Inches, Pounds, and Ahas!

After 31 days of no sugar, no fake sweeteners, and low starches, I stepped on the scale and saw that I was down 7 lbs. from where I started on January 1st. Each week I measured my chest, waist, hips, and thighs, and after a month of cutting out sweets and curbing the snack attacks, the loss of a few inches and half inches were making themselves felt in the fit of my clothes. And while it's nice to see those kinds of results, other, unexpected lessons crept up during the month that made the most significant impact. 

Lessons like...

  • Realizing that I was addicted to sugar and didn't see it.
  • Recognizing that I turned to sugary coffee drinks for comfort on bad days.
  • I used food as a reward for hard days or other "sacrifices" I had made.
  • When I felt frustrated with life, I replaced going to God with going to Starbucks.
  • For someone who prides herself on being very self-aware, I snacked mindlessly.
  • Since I was trying to buy less stuff...I made up for it by buying more food.
  • Worst of all, I taught my kids that "treats" should be a regular occurrence.
Bottom line: food, specifically sugar, had become an idol. I worshipped the temporary "high" that a stop at Starbucks would give me. I bowed at the altar of donuts.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

With the revelations of January fresh before me, I made the conscious decision to extend the lifestyle changes another month, and potentially longer. Not only was I seeing the physical benefits of the choices I was making in what and when I ate, but I also felt better than I had in months, if not years. The unexpected discoveries of the hold that sugar had on me just added to my desire to continue down this path and see where it led. 

Although at first, I missed my Starbucks stops and late-night binge snacking, I found that I much preferred the feeling of being satisfied with less. It was equally, if not more addicting than the temporary sugar rush that accompanied eating a doughnut the size of my face or downing a large Diet Coke. I became aware of the number of times I unconsciously associated going somewhere with picking up a treat. Drop the kids off at taekwondo, stop and get a coffee. Run errands on Saturday morning and bring home a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit for the Hubs and me.

Treat, when used as a noun, is defined as: an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure. But when the event or item is no longer out of the ordinary, can it still be called a treat? When a doughnut truck came every week to a local parking lot, and I started stopping more and more often...was it still a treat? Or had my kids (and I) come to expect it? 

Several years ago, when the Hubs and I were laser-focused on paying off our first mortgage, we only allowed ourselves to go out to eat once a month. After money was less of an issue for us, going out stopped being a treat and became routine. "Do you feel like cooking tonight? No? Me neither. Let's go out." 

Last month I was reminded of that austere time in our lives as I once again began to deny myself the "treats" that had become expected and regular. In fact, I found that it became easier to tell myself "no" the longer I did it. Why? Because I wanted the rush of actual treats. Something that truly was out of the ordinary. Something that was unexpected, rather than something that was commonplace. 

I've told myself that I can now have one treat from Starbucks every month, using the gift cards I received for Christmas and my birthday. But instead of rushing towards the drive-thru on February 1st, I discovered there is even more joy in waiting. In fact, as I type this, with the end of the month rushing towards me, I have yet to go. 

The surprise "Aha!" of the last two months has been that the discipline of being more mindful of what I eat, what I spend my money on, and how I prioritize my time has made me want more
  • More of the feeling of accomplishment when my waistband isn't digging into my stomach. 
  • More of the sense of freedom that comes from paying cash at the grocery store and sticking to the budget. 
  • More guilt-free time to spend reading for pleasure because my work isn't hanging over my head, and dinner is in the Crock-Pot. 
  • More of Jesus, less of me. 
Idols don't always take the form we might think...sometimes they are shaped like bite-sized sugar bombs and time-sucking YouTube videos. Sneaky little things... So I'll close this with a question for you to ponder: What idols are ensconced in your life? If you take time to think about this and be honest, you might find yourself to be just surprised as I was. 


  1. These are some good thoughts, and I'm so happy you've seen such great results from your experiment! ❤

    1. I am so grateful for your encouragement all month, friend!

  2. Love all the things you did and discovered! Our culture definitely pushes the “you deserve it” …self indulgence mantra. Not just in food but in so many ways that are sneaky. Thanks for your transparency and for making me think too! I definitely have idols I name other things.

    1. Our culture does, indeed, push the self-indulgence mantra. Thanks for commenting! :)


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