I don't mind the birthday cakes or the Christmas cookies. I don't mind not eating cotton candy at the amusement park.
What I mind is trying to find healthier ways to cook and bake things, and hitting dead end after dead end.
I've spent the last near four years trying to rid my life of extra sweeteners, and not because I think I'm better than anyone or even because I'm on some crazy health kick. I did it because, frankly, sugar terrifies me. Petrifies. For the first time in probably my whole life, I feel in control of my weight and my body, and it began when I gave the sugar up. So, of course sugar holds some very negative connotations for me. I'm fearful of it as a disease that used to control me, a road block that derailed my sense of self more times than I care to count.
How many of us think this way? "I ate that cookie, so I already failed. I may as well eat more."
This week, I found myself wondering if I am going to spend my whole life fearful of even the most natural of sweeteners. Further, I questioned why, in my brain, it's okay to eat some of the artificial sweeteners I know I'm guilty of eating. They are probably more dangerous than organic cane sugar or even the refined stuff; they are full of chemicals that we don't even know the long-term effect of. How could someone such as myself, who enjoys healthy veggies grown without pesticides, healthy meat sold without antibiotics, be SO hypocritical?
We come back to fear. It boils down simply to a fear that I'll gain back the weight I've worked very hard to get off. The weight I've kept off. Do I not believe in myself? Do I not trust myself enough to be in control? Have I actually learned nothing in four years of diet and exercise?
I know the answer to that. I have nothing to fear. I've learned how to control my portions. I've learned how much better I feel when I run than when I eat a carton of ice cream. I've learned which foods to pick at the supermarket, which foods to pass. I've learned all this because I wanted to, I wanted to take care of myself. That want hasn't gone away, it's gotten stronger.
With this realization, I'm making the choice to dump the artificial sweeteners in favor of more natural sweeteners that I have been terrified of. I have to face that fear, I have to stand up for myself and the body I have worked so hard to attain. A tablespoon of honey in my granola bar recipe is not going to negate the five miles I ran. Calories in, calories out. That is what matters most.
Does this mean that you are going to find cartons of Chips Ahoy in my cupboard? Definitely not. I still plan on sticking to my organic, unprocessed ways. I feel better knowing I put good things in my body every day. And truthfully, I think once I get over the initial scariness of natural sweeteners, I'll feel better with the satisfaction of going without the chemicals I was making excuses for.
"A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of
honey left inside." ~ Winnie the Pooh