Is this year flying by, or what?! Easter has been and gone already! Wow.
|Me at Christmas|
I have something to share with you today, in a different vein than my usual posts. I survived a chocolate-free Easter. My first ever. Yes, it is possible!! "But why would you want to?" I hear you ask. Good question! One I shall endeavour to give my personal answer to below...
A while back, I shared a photo of the dress I wore on my first date with my hubby, and told you of my journey to a healthier lifestyle, and how I hope by the end of this year to fit into this dress that I have not worn for almost 8 years. What I didn't tell you was that this journey is so much more than a "get fit, eat healthy" journey. This is a journey to freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from compulsive, emotionally-driven eating.
There. I said it. It is hard to admit it even to myself, but I have developed an unhealthy relationship to food. Especially chocolate. I have shared in the past about my difficulty in coming to terms with certain details about my son's birth, and adjusting to being a Mum to two kids. Well, one way that I dealt with some of the day-to-day stress of those adjustments was to eat. "I just need an energy boost to get me through the day," I would tell myself, while breaking off a row of chocolate and shoving it into my mouth, out of sight of the kids. Ahhh...what sweet comfort chocolate gives. For about five minutes. Then I would want more. I would try to make the block last a week, but too often, would consume it in a day. Not once, not twice, but over and over. Week after week.
At first I didn't seem to see any weight gain, but as soon as I stopped breastfeeding my son, I piled on the weight. But I couldn't stop eating chocolate. If I kept myself from buying chocolate, I would scrounge around in my pantry until I could find something to substitute. Condensed milk and cocoa, or with peanut butter - not the same but it would do. Or I'd go for a carb fix of a different type - corn chips. Lots and lots of yummy, crunchy corn chips.
I feel so ashamed admitting this, but allowing food to have power over me was something that I never thought would happen to ME. Realising I couldn't stop was not enough to make me do something about it. It took photos from a family do just before Christmas to make me see just how much my body had changed, and just how unhappy I was to go on living enslaved to food. One last hurrah at Christmas, then I determined to make some changes. Twenty kilograms (roughly 44 pounds) in one year, that was my goal. Preferably in six months, if I could. Well, three months have passed and I am only 500g away from being half-way to that goal! Yes, that truly is something to celebrate, but how shall I celebrate it? I used to eat chocolate to celebrate!
Which of course, meant a chocolate-free Easter.
Do you know, I honestly thought I would feel hard-done-by. That I would find it difficult not to have a little pity party about being surrounded by chocolate but not able to eat any. But I can joyfully tell you this is not the case.
I FEEL FREE!! I have had the best Easter ever, in some ways, as I have not had any guilt, self-hatred, sugar lows, and to top it all off, I felt like my heart was so much more free to focus on the sacrifice Jesus made for me that first Easter. And, here I am today, with my son asleep, my daughter at her grandparents' place, the house to myself, with a couple bowls of Easter eggs the kids were given, along with two of my favourite Lindt chocolate bunnies...and I know with absolute certainty that I am not going to touch any of it. That thought makes me smile.
Now, don't get me wrong - I have had many moments of feeling weak. On those "bad" days when everything seemed to be going wrong, and all I wanted to do was dive off the wagon into a bowl full of chocolate (yes, I actually fantasized about that on more than one occasion!). But that just showed me all the more how chocolate had been a substitute for what my soul was truly craving. It wasn't a quick-fix I needed, it was Eternal Strength. It wasn't a sugar high that I needed, which would send me crashing down to a lower low afterwards, it was a moment to rest in the Everlasting Arms. And I am learning that, in less time than it takes to unwrap a block of chocolate, break off a row and consume all traces of that row before children burst into the room, I can actually turn my heart to God and ask Him to provide the strength, perspective, refreshing that I need. The effects last longer than chocolate, it doesn't cost anything (except my pride), and there is no self-hatred or guilt afterwards!!! EPIC WIN!!!
Now, to get to the point where I can allow myself just one piece of chocolate, savour and enjoy it, but stop at that.