best white cake EVER!!!! 

LDS Addiction Recovery Article and Links to  Manual to Download:
http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/13441

Monday, October 21, 2013

Days 19-21 "Sugar - Best When Used For a LAUGH"

I am humbled and overwhelmed by the progress I feel this month.  As I wrote the Meridian article on Saturday morning about last weekend, the LDS Addiction Recovery Program and Perrin Dulany, I knew again that my sugar cravings are very real, and that Heavenly Father is helping me with all of this in ways I have never before experienced ...

We went to the high school craft show on Saturday morning. -- and the food treats at that event were not even remotely interesting to my palate.  That's a new experience for me.

That evening we went to dinner with some neighbors that we adore. The wife, Elizabeth, has traveled across the country several times to go to David Archuleta's concerts.  They are not members, but can't get enough of hearing about the LDS way of life, missionaries, etc., etc.  Bob, who is becoming sugar-free with me, chose the place to eat:  Our favorite All-You-Can-Eat buffet.  While this may not seem to be a good choice, for me it is, because there's all kinds of yummy veggie stuff that is all prepared and delicious.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, (did you get a load of the italics, caps, bold, and underscore?) I didn't go to the dessert bar.  Not even a problem.  None of the "little tastes" I've lied to myself about for years, or the numerous "little pieces" of fudge that I have always love.  Just didn't go there.  No drama, just like my plan!

Until our darling couple, whom we've never eaten, said, "No desserts?  Don't Mormons eat sugar??????"  Oh, my goodness, I had to laugh. "Don't eat Mormons sugar?"  I replied, "Darlin' Mormons WROTE THE BOOK on sugar!"

Here's another laugh, which makes me think that maybe this is what sugar is best for ... A LAUGH!
We read this from a friend last night and laughed out loud for 15 minutes.  That feels good too!!!!

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of the ladies who bake for church events:

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies' Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute.

She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and
helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed,

"Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!" This cake
was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing.
Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect.

And, before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone & called her mom.
Alice was horrified-she was beside herself! Everyone would know!

What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time.
She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa , but having already RSVP 'd , she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old south and to Alice 's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake!
She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "what a beautiful cake!"

Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the
hostess (who was a prominent church member) say,

"Thank you, I baked it myself.."

Alice smiled and thought to herself, "God is good.”

And on a more serious note, I hope you'll go back to the LDS Addiction recovery program article for some loving help, to go along with the laugh!

Love,

Carolyn

Friday, October 18, 2013

Days 17-18 "It's What's Inside That Counts"

We went to the Olive Garden on Wednesday night with our married kids.  Our daughter-in-law is just a gorgeous person, inside and out.  Stunning in both appearance and a magnificent spirit and intellect, I can hardly believe she's ours.  She always looks fabulous and is a reason to dress up a bit more than I would ordinarily. LONG STORY SHORT ... I wore my jeans that have been WAY too tight for quite a long time.  And a jacket with a top that I wouldn't have worn even two weeks ago.  I was very comfortable all evening.

SUGAR DETOX "Woo-Hoo" moment.  The scale doesn't say much, but those jeans do, and I was delighted.

The important thing, is that there was an inner connection with more of "the sugar-free" me ... Happier and lighter both in spirit and choices when the waiter took our orders!  I know this  person is a much more authentic and "real me" (and the one my Heavenly Father wants me to be)when not bogged down by that churning-thinking-wondering-devising how I'm going to get my sugar "fix".

I read something so fascinating (at least to me) the other day.  That we as brothers and sisters in the human race, are individually referred to as are HUMAN "BEINGS" rather than HUMAN "DOINGS".  We get so caught up and distracted in the "doing" however, that the outside, viewable "doings" win the prize over the non-visible "being."  And not much changes, because it's not from the inside out.

The  busy-frantic"doing" makes an external effort to make things happen or "change things."

While the "being" quietly takes care of things in a natural way, simply by allowing the laws of "being" to move forward.

It's Joseph Smith's answer, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves." ... Internally, spiritually, without force.

There will ALWAYS-ALWAYS-ALWAYS be sugar and quickie carbs and people that we adore that eat them and expect us to join in.  We may even need to prepare and serve them!  What a situation, yet, we can still be healthy and sugar free, when we're settled and secure on the INSIDE.

This being settled and at peace is far more important to me right now than removing sugar from every sight.  (Impossible anyway!)  It takes intention, and action, and decision, which are all INSIDE jobs.

My intention is to BE at peace with my decision to be sugar free for a lifetime, and for it to be a "no-big-deal" "this is just what I do and who I am" part of my every day life-style. 

I'm not there yet, and it may be a long time, but today feels great.

How about you?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16 - "Time Out and The Word of Wisdom ... WOW."

Bob and I popped into CVS last night (our local multi-purpose drugstore).  The front was completely packed with multiple aisles upon aisles of Halloween candy.  I've never been much for the dum-dums, Mary Janes, etc.  But those "fun sizes" -- or the 10-packs of the candy bars.  Oh, yeah.  I'll talk about Halloween later.  Then of course, the checkout is one big fat aisle where you stare at the offerings while standing in line.

The important thing for me last night was that I realized these aisles were right next to all the wines and beer aisles.  I never go there.  Never think about it.  I was raised in the Church.  Have never had alcohol.  There are some family genetics that go back to alcoholism, but me? Never.  Just not a part of my life or deal.  (I think, if I'd gotten started, the compulsive gene that has ruled me with sugar may have very well taken off like a rocket and been a serious problem.)

And I think it's that way for most, if not all, of my LDS friends. The alcohol, tobacco, coffee part of the Word of Wisdom is just not on my radar in any way to tell you the truth.  No problem.

