2022 has been my year of breakthrough. When I looked at how I would achieve this, instead of taking massive action, hustling harder, and sacrificing my work/life balance, I decided to let go.
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Now, letting go wasn’t a concept that I’d leaned into before. By nature, I’m someone who white-knuckles my goals and tries to will them into fruition. I’ve made big moves, I’ve stepped out in faith, and what I needed this year was to let go of the things that were holding me back and no longer serving me.
Each month, I’ve committed to fasting from one thing that I noticed myself clinging pretty tightly to. The goal was never to deprive myself of something that I needed, but rather to see what would happen when I stopped relying on that one thing to get me through.
In one of the first months of 2022, I was hesitant to start my experiment. During this month, I chose to give up sweets in the evening. Before we go any further, I want to clarify that this was not about weight loss. This wasn’t about hating anything that tasted good or depriving myself of something that I wanted to fit into a pair of jeans. This was just a place to start. And quite honestly, I didn’t think it would be that hard.
I thought, “You know what, I don’t really eat a lot of treats. I don’t eat a lot of sugar. Maybe this is cheating.” I quickly realized that was not the case. Once I started monitoring this habit, I found that after I put my two girls down for the night, I would go straight into the kitchen looking for something sweet to eat.
What I soon realized was that this was my time to eat something that wasn’t going to be taken from me, asked for, or shared. It also wasn’t something that I would have to defend… you know, like why this candy was for mommy only, or whatever other excuse I could come up with.
I realized this was my time. I didn’t realize that I was searching for something that was my own, something that I could control that could make me feel better at that moment.
For many parents, that final push at the end of the night can be taxing. From witching hour to storytime to bath time to bedtime… oh, and don’t forget more stories!
I realized I was looking for a way to redemption, yet I had no clue that I was searching for it in the kitchen. Remember, this is not about whether or not you should allow yourself to have treats or not. But for me, at this moment, I realized that I was trying to soothe myself in a way that wasn’t nourishing to my body.
After having this realization, I noticed sweets popping up in so many areas of my life – like seeing candy at the register when I’m dropping off the dry cleaning or getting my nails done.
As I reached for one at every place, I went to pop a little something in my mouth. After all, it was just a fun little moment. I realized that I was absentmindedly eating more than I was aware of, again, wondering if it going to make a huge difference. I started to ask myself why I was going through life, paying little attention to what I was putting in my body.
I thought about how I could make a change so that I was intentional about what I was consuming, and I realized I was eating things that I didn’t even really like!
Now, this may or may not be a struggle for you. But like I said, I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating. I was just grabbing it because it was right in front of me.
And oftentimes, I was alone. No one was watching anyway, right? But this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. I want to be able to cope with hard moments and enjoy the fun moments without having to be something that isn’t elevating me.
I was spending my days constantly tired, meanwhile consuming things that weren’t fuelling my body throughout the day, every single day.
However, stopping this habit for a short time allowed me to really enjoy those sweets once I brought them back into my life. I could be more intentional, more thoughtful, and actually savor those moments, enjoying them as a celebration rather than just something just to do and be done with.
For those wondering, eliminating sweets had no effect on my body type. The goal wasn’t ever to lose weight, but what I did feel was different. I felt more confident. I didn’t feel the shame and guilt from hiding those moments of whatever sweets I could grab and consume as fast as I could.
This was yet another layer that I could peel back for a deeper breakthrough. I learned that the things I was hiding and covering in my heart and soul by a simple, momentary fix were masking an area of my heart that needed tending to.
By removing sweets for a short time, I was given a different lens to look through, and as a result, I was able to care for myself in a new way.
Given this new proverbial lens, I was able to look back at the actual problem and find a solution that helped me avoid getting to the place of a micro-burnout every single day. I got to rearrange our schedule and work through a bedtime routine that was a better experience for all of us. I was also able to look at the types of trees that we have in our lives and find options that were healthier, more enjoyable, and if it was food related, more thoughtful.