Since it’s the last day of August, and fall is fast approaching, I’ve been reevaluating a lot of my goals. What better time to start fresh than what’s the beginning of the school year for many? And I guess I like starting fresh a lot. Anyway, along with new goals usually comes a little introspection, so here’s what I was thinking about this week. Be back soon with some new goals for fall and healthy autumn things I’m excited about!
It’s funny, I’ve never been a dramatic person. Growing up, I had plenty of friends, but I always kind of just naturally stayed out of trouble and just… out of the way. Arguments with friends (rather small ones, by the way) were resolved quickly and anticlimactically, breakups were painless enough and always seemed to be on friendly terms, and my parents had it relatively easy seeing how I never went through that whole ‘teen angst’ phase. I was never the friend with the story, and besides when I was on stage singing, I wasn’t the center of attention, and I was just fine with that. It wasn’t that I never had any excitement, but it was just usually the good kind, and the letdowns were small or kept to myself. The decisions I made — good or bad (but mostly good, because I was, as I like to say, annoyingly well-behaved) — didn’t impact too many people, left me with no sworn enemies, and never made me wonder if my friends would have my back. I even lived in a sorority house with 71 other women, escaping with minimal drama. The biggest issue I had was one sister sending out a house email about the loofah left in the shower (really?) that just happened to be mine, which I don’t think she expected because when I fessed up immediately (uh, it was an accident?) she stopped her tirade on the spot. No, really. A house full of Greek estrogen, and the worst problem I had was that someone made fun of my sponge. Clearly, I wasn’t vying for the drama queen title.
But recently, in the last year or so, I’ve gotten a little more…dramatic. And I don’t mean that I’m just emoting more (ask my sister — I’ve been doing that my entire life). I mean that I feel I’ve been stirring things up and making decisions that I knew would lead to drama because I was craving something. Excitement? Attention? To break free from the nice girl stigma once and for all? I’m not sure whether I was trying to make up for lost time by choosing the paths that would potentially harm me or those around me (don’t worry, I didn’t do anything that bad), but it definitely affected how I was thinking and acting. Romances coming to a close seemed to cut a little deeper, I started noticing more problems in my friendships, and my parents, unfortunately, suffered some of the backlash of me trying to navigate life as an unwilling participant in adulthood. (Sorry, Mom and Dad! Thought you got lucky on that one, huh?)
I didn’t know what was going on. Until… suddenly, as drama-averse as I’ve been my whole life, I got it. I understood why some folks thrive on being in the thick of it and always having someone or something you feel you’re up against. It’s almost as if it’s a high you’re chasing, always looking for the next story or the next little spark to get you through to the next day. It’s a fear of being bored, or maybe, of being boring. Is that was I was rebelling against or running from?
But the thing is, I didn’t have, nor do I want to have, the resources to keep going after it, to keep hunting down that high. I realized that staying up there for so long only leads to a near-fatal crash, so recently, I chose to face the drama, let myself down right then and there, and just hope for a softer landing that might break an arm, but still leave me standing. (So… maybe I need to work on my metaphors.) Anyway, it sucked. For a few days there, the prospect of letting things go and letting myself just be, well, myself — boring Saturday nights on the couch and all — while working on me, was kind of daunting. The thought of facing myself and my goals and the work I need to do to become the person I want to be is more than slightly overwhelming. But I keep reminding myself that I don’t really just want to be the girl with the story — or at least not the kind of stories I was telling. I want to be interesting because of me, plain and simple. I’m over being Jersey Shore, and I’m ready to be OK with being a PBS documentary. At least then I’d be educational, and not in a cautionary tale sort of way.
Because like I said, I’ve never had a penchant for drama.
I have, however, always have a thing for sugar. Which, funny enough, is not entirely unrelated to drama. (You know this is a health blog, did you not expect me to tie it in somehow?) If you think about it, the two have a lot in common. Both are addictive but definitely not necessary. Both boost you up, get you buzzing — at least temporarily — and crash you down. HARD. Both make you lose yourself a bit in the moment, and after, you’re left wondering what just happened, and why you went that far. Both affect your moods and can even make you act a bit irrationally. Both trigger intense cravings for more of the same. Both, until you quit, always make you feel like you need more to keep you going. And after both, you never really like yourself as much when all is said and done.