As I walked by  the candy, (singing Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By ...") --  I felt a very re-assuring "distancing" ... and realized that this month is a very healthy (in more ways than one) TIME OUT for me. 

I was walking by the candy in almost the same way I walk by the alcohol aisles. 

My daughters use time-outs for my grandkids to take a break and give them a chance to think.  I did too.

That's what the October Cravings Test is for me.  I am realizing that countless people in my life know I'm LDS and don't drink.  It's not part of the deal. "Carolyn doesn't drink."  No drama. 

Why cannot it not be so with sugar?  "Carolyn doesn't do sugar/desserts."  No drama.

I will NOT be the one to tell the world that sugar is not within the Word of Wisdom or healthy eating.  It will NOT bar any of us from receiving a temple recommend.  I will NOT be the one to ban treats and goodies from meetings and special events.

But I CAN be the one to quietly know that within the Word of Wisdom FOR ME, there is no mention of SUGAR or goodies.  Not ONE.

I can be the one to affirm within myself, "Carolyn doesn't do sugar/desserts." No drama.

Have you ever noticed that the Word of Wisdom can by shortened to WOW?

So all I can say about this delightful epiphany connecting SUGAR to TIME OUT to the
WORD OF WISDOM is ....

WOW!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15 -- "Taking Stock"

My daughter Emily turned 28 yesterday.  She has 2 little girls, Evie is 2 and Eliza is 5 months.  For a "fun" start to her birthday, they started with the Allen family birthday tradition:  doughnuts.  Their "fun" breakfast was immediately followed by a  chain of "very bad morning" responses from more than just the 2 year old. 

"I did it to myself!" She said in tears.  "I know what happens when we let ourselves have that much sugar in the morning!  But it's my BIRTHDAY!"  I felt like crying myself.  It was me that launched the Allen family birthday tradition of doughnuts for breakfast many years ago when SHE was a 2 year old!

I can't change that.  And I wish it was the worst mistake I've made as a mother.  Not gonna get over-dramatic here.  What  I CAN change is how I personally live now.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF SINCE OCT. 1:

 I FEEL the changes, and especially the "readiness".  That's so good.  Part of me is sad.  Really sad.  I know I'm saying good-bye to some foods and traditions that I really loved.  For a lifetime.  I'm going to let it be OK to be sad.  Some things just end, and it IS sad when fun chapters of your life are over -- a great Ward where the boundaries or bishopric changes and EVERYTHING changes, loved tones die, good friends move, favorite dishes or possessions break,  precious belongings get lost, kids grow up or out of an especially fun stage, all KINDS of changes become  "closed chapters."

It's OK to remember them with fondness and miss them.  And even grieve for changes that are part of life, living and loving.

I'm not telling anyone what to do with the October Cravings Test.  Maybe the beautiful people along with me are going to be OK with "moderation." and can have favorites every now and then.

As for me, I know I've tried that WAY too many times.  I'm ready for PERMANENT lifestyle change where I don't try and figure out "how much" is OK, or which "days" are OK.

I just know that a cookie or two does NOT satisfy me.  It just makes me want MORE. And sets me up for a permanent "holding" pattern until that day or treat comes along.

I'm tired of "starting OVER."  I've been doing it all my life!  I want to be like the lovely lady I met on Sunday who said, "I've been straight for 7 years and counting."

Will I eat bread?  Yes.  But only whole grain.  Will I eat sugar-free jam with it?  Maybe.  Will I use natural sugar substitutes? Yes.

WHAT I AM PROUD OF:

 It's now half way through the month.  My sugar cravings  have lessened to a GREAT degree, and I'm on my way.  It's a relief.  More than anything, it's a RELIEF.  I'm not gonna say it's a ton of fun yet.

But it is a RELIEF to be this far, to be documenting my feelings and my food.  To be turning to my Heavenly Father.  The part that IS joyful is to know that I'm on my way.

Lots of things ahead to deal with, but at this point, I'm taking STOCK and feeling definite progress.

Will I be the grandma who always has cookies and candy?   Based on Emily's bummer start to her birthday yesterday, I've got some revising to do.

WHAT I NEED MORE OF:

Time, just time, to solidify and establish what is happening in a beautiful way with the help of the tea and my Heavenly Father

Monday, October 14, 2013

Days 13 and 14 "A Change of Heart"

Our weekend get-away, reduced from 4 days to an overnighter due to bad weather and some other pressing matters, turned out to be just perfect!

After a wonderful session at the temple, we had dinner at a Cracker Barrel.  The place is crammed with retro candy and goodies, but it's odd.  We didn't spend any time in that section at all!  The even weirder thing is, I didn't even think about it until an hour or so later.  While we don't usually buy any of that candy, I always look and drool.  And sometimes I do buy the over-sized malties "to send on to Cooper" -- our missionary in Brazil who loves them.  Although I end up  eating them myself.

I ordered my usual grilled lemon-pepper fish.  SOOOO delicious, with the steamed veggies.  We usually split a small stack of their pancakes.  And we did, but we ordered the sugar-free syrup.  And it didn't taste as right as usual.  It was the sugar-free syrup ... but more than that,  I know my life is changing.  I passed on the biscuits with jelly, too.  And was just fine!  Relief and peace.

Next time we go, I know I'll be ready to pass entirely on this long-standing tradition of the pancakes.

In the morning, talking with Bob, he shared that he, too, on his own has become determined to be sugar-free and has gone without it for the last 2 weeks.  He doesn't have a weight issue, but sugar is his "go-to" as well just because he loves it. Desserts, jams and jelly, some candy.  Not into the hiding and private bingeing like me.  But very aware of how it plays havoc with his moods and sense of well-being, especially as he gets older.  (He's 62.)  I was surprised with how committed he is, and the changes he has also experienced over the past 2 weeks.

