I have a confession to make. I am not perfect.
While this may (not) surprise any of you, I held myself to this unreasonable standard of living for the first 25 years of my life. Of course, I am now fully aware of my own lack of perfection, and because of that awareness, my life is so much richer. Giving yourself the grace card is one of the biggest gifts you can give to yourself.
After 16 days without refined sugar, I had a few bites of an exquisite dessert Thursday night. It hit me at a weak point. I hadn’t eaten since lunch, and after work I went to the NY Fashion show where there was no food, only vodka and rum, and then met some friends afterwards at a gorgeous NY restaurant. Famished, I arrived and was seated just as their dessert was brought. I tried to explain to the waiter, ‘no, I don’t want any….’ and before I could finish a huge plate of this almond encrusted amaretto cream with flaky pastry dough masterpiece was sitting in front of me, beckoning me. This needed more than willpower. Lesson 1: if it’s been 10 hours since I’ve eaten and dessert is offered, I’m going to eat it. I have resolve, but not Herculean kind of strength.
I started with the toasted almonds, saying that I would just have those– but inevitably, they were stuck to the vanilla-amaretto ganache pudding-frosting, so little flecks of it hit my tongue with each crunch of almond. That was all it took.
I enjoyed- savored, really- each bite. This was my choice. Afterwards, robotic feelings of guilt started to creep up, those voices that I have dealt with for years that have told me that somehow, I am bad or wrong for eating a certain something. And just like that, I quieted them. That is my biggest victory. I am learning how to manage myself. I let go of any guilt and reminded myself that I’ve done pretty damn good. 16 days without any refined sugar is sure a lot longer than what I’ve ever done before.
And, I don’t plan to quit. I plan to not only finish my 30 days, but to continue with the more balanced lifestyle that I have gained, which I see as my biggest area of growth. I have always been ‘all or nothing’ kind of person. If I said I was going to do something and I made a choice that I saw as a failure, I was done. I couldn’t seem to get back on the horse and ride again. I am finally getting to the place where I’ve always wanted to be, a place of stronger awareness that is filled with love, not self-condemnation. That is an amazing heart space to occupy.
It’s been 9 days since I’ve written- and things have continued to go well. 19 days in, and I can feel a noticeable difference in my body and my energy levels. I believe that I’m sleeping better. I see a difference in my digestion. I like having confidence in the knowledge that I actually do have some will power that exists inside of me. And most importantly, I’ve continued doing the things that I love most: nourishing my soul through my relationships, exercise including running, weights, spinning and yoga, doing new things in the city like going ice skating in Central Park and to the New York Public Library to read, just to experience them. Those things fill my soul, and when I feel full, I am happiest and feel more balanced in all areas of my life.
That is my hope for you this week: that you’ll go to a new place you’ve been wanting to go, spend time with a good friend, participate in things that nourish your body and mind, and mostly, that you’ll give yourself that card of grace.