My girlfriends and I often talk about how great it is to be in our 40s. Wait…I know…stop laughing. I mean obviously the lines between my brows are not better in my 40s than they were, say, in my 20s. And, obviously the fact that it’s harder to get fit, and harder to do a great number of things, is not ideal. But stick with me – I’m talking emotionally and intellectually.
You get to your 40s and you know things. If you have paid attention at all in the past few decades, you understand things about humans, and the world, and most importantly yourself. You know yourself better than you ever have and you’re better able to navigate relationships, situations, and the things life throws at you because, well, you’ve been around for awhile.
It’s for this very reason, that sometimes I realize something, and I’m flabbergasted that I hadn’t figured that out before. Like, how did I get to 43 years old and not get understand or realize this really big thing about myself?
Yesterday I was straightening the house. Christmas always tears through the house like a whirlwind – a welcome and awesome whirlwind – but it requires significant clean-up. We still have a 1,000 piece puzzle on the kitchen table that might very well take us until Easter to finish. Anyway, I was picking things up, and working around some piles on my kitchen counter that just aren’t ready to be put away yet. Christmas Tupperware and glassware that won’t stay upstairs in our cupboards but shouldn’t be hidden away just yet. Amongst all of the temporary festive kitchen stuff is a shoe box filled with Christmas cookies made by my mother-in-law.
I stopped picking up and stared at it. These cookies are one of my girls’ and husband’s favorite foods of all time. They LOVE them. I like them fine too, but I’m working really hard to get back to my fighting weight so I’m ignoring them. I opened the lid and the box is nearly full. We got it four days before and it is still almost full. I let the lid fall shut in complete confusion.
What the what? How is a box full of Christmas cookies that my family LOVES still full? After four days? I mean seriously, how is that possible?
And it dawned on me. If I were eating whatever I wanted right now, these cookies would be nearly gone. There is no doubt in my mind. I can’t eat one cookie and then forget they’re there until I want another a day or two later. I eat one, and I eat 43 more, or however many it takes to finish up the box. That is how I roll.
Alcoholics can’t have one drink – they have one and then they have many. With booze, I actually can have one glass of wine and be done. And not have another for weeks or even a couple of months. I love me a glass of wine, even several in an evening if I’m out with girlfriends and I have a ride home. But I can also go months without thinking about it at all. Bottles of wine in my home tend to go bad before I can finish (or even open) them. I gave up keeping beer or cider in my fridge in my 20s because they too would go bad and were taking up valuable shelf space.
Sugar, though. That is a different story. I either have absolutely none (like I am right now) in which case it’s fine for there to be a full box of cookies on my kitchen counter, or I have all of it. ALL. OF. IT.
I texted all of my girlfriends for validation on my new theory. I think I am legit addicted to sugar. I don’t mean that I can’t have any products with sugar in them, it’s not that dyer, but I really can’t have sweets whenever I want and expect to be able to maintain my weight/health/sanity.
I allowed myself Christmas Eve and Day to eat whatever I wanted, I didn’t have much, but I ate enough cookies that it gave me a migraine – likely the shock of all of that sugar in my body after months of very little. But I simply don’t have the ability to have one sweet if there are more sweets to be had. It’s just not a thing.
I can’t decide if I’m pleased with this realization or just really pissed about it. Obviously, it allows me to make better decisions moving forward, and of course I won’t swear off sweets for life. But I also won’t binge sugar for several days as a “break” or a “vacation” and expect to be able to go right back to eating healthfully. My brain and body don’t work like that.
How it took me this long to figure this out, I don’t know (denial), but chalk it up to yet more I know about myself now that I’m in my 40s than I did before. Even though it’s a total bummer. Whomp whomp.