We talked and talked, and I am very grateful for my unexpected partner on this!  He is going to read Sugar Shock too.The breakfast smorgasbord where we stayed was full of all kinds of options: Belgian waffles and syrup, sugar-coated cereals, rich Danish pastries, bagels/jelly/cream cheese, etc.  But they had fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, a delicious whole wheat toast.  And that was what I chose!  Scrumptious. 

I also had a small yogurt, and when my taste buds said MORE-MORE-MORE, I checked the sugar content.  17 grams of sugar for a 4-oz. carton of yogurt.  Wow.  The MORE-MORE-MORE is a red flag that it's probably more than I need or want. 

No guilt here, just awareness and finding both ATTENTION and INTENTION.

The most important part of our get-away hadn't even started.

Long story short:  We got lost trying to find the chapel to attend Sacrament Meeting. Our GPS kept looping us around.  I said to Bob, "The universe is telling us that we don't need to be there today."

Bob said, "No, we'll try one more time." And it worked.

Imagine my surprise, with all we have happening here, when the second testimony shared in Fast & Testimony meeting was a lovely lady who stood up and after giving her name said,

"And I am your local ward ADDICT.  I've been clean and straight for 7 years this month, and I wanted to share my testimony of how only the LORD JESUS CHRIST can help us overcome addictions.  I failed miserably at three residential recovery centers, then joined the Church. I attend the weekly meetings atthrough the LDS Addiction Recovery Program and it is the only thing that works!"

Have you ever been to a Testimony meeting where something like that was shared?

I surely have not!  And just when I am preparing to write my next article for Meridian Magazine on the LDS Addiction Recovery Program!  I got chills as I realized again how Heavenly Father uses me as an instrument for Meridian ...

As I listened to her testimony and chatted with her afterwards, I knew whey we had had such a time finding the building.  The old DEVIL himself did not want us attending and meeting her!

It turned out that there was an LDS Addiction Recovery Meeting that VERY afternoon, several hours later at a close location at the LDS Family Services office.

Bob and I went, and were thoroughly delighted. 

I went because I NEED TO BE THERE, not as a writer, but as a person with an addiction who wants to be free of it for life.

I learned a lot, obtained a copy of the manual, and came to know again, through both the words of the manual and the leaders (a senior couple -- Wonderful, wonderful service missionaries) that my addiction to sugar is REAL.  I haven't made it up. 

My new friend told me that many alcoholics, when recovering, turn to SUGAR.  It is less destructive than alcohol, but is still an addiction.  Alcohol is another form of sugar, and it's easy to substitute Candy for it, although candy is less dangerous. 

That makes a lot of sense to me.

It all makes a lot of sense to me.

We each had a turn to talk/share.  If we wanted to, and as I read the words from Lesson 6, entitled
"A Change of Heart" .... I knew that this is right where my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

That I am ready for a Change of Heart.

I confess, I cried when I read the words on page.

"Whether your addiction has been to alcohol, drugs, ggambling, pornography, self-destructive eating patterns, compulsive spending, or another behavior or substance that represents your need to run and hide from stress or challenges in your life, you can come to realize that it all began in your mind and heart.

Healing also begins in your mind and heart.  As you become willing to be changed by coming unto Jesus Christ, you will learn of His power to heal.

"A change of heart ... A change of heart." This is what I am seeking and acknowledging as much as a change in actions and habits.

Imagine us being there for all of that!  A simple get-away weekend turning into a personally guided experience to allow a Change of Heart that I can share with others ...

I don't think there are words to describe the marvel of having been so directly guided as we were yesterday, and I am so incredibly grateful for my husband's inspiration and constant ability to follow the spirit.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12 - "Pumpkin Bread Blessings"

There are a surprising number of good things to come of the huge loaf of pumpkin bread given to me on Wednesday night by my visiting teachers. It has blessed me with:

1) Practice in moving a gift food along without eating it myself (as in real pieces);
2) Practice in not feeling like I need to have a BLT  of every thing I slice (BLT stands for not bacon-lettuce-tomato, but bites, licks & tastes);
3) Time to do other things besides prepare a treat for our Missionary Preparation class students
4)  An opportunity to say hello to a shut-in across the street with a little gift;
5)  Something to take along on a quick visit to a sister in our ward; and
6)  An opportunity to reflect on who I want to be

Well, gosh! Thank you, Pumpkin Bread! Who would have thought I'd be thanking you when you came my way? I like myself and YOU better when I embrace you as a gift that keeps on giving.

BUT! Should I give gifts of sugar when I am quickly developing a strong testimony of how bad it is for one and all?   I don't know.   Right now I'm just working on me and praying for the dear 125 kindred spirits who have joined me for October.

I have a belief that others do indeed handle these sugary treats far better than I.  I think of them as "people who can hold their sugar" -- as opposed to liquor.  How I envy and admire someone who can eat a few M&Ms from the bag, put it down ... and forget about it until they find the bag two weeks later.  I am personally aware and quietly obsessed until every M&M is totally gone.  And bummed momentarily if I've miscalculated and the last one is gone when I thought there was still another 1 or 2.  Pathetic, (isn't it/???) but true.

Once, while working as a temporary legal secretary before I was married, I worked at someone's desk where there were several  Hershey bars in her work station, each with just a bite or two out of it.  She'd clearly had a taste and forgotten about the rest of the candy bar.  The fact that I remember this 35 years later tells you how problematic this has all been for me for many years. 

Yes, indeed.  How I envy people that are satisfied and content with one piece of cake. Or that one indulgence a week is all they need.  

