I’ve always viewed any diet as a couple of months during which I am told that I can not have specific foods. Then, once the diet is over, I go back to eating those foods.

Of course, this involves gaining back the weight lost also.

Then, one time, when I first joined Overeaters Anonymous, my perspective shifted. Instead of looking at it as a couple of months being deprived of something wonderful I started to see it as one day at a time that I was choosing to abstain.

That felt good.

I lost that somewhere along the line.

It feels like I’m getting that back. In part because I’m refocusing myself to think in terms of “just for today” again, but also because I’m not looking at avoiding those foods as a hardship. Suddenly, it is looking to me like something that harms me. It looks this way because it does harm me.

It harms my body by making me fat.

It harms my mind by making me anxious.

It harms my soul by making me feel trapped.

But that first abstinence was not perfect. I remember, after a little while, starting to look for ways around the prohibition of sugar that I had self imposed. It was a wise choice to give up sugar. But then I started to clarify that I avoided “refined” sugar. It started out as a way to explain to thick headed people why I was able to eat apples, bananas, and grapes. But, it opened a loophole for me to exploit. Suddenly anything that claimed to be “unrefined” sugar could sneak through.

I ditched calorie free artificial sweeteners for these “unrefined” sweeteners that were sugar derived with the self-aggrandized, holier than thou, moral superiority that can only come with knowing you are pulling a fast one and getting away with it.

Somehow I missed that I was pulling a fast one on myself.

No sugar means no cookies, no cakes, no candy. The entry of all these “unrefined” sugars meant I could eat cookies, cakes, candy, and other sweets again. Lucky me, right?

Last year when my son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy I was thrown. I looked at him, aged 3, and thought, I can’t deny this child cookies, cakes, candy just because of his allergy. In reality though, I suspect my real fear was that I would suddenly be deprived. I couldn’t go back to all the closet eating I had ditched. For me to have free access to my drug of choice I needed to make them acceptable for my son too.

(I can’t even tell you the number of times I baked things “for the kids” that in reality I knew they would never eat, but once made I could then consume.)

Making things gluten free became just one more challenge to getting to eat the foods I wanted. I accepted this challenge with gusto.

I have 23 jars of gluten free flours and flour mixes. Really.

Then I began this diet. My head cleared and I started to realize that it’s not just that “refined” sugar that causes me trouble. “Unrefined” sugar messes me up too. More to the point, it’s all processed or refined carbohydrates. Now my perspective on those foods have changed.

They poison me. Some of them poison my son too.

I was driving to the mall yesterday to buy my husband a birthday present. I drove past a Panera. I walked into the mall near the food court and saw an Aunt Annies Pretzels, Cinnabon, ice-cream shops that don’t offer sugar free ice-creams, pizza places… I could go on and on. Everywhere I looked was sugar, flour, and wheat. Every where I looked was poison.

That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s the thought I had. Sugar flour and wheat poison my body, mind, and soul.

It’s harder to long for a poison.

I am grateful to see it this way now.

I pray I continue to see it this way.

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