So what am I doing now? What am I getting at by comparing sugar and drama? What am I changing now that I’ve opined at length about how both have had a negative impact on my life? Besides the fact that both can have detrimental effects on your physical and mental wellbeing, both are hard to just give up. I would love to say I’m planning to make a clean break and cut myself off completely from both, and I challenge you all to join me.
But… I also know that I’m human and that, if you ask, I can give you countless examples of how I respond when I make too many drastic changes at once. I think since I’ve had a whole lot less drama in my life, that one will be easier to cut. I don’t really have too many positive associations tied to it, and I’m pretty sure I was over it before it even began. But the sugar? It’s much more of an addiction, with many more positive feelings attached to it, and that one will be a fight. One worth the battle, absolutely, but a fight nonetheless. Ultimately, though? I can see myself doing without both, and I plan on working hard at getting rid of both temptations. And maybe I’ll do a little ‘life detox’ of sorts. I don’t know yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Fresh start for fall, anyone?
Just a quick check-in to tell you how excited I am at the response I got for the 21-day sugar challenge! Lots of people wanting to be a part of it, and a few more who are on the fence, but I bet with our success we can persuade them, right?
I survived Day 1, but not without a little struggle! I’ll give a more detailed recap post on Friday, but I want to introduce you to the other folks who want to join me in slaying my sweet tooth:
Domachie (and her BF!)
Leah (who created the awesome graphic you guys can snag for your blogs if you have ’em, to let everyone know you’re doing the challenge!)
Did I miss anyone? Any additional brave souls who want to hop on board and nix the added sugar? If so, let me know! I’m excited about this!
So, I’ve told you all before that sugar and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship. I love it, but it makes me want it more and more, all while making me hate the way I feel. On Leah’s plan, I was able to kick the sugar habit for the most part, but sometime the cravings are pretty bad, and sometimes I still do give in. Mind you, it’s not as bad as before, but sometimes… it’s not pretty.
So in an effort to kick my sugar cravings to the curb fo’ realz, I’m going to challenge myself to give up added sugar for….
21 whole days.
They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so here goes! I figured the day after Halloween was the perfect time to do this since the sugar temptations aren’t EVERYWHERE I TURN, but also because it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy some of my faves come Thanksgiving Day (which is one day, not 5, remember), like sweet potatoes covered in butter and brown sugar (mmm).
I know I’ve done the whole ‘week without’ thing many times (like here, here, and OMG here), but I guess now I’m trying THREE weeks without! I’ll be giving you guys updates along the way, and I’d love it if other people wanted to join me! The goal here is to feel better and maybe drop a few lbs, but this is not a weight loss challenge. I’m trying to save my sanity and my smile from too much satanic sweetener. I just want to extract this sweet tooth I’ve had for so long!
So here are the official details:
1) 21 days exactly. November 1st to the 21st (or all the way to Thanksgiving if you’d like).
2) No ADDED sugars. So if something was sweetened by something other than nature, I won’t eat it. Fruit is fine (but not to excess!), and sugar in plain dairy is A-OK too. I don’t really eat artificial sweeteners other than the occasional diet pop (YEP, POP. I’m from Michigan), but for the sake of the challenge, I think we’ll cut that out too. I’m sure it isn’t helping any more than the real thang. (Disclaimer: I may chew a piece of SF gum here or there, but everything else is out.)
3) Weekly reports (if not more often) of how I’m feeling, how I’ve been fighting the cravings, and if they’re finally dying a slow death, never to come back. And if I’ve lost a little more weight, of course I’ll brag tell you about that too.
This is really just a continuation of what I’ve been doing on the YNC plan, but I’m going a little more hardcore, and I’m just going to have to grin and bear it. And maybe hang up little Post-Its reminding me that I don’t actually, physiologically NEED chocolate.
What do you guys think? Want to join me? Any other guidelines you think I should add? Spill!
[Edited to add: Leah over at Your Nutritionista joined me in the challenge and created this awesome graphic for people to use as a sign of our solidarity against sugar! (I love how dramatic that sounds now, ha).
SO if you’re planning to fight the good fight with us, snag this guy and link back to us so that when I give my weekly updates, I can give a shoutout to you guys, and you can let us know how you’re doing as well!]