I know most people don't live with a sugar addiction like mine, which probably makes it OK to pass on food gifts without getting weird and fanatical.  (That's not who I want to be.)

So! Maybe I'll get to a point where I can just disgard sugary food gifts with a "Thanks!" and quick trip to the trash. 

But for now, I'm content to just give it away.

And the surprising thing? I didn't miss having a bite of that pumpkin .  At all!  The sugar cravings are definitely lessening, and I'm more grateful for that fact  than I can begin to express. That feeling is far sweeter and lasting a lot longer than any sugar dessert I know of!

Hooray!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11 -"Sugar Shock"

Yesterday was such a long day.  I felt like I was "on" from way too early (before 5:00 a.m.) until way too late.  We woke up to POURING rain which did not stop all day.  That was the beginng of a VERY long day

It was a SHOCK to me that I managed it all without consuming all of the loaf of pumpkin bread (come on, call it what it is:  CAKE in loaf form) that my visiting teacher had given me Wednesday night.

Oh, my ... what a day.

My 4 hours at the elementary school cafeteria is both a hoot, a joy and also a marathon "just put on your blinders and get your work done."  It's a very intense 4 hours with hundreds of children and many demands.  THURSDAY IS ALSO COOKIE DAY, where I am welcomed by the aroma of baking chocolate chip cookies.  (I love it for the exercise I get there everyday -- moving FAST, on my FEET, it really is like a free gym session.) Yesterday a surprise visit by a supervisor and some other challenges made it breathless from beginning to end. 

I came home to stressful surprises:  a workman who had refinished a piece of furniture for us delivered it in his open truck and it had gotten rained on.  Poor guy.  There he and Bob were in the garage trying to restain, refinish his work.   Smelly stuff in the garage.

 Unknown to me, a neighbor had come to give Mom a permanent.  He's a darling, flamboyant young man that I just adore.  They were spread out all over the kitchen.  Two huge personalities having a ball. Ben is a walking party and entertainer (and a professional clown.  I kid you not.)

Between him, Bob and the furniture guy in the garage, a long day a the school, Mom and Ben ... and ALL THE SMELLS of turpentine/linseed oil/ hair permanent solution, and all these VOICES chattering loudly in a small area.

SOS. CHOCOLATE FIX NEEDED ASAP.  Instead I fixed our blueberry smoothie. 

PEACE and I felt a settling with the protein and comfort in that.

The TOPPER after that was learning that we had lost our internet connection.  Thinking it was weather related, we hung around, then finally called Verizon.  Spent an hour with them.  Not weather.  We need a ROUTER BOX  Closest one available is 45 minutes away, or "we can mail to you for Saturday delivery?"  This problem has really hampered our business for a day or two.

All of this (and the weather) have entirely altered our plan for a long-weekend getaway. 

In the meantime, pouring rain.  POURING rain. 

We decided to drive the 45 minutes to a mall we both hate to get it, on the way to our Missionary Prep class.  Of course, had a hard time finding the store.  More rain and traffic.

But our class was WONDERFUL.  What a joy it is to share the great words of the prophets, the scriptures and to be with those who both love the gospel and are preparing to share it. What an OASIS it all always is!

We came home (in the rain) to dishes, and Mom ... and instead of FINISHING the pumpkin bread that ordinarily I would have had half gone on a day like that, I had another little bowl of the vegetarian barley soup we'd had for dinner, and my tea.

And then went to bed, deserving a TREAT.   I chose to read. There waiting for me was SUGAR SHOCK by Connie Bennett, that had been stuck to the bottom of the pile of a book of library books as I was preparing to launch my 30 Day Detox, for me and for YOU,

OH, MY.  It's what I should have read FIRST.  As long as the day was and as tired as I was, I COULD HARDLY PUT IT DOWN.  No WONDER we've been exhausted.  No WONDER we've been cranky.  NO WONDER my skin is looking wrinkled before it's time.

I do hope you'll check it out of your library or order it at Amazon.  It's a comfort and a joy to have the facts, and to KNOW WHAT'S WRONG, and that much of it is easily fixable.

How many problems can you say that about?

I'm off to another day at my darling little school ... but I AM SUGAR FREE for nearly 2 weeks now, and this is a change for a lifetime. 

It is STILL raining.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 10 - "Remember It Again!"


THE Mental "REMEMBER!" trick is amazing!  The very second Kay told me about replacing sugar temptations with the smell of whiskey, I got a headache, and my mind went to being a little girl and the 12-hour long car drive to visit our grandparents each summer.

We'd stop at a restaurant for a meal.  I'm sure it must have been fine, but we didn't eat out very often.  I wasn't used to restaurants.  When we'd enter the restaurant there in Montana, I was immediately sickened and repulsed by the mixed up, nasty smell of coffee and cigarette smoke.  In my memory, you could cut the cigarette smoke like a knife it was so thick.

It made my stomach turn and gave me an instant headache.  I felt like throwing up.  I was just a little girl, probably no more than 4 or 5.

I remember doing my best to pretend it was OK, but just feeling SO sick, and finally crying. I remember being taken to the car rather than having to eat, and being SO relieved to get out of that smoky, smelly, nasty place. 

In retrospect, I can't imagine my loving Mom taking us someplace awful -- but no matter.  This is how I remember it, and it was more than once ...

When Kay mentioned using "WHISKEY" as her "go-to visualization for replacing sugar" this experience, and the headache/nausea was an immediate instant reflex.

Amazingly powerful.

The liquor smell works too, and my few experiences with heavy liquor leave me feeling much the same.

IT'S EASY TO APPLY THIS TO SUGAR.  The only thing is that desserts are PRETTY.

Maybe we can just enjoy them for how PRETTY they are?  Like flowers?  No need to eat a flower!

