I’ve had a relationship with sugar virtually my entire life.
Many of my fondest childhood memories involve sugar, but “innocent” memory-making has turned into over half a century of ingrained habits, extra pounds, and increased health risk.
How do I just up and quit eating sugar without letting go of those “sweet” ties to little girlhood?
- Birthday cakes: the very first one (and many, many since) — chocolate with sugary-sweet chocolate icing
- Drinking “coffee” with grandparents — milk with a little coffee . . . and a lot of refined sugar
- Butterscotch milkshakes at Dairy Queen with Granddaddy; Grandmother’s cakes; Brach’s wrapped candies
- Cherry Coke with Uncle Joe
- Candy cigarettes and Chick-O-Stix . . . Sugar Daddies and Slow Pokes . . . Peanut Butter Logs and Pixie Sticks — all nicely arranged down low in the grocery store checkout lane where all good little girls are tempted
- Cut-out sugar cookies: painted with Grandma . . . frosted with Mom and with my own daughters
- Hershey’s miniatures — back in the day when the shiny foil wrapper was separate from the outer paper. Krackel, Mr. Goodbar, milk chocolate, dark chocolate — in that order — until there were no more left in the candy dish.
- Nestle’s Quick chocolate milk
- Hershey’s Kisses: This little girl quickly learned how to carefully unwrap the silver foil and “whish” out that cute little white paper strip with blue letters.
- Grandma’s divinity: carefully layered in white shirt boxes stacked high . . . every last bit gone before the end of the holiday. The same for dozens of “oh, how I’d love one today!” pecan rolls.
- Ribbon candy
- Fizzy, bubble-popping Coca Cola poured over ice any time I wanted it (and I wanted it a lot) at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Ice . . . first wrapped in a dish towel then crushed with a hammer outside on the carport. The hammer in the little broom closet near the back door. The ice, frozen to the cloth, slivered into glass-like shards.
- Aunt Barbara’s chocolate chip cookies in the huge Tupperware container
- Lemon-filled donuts
- Cotton candy
- Cracker Jacks
- Red Velvet cake
- Candy corn and little orange pumpkins
- Lucky Charms, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Alphabits, Post Super Sugar Crisp
- Butterscotch candy
- Fig Newtons
- Silver dollar pancakes . . . drowning in syrup
- Maple nut goodies at the Sears candy counter
- Jelly beans: green and white
- Licking the beater: Always
- Homemade ice cream: taking turns turning the crank on the old wooden freezer
- Grandma’s Italian Cream cake
- Homemade chocolate sauce: warm over ice cream — or a cold scoop (or three) when leftover in the ‘frig
- Chocolate chip cookie dough: homemade or store bought
- Brownies: Always from scratch
- Taffy at the ballpark . . . and grape snow cones
- Cinnamon toast
- Marshmallows covered with melted chocolate chips, Eagle Brand milk,and pecans. Sister and Mom call it Rocky Road. I call it Heavenly Hash. Where did I get Heavenly Hash?
- Buttermilk Pound Cake: The perfect recipe that never fails — ever . . . until the last time I baked it!
- Aunt Mary’s Cherry-o-Cream Cheese Pie
- Banana pudding . . . from scratch. Always from scratch.
- Cheesecake: plain, turtle, chocolate, lemon . . .
- Icee: Coca Cola, of course
- Ice cream sandwiches
- Hot fudge sundaes
- Candy: Heath, Skor, Butterfinger, Payday, M&Ms (plain, peanut, mint) . . . Snickers, Milky Way, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Tootsie Rolls
- Candied pecans
- Pecan pie, chocolate meringue pie, Rocky Road pie, Ritz Cracker pie, apple, pumpkin, key lime …
- Pineapple Upside Down cake
- Angel food cake with lots of Cool Whip
- Cream cheese pastries
- Chocolate chips by the handful
- Bluebell ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, Tin Roof
- Lime sherbet
- Karo syrup and Eagle Brand milk: straight up
- Chocolate-covered graham crackers
- Toffee Trifle
- York peppermint patties
- Crazy Cake
- Peanut and pecan brittles
- Peanut patties
- Homemade Texas Millionaires
- Chick-fil-A holiday-time peppermint shake
- Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mint
- Starbucks white chocolate mocha: iced or hot
- Ghirardelli squares: Dark & Caramel, Dark & Sea Salt Caramel, Intense Dark . . .
- Lindt Lindor truffles: extra dark
- Brazilian flan
Again this year . . . Vintage tins filled with holiday sweets were stacked high. I enjoyed discovering what the rest of the family brought to the celebration. Generations of sweet treats.
I admit: I’m addicted to sugar—have been for decades—and the thought of never again eating certain foods makes me want to sit right down and cry.
But the thought of staying on a path that could shorten my life and my memory-making time with family . . . well, that’s unacceptable. Something has to change.
I have to change.
Oh, I’ve tried the “will power” method many times, and I simply don’t have any. I’ve removed the enemy from the house more than once . . . and invited it back in.
But there’s one thing I’ve never tried: I’ve never grieved the loss.
If you think that’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, then congratulations—because you’re not addicted to sugar. Some of you know exactly where I’m coming from, don’t you?
I’ll admit something else: I shed a few tears as I took this “sweet” trip down memory lane.
Some were for loved ones now gone; others came while mentally beating myself up for letting anything so detrimental become so all-consuming. But I took the trip so I could face my fears and failures. So I could say goodbye to old friends. Perhaps some of them will be able to come back on occasion for a very limited period of time; perhaps not.
For now, I hope I’ve made my peace with a lifetime of overindulging. I’m going to say “thanks for the memories”—and move on. I’ve done that in many other areas of my life, so surely I can do it once more—before my health is affected. Before it’s too late.
Anybody care to join me?
Grieving is hard work, and sometimes you just need to know you’re not alone. Trust me. You’re not alone!
In just a few hours, 2016 will be no more. A new year lies ahead with all of its unknowns and opportunities yet to be discovered. Perhaps it’s exciting . . . or unnerving—or both. Some years start out like that. Whatever challenges you’re facing as you read this, I hope you’ll be encouraged. Remember that what you see here in Blogland is often “prettied up”and not representative of reality. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up. Trust me. You do!
Perhaps the first few days of 2017 would be well spent grieving past poor choices—and putting them behind you. It’s time to stop beating yourself up. It’s time to move forward and make better choices. If you need extra help, don’t be afraid to get it. And if you need more encouragement, keep stopping by. The goal here is always to inspire, encourage, and challenge, and I’ll do my best to be here for you in the year ahead.
In the meantime, I wish each of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. May the days ahead be “sweet”. 😉