With the start of the New Year, many of us make New Year Resolutions and either vow to begin on the path to a healthier lifestyle or like me, we choose to renew our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Statistics show that fitness centers and gyms are at their highest attendance in January each year.
I find it interesting to note in myself that while I’ve not had a cup of coffee in more than five years, nor alcohol, nor meat, my challenge is with sweets. Especially during the holidays, when the familiar favorite cookies, cakes and other sweet treats are seemingly inseparable from our family’s traditions, I felt the cravings for overindulgence resurface.
Occasional sweet treats are not an issue. Ayurveda is a proponent of moderation and right choices made most of the time. The more balanced our body becomes, the occasional ‘not ideal choices’ in food and drink become less of an issue, as our body quickly resets and recovers. One-offs are not the problem.
After I managed to keep the caffeine, alcohol and meat out of my system for more than a year, I’ve had little desire for these one-time staples in my daily life. I don’t consciously decide to not have them, I just have no interest in them. The present quality of my life and lack of the powerful side effects of the coffee, alcohol and meat have been effective dissuaders for me. I sleep better, digest better, no longer have puffy eyes in the morning or swollen ankles at night, and I have fewer headaches and no hangovers.
Sugar and sweets, for me, have proven much more challenging to keep in moderation. For the most part, I’ve slowed my appetite for them and can be satisfied with much less quantity than my pre-yoga and Ayurveda days. Yet, this holiday season, I noted myself eating way too many cookies and other sweet treats. I passed the mark of moderation. The positive is that I observed the setback and am determined to get back to better balance.
You might ask, ‘How do you tell if you are past moderation?’.
How much is too much? Or Why not splurge a little?
For each person the answers to these questions are a little different. For me, the indicator of a concern is that I start trying to talk myself out of eating something that is calling to me. The healthy me knows that there will be repercussions from overindulgence. More than a day or two of overconsumption inevitably results in negative effects. I become less energetic, feel the effects of stressful situations more, am more emotionally sensitive, start feeling deprived and increasingly want more sweets than the day before. Unfortunately, when that conversation begins in my head, most of the time, the craving wins - that’s when I know I’ve passed the mark.
Usually, there is no conversation going on in my head. If I feel like a sweet treat and am in a healthy balance, I have a small portion, enjoy it and don’t think twice about it. I may not have another sweet for days or weeks. When I’m out of balance, the cravings have a hold on me.
Each time I passed the cookie dish or candy tray while I was home, the voice in my head began. At the ashram there is less temptation, it is true. But there are still plenty of sweet treats available there, if I choose to have them. The cravings at home may have more to do with the nostalgia of holidays, and that requires some meditation about what that all means for me.
I know I’ve still got work to do regarding my strong attraction and attachment to sweets. Hence my New Year’s renewed commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Good luck with your New Year resolutions, whatever they may be!
May 2020 be filled with blessings for each of us.
Loving Life and Living Love,