OK -- PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Last night was our monthly Relief Society Activity last night.  I wish they would do this quarterly, it is SO much fun, and I just love my ward and my sisters. I'm in Nursery each Sunday, so I REALLY miss them!

Long tables are set up and sisters sit down with someone directly across from each other.  A few "start-up" questions are provided and the timer is set for 3-minutes.  You get to talk/ask questions etc. until the timer goes off.  Then one side of the table slides down one seat. 

Oh, my goodness. It's noisy and silly.  The ultimate gab-fest, whether you've just met or they are old friends.  You wait for the timer to ring and the call to "Move Down A Seat!"  We repeat it 5 or six times.  Love it.

I guess the committee decided that sweets for the sweet were the order for the night because for the refreshments, there was NOT ONE HEALTHY THING on the refreshment table ... other than apple cider (sugar added, I'm sure) and water.

But you know what?  It was absooooluutteeely amazing.  Even 10 days ago, I would have BEEN THERE, as there was a full, professional style bakery offering of ooey-gooey thickly frosted (and you know how I am with frosting) cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls. All beautifully prepared and fun enough to post on PINTEREST.

Our ward is usually pretty good about their being a variety of things for those who don't do sugar/flour/etc.  But not last night. 

 But I just quickly applied the "Remember!" trick and quickly got away from the table so I wouldn't feel head-achy/sick.

And it was NOOOOO Problem!  I just had more time to talk to my friends and was utterly undistracted.

A BIG improvement over the Gates Reception a month ago where the cake really ruined my fun.

This trick WORKED for me last night, and so does the thought that "Flowers are pretty but you don't have to eat them to enjoy them."

The next landmine: My dear visiting teacher sent me home with a HUGE loaf of her signature pumpkin bread.  For "your mom".  We will use it tonight for refreshments for our Missionary Prep class.  YAY.  I don't have to worry about that today!  Those kids will enjoy it ... if they want it.  (We do have one sugar-free gal, and take fruit for her.)

I came home, and there was some cantaloupe left from dinner.

I had a little bit of that, then fixed a cup of our marvelous tea to drink with my Mom.

And it was a VERY good night.

AND THAT is what I'll REMEMBER!!!!!  Yes indeed!  THAT GOOD FEELING is what I'll remember! Along the fun with my ward sisters, which was far sweeter than any of the goodies presented last night.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9 - "Doing Fine and Saving TIME!"

I've been making note of foods that come my way and how I responded to them.

Interesting side benefit: Being Sugar Free Saves Time!

Yesterday was an eye-opener.  We had the missionaries for dinner.  I did not have time or interest in preparing a dessert BUT I actually had two to offer these darling Elders: Both cupcakes and pie.
Why?  They were gifted to us ...

1) Country blueberry pie:  This was a leftover from the friend who had brought it for our special lunch on Conference Sunday.  Usually the 2 she brings are long gone by Monday evening. Why were there leftovers by Tuesday?  BECAUSE I HAD NOT NIBBLED IT TO DEATH! 

2)  Cupcakes: My visiting teaching companion and I also took dinner to one of our sisters.  She made the gooey cupcakes for dessert, and gave 6 to me.  Even ten days ago, I would have found a way to gobble 2 or 3 of them before the Elders arrived.
(I'm rather embarrassed about all of this, but putting it down re-affirms my commitment to move beyond this)

I arranged the cupcakes on a cute tray.  And didn't even lick my fingers with the drippy frosting.

One elder chose cupcakes.  One chose pie. And we sent the leftovers HOME with them.

For whatever reason, I had eaten very slowly during the meal and while they enjoyed their dessert, I was just getting to my salad.  Ha! 

I had a dream last night that I found myself with a lot of chocolate in my mouth.  It did not feel or taste good.  In the dream I found a napkin and spit it out.  And that DID feel good!

In the future, if a dessert is not "gifted" to us for the Elders, I'll just fix fruit.  We love them and having them here.  Having a good time and being generous with them does not have to include desserts :0).

And I may just eat slowly in the future and save my salad for dessert again.  Nobody cares.  They are much more involved with their own meals than watching me.  I am learning and ready to not just get over SUGAR, but to get over MYSELF. 




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 8 - "Do It By Doing It"

Sugar foods come to me every day.  Not many people know that I'm an elementary school "lunch lady" every day during the school year.  It's an important part of our financial profile as it provides health insurance for us as we have been self-employed for nearly our entire marriage of 30 years.

But there's FOOD there every day: broken cookies that no one cares about you eating, zuchinni bread that's more like cake, yummy little fruit rolls.  Just so you know, I'm surrounded by these things every day of the week and they are foods that I cannot get out of my kitchen.

I've grown way too-accustomed to indulging there. The 30-Day detox is for ME as much as anyone who has joined me!

I am remembering a time I really got excited about something!!!! And choosing to remember a do-it-by-doing-it example from my son Cooper, now a missionary in Brazil:

My five children are now 20 -33 years old.  In remembering back on raising them, it's odd how so much is very fuzzy (thank goodness for photos to prove it all happened) and some is as clear as yesterday. 

One of the sharpie memories is the euphoria I felt when it was time to potty train.  Not for the training itself, of course, but for the freedom when they were trained.

I just got this bubbly, excited WOW!  No more diapers!  The ickiness!  The expense! The freedom!!!!!!  I am feeling the same about being sugar free!!!!!!

Child 1 was a challenge.  A very smart and "with-it" little girl, this was one of the few areas in life where it just took some patience and time.  Child 2 was much easier, an extremely independent son who was happy to no longer need me on this one.  Child 3, another little boy.  I dreaded the training.  Obstinate, and upset much of the time. He was frequently perplexed and devastated by simple events and expectations in life.  How would I swing this one? 

