When I woke up this morning my first thought was that the No-Frills Week starts today! But we haven’t had our regular out to dinner in two weeks! I wanna go out…(whine). And I didn’t go grocery shopping. And fuck, did I really say only one cuppa coffee a day? What was I thinking? Oh, this morning will be my only cup, better make it last. And no sweets for a week? It sounded so short, now a week seems enormously long.
Happily, I checked the calendar, counted back, and the last seven days in March starts tomorrow.
Phew! I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!
(Actually 1999 was one of my ascetic years. 2002 was my splurgiest year.)
So, I’ve created quite an uproar with the “no homemade treat” concept. I wasn’t trying to be sensational or overly hard-core, just trying to challenge myself “where it hurts” so to speak.
I cook a lot. I mean, a lot. Cooking for me is not just a heroic effort to get good, wholesome food on the table. Food is my vice. And I know you’re all thinking, ‘geez, come on…’ but I don’t think vice is overstating it. I think about food all the time. It’s my incentive system, my reward for a good deed, my pick-me-up after a hard day, my preferred indulgence on a daily basis. I use treats for every possible outcome. To relax, to energize, to soothe, to cheer. Predictably, sugar is the primary form.
Because I’m thrifty, and my standards are high, I make treats at home. Scones, muffins, cookies, cake, pie, brownies… That’s all well and good. But I mean, all the time. We usually have some homemade treat on hand, and often two. I might have five cookies to lift my afternoon slump (in addition to my afternoon coffee), and then pie to relax after the kiddos are asleep. It’s a lot of sugar, but what bothers me more than the health effects (they are usually half whole wheat, and less sugar than called for) is the addiction of it. Living treat to treat might be normal in our culture, but that doesn’t make it okay.
That said, it’s not like I’m swearing off sugary treats for ever after. Just one week. To give my body a break. Seems reasonable enough to me.
One thing that seems sad to me about humans is that we have to loathe one another’s achievements. I do this all the time. I don’t want to see someone else succeed where I have struggled. If a friend is trying to do something I wasn’t able to do, or having an easy go at something I found hard, my first (internal) response is to ridicule them. Neither do I want to see someone do something I worry I ought to do. This is partly an “offense is your first defense” method, because we fear they are judging us. And, even more sadly, often it’s true. We all judge each other like crazy! I used to be among the worst, during those ascetic treehouse days, and I still struggle with it all the time. But I made a friend some years back who was genuinely proud of her friend’s achievements and she inspired me. What a beautiful thing to try for.
Anyone reading this blog is doubtlessly doing whatever they can. Only each one of us can know our own strengths and weaknesses and where we need to put our energies. Treats are my Achiles’ Heel. So it seems a logical place for me to concentrate whatever energy I have for self-limitation and discovery.
And tomorrow my friends, let the games begin!