Days 5, 6, and 7: About Days running together, and falling off the wagon.

Well, the school week has started (or did on Day 5) and that always leaves me a little breathless and behind. Why did no one tell me that when my kid started Kindergarten, I would have homework again? Seriously. Last week I actually dreamt I had to get a book report done for the pediatrician. Like many things typical to parenting, I just had no preconception of this. Remember that AMAZING feeling when you got out of school and realized, here in real life you would never have homework again? Well, that feeling is relatively short-lived for those of us who procreate. I mean, I enjoyed it for 11 years. I think it will allude me for at least another 18.

But enough of my excuses. This week I have spent a fair amount of time (as has Dr. A, he assures me) conversing with friends and colleagues about the idea of giving up refined sugar. I have eaten a lot of fruit. Things that never before tasted sweet to me, like natural peanut butter and whole milk, taste slightly sweet. In fact I spend the first six ounces of a medium plain macchiato from Dunkin’ Donuts second guessing the contents of my drink. Is this just espresso and milk? Really? Is it really, really? Like, no sprinkles accidentally fell in there and melted?

I slipped up on Day 5. I had a quarter of a bar of 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Not terrible on the sugar front, but it’s a slippery slope. I gave the other quarter to my sweet, innocent three-year-old as a bribe (ahem, reward) for successfully washing his hands after using the toilet. It is amazing how repulsive little boys can find washing their hands. You would think I had asked him to eat dirt, or something. (Except he has done that quite happily, especially when I scream “Ewww!” and say “That’s disgusting!” and that, of course, just makes him giggle and do it again.) Parenting experts, and especially people who have never had children, will tell you never ever ever to use food as a potty-training reward. I invite those people to come to my house and potty-train my children.

Anyway. There was a part of me that wanted to offload the toxic sugar lurking in the form of a half bar of chocolate, especially because I knew Dr. A had eaten the other half before our experiment began and technically by the laws of our marriage the remaining half was mine. And it called to me. So I tried to do the selfless thing and shove the poison to a small child, but in the process I ended up accidentally biting, chewing, and swallowing half of it. Oops. That was it for Day 5.

Day 6 was a bit worse for me. I don’t know if it was just my fatigue or the nagging feeling of wanting what I can’t have, or perhaps something more scientific, like “bad” microbes in my gut crying out desperately for sugar. (Hey, it’s in First for Women all the time, so it has to be true, right?)

I slipped up to the tune of two peanut butter cookies, five saltine crackers, and two teaspoons of brown sugar. Seriously. Never thought of myself as a direct sugar eater—not since my mom stopped buying sugar lumps when I was a kid—but there you go. And, of course, I felt like crap afterwards. I think it was mostly an emotional response fueled by disappointment, but perhaps there was a bit of sugar crash mixed in. It did not feel good, and what put me back on the wagon the next day was thinking mostly about how good I had felt on days 1 through 5.

And Day 7, surprisingly, saw me two pounds down since the start of this. Not too shabby for me.

Well, Day 7 was yesterday, and I redeemed my slips from the days before by absolutely abstaining from one of the greatest sweets in the word: homemade pumpkin pie with sweetened whipped cream. My friend from Baby Costs Money had a pumpkin-painting party for the kiddos, and someone just had to go and bring a pie made not just from real pumpkin, but from a real pumpkin she baked, seeded, and pureed herself. Show-off. I abstained, and ate apple slices and drank fizzy water and talked about why I’m not crazy, and then someone else came with some homemade, low-sugar, whole-wheat pumpkin waffles, and I snagged one of those no problem.

“So,” she asked me, after telling me I was crazy, “what are you eating?”

“A lot of almonds, a lot of apples, and a lot of brie.”

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