I waited until all the readiness signs were there and we talked about it a lot.  Then on Morning 1 we put on his big-boy pants to give him a feel of it. He was accepting, but nothing dramatic.  We did have one success.

I had planned on it being a short-term morning session and back to diapers until another session in the afternoon.

At the end of the 2 hours we had a date at the playground with another family and I told him we were done and he could have his diapers until later in the day.

To my great surprise, he wouldn't put them back on and insisted he could "do it!"

His melt-downs were so painful for all, that I agreed and off we went to the playground -- along with back-up supplies for cleaning up an accident, which I fully expected.

To my great delight and joy (and his too) that comprised his potty training.  There were no accidents that day.

He never did go back to day-time diapers. 

THAT WAS IT. 

Wow.  Sometimes I think I make things TOO HARD. 

Come on!!! Just do it by doing it.  Stop thinking it and start living it.

I've been sugar free for about 10 days now.

I'm DOING IT by DOING IT. And it is getting so much easier.

I'm realizing that it's the social element that's got me, but I've figured it out before (for short periods of time) and I'll know what to do.

How about you?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 7 - "Peace Be Still"

As I listened to the Tabernacle Choir sing in the morning session of conference yesterday, "Master The Tempest is Raging," my heart and mind were flooded with feelings about what we're all doing here together, and to the many, many times a desire for sugar has raged throughout the day and evening for me.   I confess.  The tears streamed down my face as I thought of how aptly that describes a sugar-binge ... it IS a storm!

A storm that will NOT go away.  Others may be unaffected by these foods, but I can't stop thinking -- or quietly going to them and eating on my own when these storms start.

Yes, a sugar binge is a storm of desires, and a storm of emotions as I intellectually  I know I'm "trapped" and even while experiencing  a storm of feeling sad/guilty/stupid/embarrassed/foolishm cannot stop!   All those silly negative emotions that are draining and exhausting.  But in truth, I always the candy/goody/whatever more than I want to stop the emotions.

In my reading, I have learned that this inability to stop is the chemical/brain component to how sugar really DOES affect us and our ability to stop.  I'll post that information later.

The important part today is making a list of 5 reasons "I want to be sugar-free"

Here are mine:

WHY I WANT TO BE SUGAR FREE:

1)  I want to be the master of myself.  When I am on a sugar-binge, I am not.  I want to be at PEACE with myself and my body!  I want this storm  to be at rest for good.

2)  I want the true Master to be a much bigger part of my life!  I know that He gives us weaknesses so that we will turn to Him.  (Ether 12:27)  I want to embrace that!

3)  I want to be able to feel honest with myself and the articles I write for the dear readers at Meridian.

4)  My body needs me to be taking good care of it!  No one can do this for me! My skin is looking OLD.  I am doing many things for it, but fear that the years of sugar are taking their toll.  I need to be doing what I can for my body now that I am nearly 60.  I know that it feeds cancer and other illnesses. I want to be honorable about how I treat it, it's been SUCH a good servant for so many years.  It deserves the best now that I'm looking at the last third of my life.

5)  I would realllllllly like to lose some weight and be more comfortable in my clothes.  Though I am in a "healthy weight" by the charts, I know that it is heavy for me, and that my clothes are very snug.

As I finish the entry this morning, though, I am claiming the words "PEACE BE STILL" and picture the choir singing, when I am tempted with food items today, or if I find myself reaching for them.

If the Savior can control the elements, he can surely help me control this thing that has become a
FALSE element in my life.

Here's the link again:
http://www.lds.org/general-conference/music/2013/10?lang=eng&clang=eng&session=4&song=3&media=audio#listen=audio

And have a beautiful, happy, sugar free day!



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 6 - Welcome Welcome Sabbath Morning

Day 6 - It's Sunday morning.  As usual, Bob and I drove over to Hidden Pond to walk the loop, then sit down and read through the Missionary Prep lesson we teach on Thursday nights.  It's so refreshing to be there.  The leaves are changing.  A beautiful morning, with the birds singing and the peaceful quiet.  How I do love Sunday mornings.  How MUCH I need the break.   We have honored the Sabbath for our entire lives, and it feels good to me.
In EXACTLY the same way, I know my body deserves a much needed break from too much sugar: too many excuses, too many years.  It feels GOOD to take this break, and I'm thinking of it as a "period of time" that will extend to "all my days."  The Lord expects me to treat his day with respect.  He expects me to treat the body He gave me with respect.  And it feels good to me.

It's a lot of work for a body to process refined sugars.  It creates havoc.  No time for a scientific explanation here.  But there is time to think about this message from a dear new beat-sugar-cravings friend:

I have been paying attention to what I eat for the past year and I have found that it is less a matter of “trigger foods” than “trigger states,” or the state that my body is in at the time.
 
The foods that I eat when I overeat are really the symptoms, not the problem. Yes, they are my favorite cheating foods, but they don’t cause me to overeat. I have found that I overeat when I am tired because I have run myself for too long without enough down time. I haven’t listened to my body (and my spirit) when they are telling me that what I am doing to myself is abusive. Working someone into exhaustion is abusive.

When I overeat, it is usually because I am somewhere that I have to keep going and I eat to get just an hour or two more of work out of an exhausted body.

When I had minor surgery nearly a year ago, I did as little work as possible, said “no” to nearly everything, rested a lot, and had no trouble eating in a healthy manner. I lost weight and felt great.

Then work started again in earnest and I went downhill.

