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The Dance

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“I’m swearing off all sugar,” I said, to Josh.

“Good! You can do it.”

“Yep. Starting tomorrow. ‘Cause I start my fast tomorrow, so…that would be a good time to start. Besides, there’s a strawberry cake on the stove.”

“Well good, Birgy. I know you can do it,” says Josh again with a hint of boredom.

“Oh crap! I just found a whole bag of Blow Pops!”

I can’t explain this sugar craze I’ve been on lately. I’ve been eating so many Lifesaver Gummies- it’s sick. Whole packages. Generally, I fast 5 days per week. I do this because it brings me closer to God. I intentionally suffer. On the week ends, I eat whatever I want, but really, I usually eat in moderation- never a second plate and I don’t eat until I’m stuffed. Why blow your levels all out of whack?

Besides, I eat to sustain life- not to cram stuff in my face. I respect that my body belongs to God- and it’s His “house”. So I keep that in mind when I’m preparing food and cooking. Usually, I’ll have a small (healthy) breakfast, oatmeal, etc. and take my daily regimen of pills which consist of:

Cayenne pepper
Evening Primrose Oil
Super B Complex
Milk Thistle (cleanses and detoxes the liver)
Fish Oil
Colon Cleanser (psyllium husk/herbal)
Multi-vitamin + Iron

After this, I won’t eat until 6:00 p.m. After breaking my fast at 6, I’ll eat a healthy meal: veggies cooked in either 100% canola oil or imported cold pressed olive oil, + meats (beef/chicken/pork, usually) + multi-grain baguettes toasted in olive oil or something along those lines- but always pretty healthily. I allow myself to snack on fruit and cheese usually, and ice cream and chips- I don’t limit myself to ounces and stuff. I don’t count calories. I don’t “diet” as it were, not in the traditional sense. I don’t fast for aesthetic purposes. I fast for spiritual discipline and cleansing- I’m a big believer in fasting.

Five days per week- Monday-Friday.
What this does is teaches me inner strength and control. When you have the ability to control what you do and do not eat most every day and aren’t “governed” by it, then you’re able to control your thoughts, behaviors, willpower, and many other areas that we often battle and give up control to.

And generally, I don’t go around telling people that I fast often- many people don’t understand. They don’t see why it matters. But it brings me closer to God and His will rather than my own. Also, when you take food out of the equation and “pleasing the self” for 8 hours of the day- it teaches you to “lay down”. It teaches you to be still and be very quiet. At least for that time. And over time, you learn to appreciate these low places in the spirit and soul. Good comes from it. Growth.

So usually, I don’t go hog-wild on whole bags of Lifesavers. I justified it by my fasting I suppose, but then, it does little good to fast like I do, if I give up complete control and eat whole bags of candy after my fast ends. It defeats the purpose of the whole thing.
So, no more wheelbarrows of sugar!

I thought it was about time for an update on my relentless jaw and tongue chewing habit. “Habit” is a mild way of looking at it, actually. When you spend 10 hours a day doing something, it’s no longer a habit, but an obsession and addiction. I was biting the sides of my tongue and jaws on the inside so much that it often bled and was sore much of the time. This exacerbated my TMJ tremendously. What I was doing daily went against all of my beliefs and norms and everything I knew to do. I simply couldn’t stop. I researched it and made a remarkable discovery: this is an area in psychology that is rarely focused on and discussed! I couldn’t even find the scientific name for it and barely was able to find forums where it was openly discussed. Not many cries for help- not many confessions. This confirmed my suspicions that this disease is still done in secret mostly, and so well hidden that it’s rarely discussed. There’s a tremendous amount of shame that accompanies this disorder because it doesn’t make sense to begin with. To confess would be an open acknowledgement that “something is wrong with me”. It’s so much easier to keep it in a locked closet and pretend that it doesn’t exist.

It’s no different than cutting or any other form of self- mutilation. It’s the same processes in the brain that sanction gashing open the flesh and feeling the pain. Not only feeling it, but welcoming it.  In my case, it was my teeth doing the cutting instead of a knife. I guess I had to get so sick and tired of being sick and tired of the disease controlling me rather than me controlling it, but finally, I was able to get to the place and recognize that “jaw-biting” was like an abusive partner that I swore to love and commit myself to and even protect. I needed to view it differently if I expected real change. I needed to break up with it.

Update:

After “breaking up with” my sick disease, it’s been three months. I haven’t done it once even! A life-time addiction- gone in once second. And I have been through some serious ^&%$ since then. At first, my thoughts were overwhelming. My anxiety was through the ceiling. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. My thoughts were working overtime and very much in an OCD-related way. So much chatter. It wasn’t easy- I just knew I needed to stick it out. After many uncomfortable weeks, the chatter dissipated and all was quiet. Finally, there was peace.

Recapping the letter:
[Originally posted February 12, 2013]

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Dear bad habit,

I don’t know how to tell you this, but  I just want to be friends I want to break up with you. You know I love you! And it’s not you- I swear- it’s me. I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t like the way you’re constantly attacking me, and it’s like I have no time to myself. What you’re doing to me seems harmless, but it’s abuse, and I will not stay with somebody that abuses me. We’ve been together for 35 years. I know I’ll never see you again after today. I can’t say that I’m sorry about that. Goodbye. And thanks for everything.

-Birgitta

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8 responses

  1. Yay!! I remember when you wrote that breakup letter, and what a brilliant idea it was! Maybe, I should join you in trying the same thing with sugar…I have quite the issue when it comes to sugar. I’m a big fan of it, although I try not to be…

    Please keep us updated on this! ❤

    May 27, 2013 at 7:10 am

    • Will do, Amy. :0) By the way, I now think of you every time I’m studying the brain: hippocampus, cerebrum, and of course, the AMYgdala. 😉

      May 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm

  2. W

    You did not ‘find’ a bag of Blow Pops, you sent Josh to the store.

    $10 says you won’t approve this comment.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:11 am

    • Ok, Brianna…or should I say, “Almonds”? Hmmm…?

      You owe me $10.

      [insert evil “Muhaha” laughter here]

      May 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  3. claude

    Wanna taco? 🙂

    May 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

  4. Are you sure the cheek biting thing isn’t related to the fasting? Five days a week is a lot and I’ll bet the Lord will forgive you if you eat something (other than sugar) on a more regular basis.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    • Yes, it’s totally not related. I only started fasting in the past two years, and the cheek biting thing was a 30 + year habit (no relation). On the contrary, it wasn’t until I started fasting that I was able to kick the cheek biting addiction, so it confirms that there’s a direct correlation between fasting and having the willpower to conquer lifelong addictions.

      Also, something to consider, is that the daily fasting is for 10 hours per day. I don’t do 24 or 48 hour fasts (ever) so what I’m doing is cleansing my blood (etc.) in small increments. It’s not about “eating being a sin” or anything like that. It’s about self control and choosing abstinence for a portion of my day. I eat two whole meals per day and several snacks- take all of my vitamins and drink plenty of fluids, and yet I’m still able to fast 5 days per week. (So you see, I do eat on a regular basis.)

      May 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

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