Today is Fat Tuesday.
For Catholics, today is the last hurrah before lent begins tomorrow. That is how Mardi Gras come to be. Essentially, Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and with Mardi Gras comes some hard partying and parades and good times before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Lent is a time of fasting and serious reflection, a time of giving something up or doing something that's personally hard in order to prepare yourself for the celebration of Easter.
This year, once again, my demon is sugar.
I know all the bad stuff about sugar and how it is bad for your immune system and how it is highly addictive. Yet, try as I might, during the holidays, I cannot resist the cookies and chocolates that seem to surround me. I tell myself that when the new year arrives I will put the brakes on the sweets but then my birthday arrives in early January and I'm back on the sugar train.
The problem is that sugar makes you feel better. At least it makes me feel better for the moment of that I eat it. I read somewhere that when you eat sugar, it tells the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that the brain also releases when certain drugs are ingested or when you exercise a lot. I'm always trying to remind myself about this sugar-brain connection but then I start to think about freshly baked cookies.
My friend Eileen makes the most outrageously delicious cookies in the whole world and when I see a plate of them offered at get-togethers, there is no way I can resist them. Her cookies are like potato chips: you can never eat just one.
Whenever I think I'm the only one who is out of control about sugar, I pick up Kris Carr's book, Crazy, Sexy Diet, and I go directly to her chapter on sugar. Here is an except from Carr's chapter entitled, Cupcakes, Coffee & Cocktails:
"Look I know firsthand how hard it is to heal addictions. I come from a scarf-and-barf, drink-too-much history. Date night with myself was a debaucherous romp into coma-ville. I'd buy a bunch of cookies and wine, pop the top button of my jeans, and chow down. Occasionally my higher self would guide me to the trash can before I finished every last crumb. An hour later my lower self would bark orders to pick through the trash and retrieve the delicious drugs like a back-alley junkie.
Elegant people don't dig through the trash. The chic and stylish don't attack their doughnuts with Windex. Yes, I admit it. The only way to keep my paws off the contraband was to blast it with Windex. Clearly I was out of control."
Lent is arriving at the perfect time for me. I need to be motivated to give up the sugar for an extended period of time and this way I'll be doing it for a higher purpose and a heavenly being.
And maybe, just in case, I'll keep the Windex nearby.