So, I tell people that my resolution is to do less!
Back to Carolyn here:  Isn't that just great?????  Welcome, Welcome -- living without sugar is  a beautiful "Sabbath" for our bodies.  The cravings WILL end, and have greatly lessened for me this week!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5 - 6 Months From Now:  Sugar Free At April General Conference!

(As a little FYI for my own life. You may be wondering why I don't just get rid of the foods that cause problems for me.  While I can't blame anyone,  it's an exercise in real life.  My 92-year old Mom lives with us.  Her Dollar Store goodies are precious to her.  She's never out of control, like me when I get rolling.  She is extremely intelligent and alert and "with it," although her body does not allow her to do anything -- or go anywhere -- other than take care of her personal needs.    When her life is so limited, her treats are important.  I do the shopping ... and the stashing.   She's adorable and people bring her lots of goodies, which she loves and can enjoy in tiny amounts.  Thus they are here.)

October General Conference begins today!  It's always such a special time and weekend to look forward to.  It always goes too fast.  (Kind of like a bag of M&Ms.)

With every Conference, it's just a natural thing for me to look back on the past 6 months, and imagine where my life and family be 6 months from now. 

It's a very rich time for me right now.  With having "gone public" a-la Betty Ford, I feel this bubbling flow of a new reality.  One day at a time, of course.  I've been here before -- sugar free for a short time.  But I have a feeling that 6 months from now, come April conference, I will be able to say, "I've been sugar free for 6 months.  I wasn't a slave to my frosted sugar cookies over Christmas -- along with a whole lot of other things. I'm free of it and I love how I feel!"

What I can't figure out, and don't know, is how "sugar-free" I want to be, or is really practical to be.
Can I be 100%?  Do I want to be 100?  It sounds pathetic.

I don't want to offend people by not tasting their food gifts.  I don't want my family and friends to think, "She's no fun anymore."

I think I must be really out of touch with all my days as a Weight Watcher leader.  I know I was trained with answers that I practiced pretty well. 

But in my heart, I know I had a long ways to go.  And as I watched all my ladies buy stacks and stacks of 2-point cookie bars ... I wondered about them too.  And the other leaders when we were at meetings or socializing.

FYI -- I could eat a whole box of 2-point bars in a very short period of time.  And did more than once while driving home from leading a WW meeting.  And wished there was another box to eat.

That's one of my fears: "What will other people think?"

And there it is on paper, it's no different that what we told our high-schoolers when they went to parties they knew they knew they would need to leave early when the alcohol and drugs came out.  They worried about what their friends would think.

"Who cares what they think!!!!  It's not them that matters, it's YOUR LIFE!" we told them.

Even so, I don't want people -- especially my family to think I'm not any fun, or have become ultra-disciplined and am judging others.

Yes. That's a fear.  And an excuse.

Today in conference I'm going to be looking for answers on how to manage that with my Heavenly Father's help.

I know where they'll tell me to turn.  To the Savior. 

And I know where I want to be 6 months from now "Sugar Free for 6 Months" come  April General Conference!  I'm excited about how I'll feel and an exciting track record!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4 - Oh Say Can You "C"

Yesterday was the "where" do you indulge assignment to list the places you'd most like to eliminate the negative nibbling (or more than nibbling, HELLO?!).

For me it was (and at this point I am determined to make it a WAS rather than an IS) at the kitchen counter, which begins with the letter C.

Today I'm asking you to make a list of  the sugar foods that we get going on and historically cannot stop.

Wow ... For me it's

cookies and cookie dough,
chocolate in its many categories (class doesn't count.  I love cheap chocolate as well as costly)
candy
cake
cupcakes
cream anything, i.e. buttercream, ice cream, etc.
crackers

Now it feels like Sesame Street:  "What sugar foods does Carolyn compulsively eat that begin with the letter C?"

Will you do the same in your notebook?  Just make a list of the foods that have caught you, captured you and carried  you down into their dark little den.

The truth is, most of us have a relative in the not too distant family lineage that has compulsive tendencies to alcohol, or other addictions.  I have always known that if I were in a circle where alcohol was acceptable, I would have the same problem I do with the C list above.  Whether it's truly genetics or just the way things are, I express gratitude that my compulsions are not where they cause serious family relationship problems or/and other serious difficulties.

Now that it's all on paper, it's time to replace to get the bad Cs OFF the counter, out of sight and out of the house so that I CANNOT C them and replace them with the calorie and health friendly Cs ...

Hey there, you bad-guy foods that begin with the letter C, I'll be checking you twice before consuming you from now on!  And you pretty, colorful healthy ones, I'm listening for your song!

Carrots (baby carrots, steamed carrots, all are yummy!)
Celery (with salsa anyone?)
Cucumbers  ... you're calling my today!  What a relief!
I love Cabbage too both raw and cooked.

OK, I'm on a roll and feeling better.

Today, make a list of where you get CAUGHT, and see what it tells you

My old C list doesn't bring congratulations or comfort anymore, just compassion and commitment to let it  be a closed chapter and to welcome the new Cs

Love, Carolyn

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3 - "Bloom Where You Are Planted -- No More Weeds!"

Going public on a blog with my own sugar struggles is both liberating and overwhelming.   As I wrote the message for Day 3, and the idea of writing down where you literally are when you indulge, I have had flashbacks allllllll day. 

When there are indulgings there have been countless times when I'm with other people, but the real issues -- the ones where I can't stop and the ones I want to address -- are in my own kitchen.

Standing up. 

Usually alone.

At the counter, or at the sink, or sometimes in front of the fridge (or the extra fridge we have in the garage.)

With a spoon .... in the evening after dinner.

I'm thinking and tell myself it's "just a taste" .... but how many times for how many years has it been far more than that.  These memories go back to my early teen-age years.

If  I was able to lick (no pun intended) even this one really destructive habit, how different things would be.

