Giving up


Relax, this isn’t a blog about me giving up on life … though I wonder if I had a few years ago. One of the signs: I started wearing very unflattering Kmart trakkie daks to school pick-up …

No, it’s about giving up on stuff that’s not entirely good for me. (OK, unflattering trakkie daks aren’t entirely good for me, but you know what I mean.)

I’m not very good at giving up stuff that’s not entirely good for me. Take my Diet Coke addiction … it’s pretty unshakeable, though I’m down to three cans a week now and replacing the rest with iced coffees containing lactose-free milk and Stevia.

So I take my hat off to my divine friend The Sharpest Pencil, who gave up sugar six weeks ago.

I’d been hoping to hear that it had changed her life, but she wrote a rather disconcerting blog yesterday called My Truth About Giving Up Sugar that revealed the result wasn’t rainbows and unicorns.

She hasn’t lost weight. She doesn’t feel better mentally or physically. And she still craves sugar.


I’ve been trying to avoid sugar since the doctor suggested it might be feeding my internal greeblies. (While secretly hoping its absence would also shrink my tummy, not to mention idly wondering if it was making me a bit blue.)

The doctor also suggested I give up yeast, but I’ve failed miserably on that front. One of the minuses of running away from home is that you come back to an empty fridge and a pile of dirty washing.

So I’ve been shuffling around in whatever outfits I can scrape together and eating vast amounts of contraband. I had Turkish toast with Vegemite for brekkie yesterday …. mmmmmm …. and a beef and mushroom pie for dinner.

The beef and mushroom pie actually made me feel a bit sick, so I don’t think I’ll be doing that again in a hurry. Turning away from the Turkish toast is an entirely different and torturous matter.

Normally I eat sugar-free yogurt with a little honey, raw nuts and sultanas for my brekkie. Yummy, but not quite the same level of nirvana in the middle of winter.

Yesterday I decided to up the ante in the abstinence stakes and give the last few days of Dry July a whirl. Talk about an iron will – a whole four days … I’m awed by people who manage it for a whole four weeks. What does it say about me that I’m incredulous at the thought of someone going a month without alcohol?

My ex used to annoy the hell out of me by choosing random months to give up alcohol, such as March – when we both have birthdays. It was particularly infuriating the year I’d booked us into one of those wine appreciation dinners at a fancy restaurant in the city as part of his gift (prior to him decided to give up the grog). He wouldn’t even swirl the wines around in his mouth. Party pooper.

It’s kind of ironic since I blame him for my inability to do the full kit and caboodle Dry July.

I used to take it or leave it when it came to alcohol. But – with the benefit of hindsight – once he became miserable in the marriage he started opening a bottle of wine every night and pouring me a generous glass. (Because misery loves company.)

Previously I’d been a social drinker, perhaps indulging once or twice a week. By the time he left we were dourly drinking nightly.

Only two or three glasses in my case, but still. I don’t think that’s ideal.

When he left, those glasses of wine stayed in my life and became a bit of a crutch.

I don’t need that crutch any more. It’s time to break the habit.

I approached last night with trepidation … how would I cope?

I coped just fine. It helped that the kids and I frolicked in the pool after their swimming lessons and laughed ourselves silly giving each other piggyback rides.

Then I parked them in front of their homework and bolted to IGA for milk, bread and watermelon.

Then we watched a gorgeous episode of Doctor Who – The Wedding of River Song.

That kiss! Swoon!

By the time I packed the dishwasher and unpacked all the bags from the weekend it was 10pm and night No. 1 without alcohol was over.

The first time is always the hardest I reckon.

I’m hoping it’s all downhill from here … I wonder if giving up alcohol will be a more effective treatment for excess belly fat than giving up sugar?

Song of the day: Rick Astley “Never gonna give you up”


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