No more furtive tastes from the cartons or bowl with a spoon.  Or a series of repeated little bowls -- prtetnding they are small amounts that are eaten in a hurry to finish so no one will know. 

Like a child who's going to get caught in the cookie jar. 

I've heard and believe that you can't delete a negative behavior without adding something new!
For October and the 30-Day detox, when the cravings/indulgings to eat while standing at the counter or in front of the sink or fridge come, I will say:

"You bloom where you are planted!  Choose weeds or flowers!!!"

 "You can bloom in negative feelings about yourself and way too many calories when you are planted in front of the counter or sink.  Hello, weeds.

 Or

"You can bloom in health and positive feelings about yourself when you are planted at the table, sitting on a chair, with food in front of you like a grown-up, with a real dish, fork, spoon, facing the world like a grown-up."

Have you ever noticed that weeds grow a lot faster and bigger than flowers? 
And that the only thing that grows without work is ... WEEDS????!!!!!

I'm ready for a gorgeous autumn bouquet.  How about you?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2 -- What is a "Frenemy" ????

What is a friend?  Someone who's THERE for you, to support you and make you feel better about life and yourself. Who doesn't want great friends, and lots of them???

It doesn't make any kind of logical sense on an adult level, that eating something sweet and immediately should be considered a "friend" if it's not really healthy or good for you.  But time and again, I know that I have turned to sugar when I needed a buddy.  Something to keep me company to make the time pass or to make something disagreeable go away, if but for a short time ...

"Friends" of sugar have filled my life!  Candy is my worst -- frosting from a bowl or a jar, cookie dough, cheap stuff.  I don't need the expensive things and have been known to mix up a little frosting (or cookie dough) if there wasn't any around ... just to eat from the spoon.  Truth.

An enemy, well that's easy to define.  Somebody or something that's working against you.

So, a frenemy is :
Noun - A person who is ostensibly friendly or collegial with someone but who is actually antagonistic or competitive.

Doesn't "frenemy" define sugar in a most amazing way?
We're reading through the Book of Mormon out loud in the evenings ... Last night as we read II Nephi Chapter 4.  The whole chapter is awesome, but especially Verses 27-32 , where he is so emotional about his shortcomings.  I just felt like crying. I know he was.  How often have I been there in regards to getting caught in the sugar cycle where I just can't get enough of it.

"Why should I yield to sin because of my flesh?  Why should I give in to my temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul?"

"Awake, my soul! no longer droop ..."

I love that.  And isn't that how sugar makes me feel ... DROOPY.  Droopy as in sleepy, droopy as in heavy, droopy as in uncomfortable in my clothes, droopy as in embarrassed, droopy as in... well you fill in the blanks.

FRENEMY.  What do you think???

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1 -- There Is Work To Be Done!

My head and heart are full to bursting ... I have more ideas and thoughts that I want to express than the candy in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

Today launches the 30 Day Sugar Detox Trial with My Miracle Tea and precious Meridian friends. How well I remember the first weeks on the tea, (January 2008) when I drank it in the mid-afternoon, and the startling realization that I had no afternoon need for nibbling, tasting, standing at the counter, eating anything that came along.  How ready I was for a healthy dinner. 

How did I ever let that go? Because I wanted to EAT the darned stuff more than I wanted to be FREE of it.  Like it was some best friend.  I've let that little ritual go and Starting TODAY, I WILL drink my tea between 2 and 3 PM.  Either as an event with Mom (92 and lives with us -- who loves it in pretty cups and with time for a visit) or a quick "shot" of just 1/4 cup of concentrate.

Today also marks my commitment to myself and all participating that I will track my eating at www.SparkPeople.com.  That place is overwhelming, but once you commit to spending an hour, choosing your plan, deciding to ignore the ads and the socializing (at least for me) I LOVE IT.
That online tracker, meal plans, recipes, ARE THE BEST.  My dear friend Katie Bristow in London lost 50 pounds ... with SparkPeople.com and is keeping it off. 

Bob and I spent yesterday with an LDS business friend, and now a wonderful personal friend as well from St. George Utah.  Her name is Carolyn Cooper ... and when we were making plans for dinner she said, "Oh, by the way -- "I eat pretty much plant based."  No problem.

Then when we got together, she added, "And I'm sugar-free ... since December of last year."  She told me her story, which I'll tell later, but in short her MIGRAINES are gone, and her joints no longer crack and pop in the morning.

But it was how she said, "Since December of last year ..."  And I thought of my friend that I was with a month ago, who when the M&Ms went around and the other friends I was with declined, she said, "Trying to quit?"

I don't know.  I don't want to get all weird and over dramatic.  But it's sounding like a RECOVERY program.  Don't alcoholics say something like that "I've been clean since ...." 

And I have to say, I would LOVE-LOVE-LOVE to be able to say, "I've been sugar free for fill-in-the-blank number months/years."  At different times I have been "ice-cream" free, or "sugar free from Monday-Saturday with treats only on Sunday."

Now I want to say like Carolyn Cooper did last night "Since OCTOBER 1, 2013!!!!" in the coming months and years.
 I have to admit that.  I have to say that.  I've done much better over the past week, gearing up for October 1, and the cravings are abated.  But I KNOW how temporary that can be.

YES. A year from now to CELEBRATE October 1 with "I've been sugar free for a whole year!

Am I going cold turkey?  YES as far as candy, (my worst) cake cookie, chocolate.
Am I going to keep eating bread?  SOME, but being careful.

That's enough for now.  www.SparkPeople.com, drinking the tea in the afternoon, and acknowledging that sugar has often controlled me. 

I hope everybody's read the article: 
10 Things You Don't Know About Sugar