Julie’s Blog: Find your new normal by noticing the deficit

It’s Day 2 of my sugar-fast and I’m keenly aware of how sugar came back into my life last year. For the last several years I’ve embraced sweets as Pleasure foods, rather than “cheats” or departures from “being good”.  I don’t like to call food good or bad as the labels carry too much weight. Rather, I see various foods as Health or Pleasure. You can learn more about this in my book. Anyway, I’m realizing that sugar became a bigger part of 2012 simply because I had more opportunities to enjoy it.

Here’s what I mean. With all the celebrations around my wedding, a month spent in California, and more home-entertaining, I’ve consumed sugar (in the name of Pleasure) without the stop-gaps of ordinary life.  Ordinarily, I’m not exposed to much sugar because we don’t keep it around the house. But with the change in lifestyle, being around sugar became my new normal. Which is just…life. No judgement, no comparing, just  me noticing the habits that shifted along with the shifts in my life.

Here’s something else I’ve realized…when you let go of some-thing in your life – like eating too much sugar – it’s important to notice the deficit. What does it feel like not to have that thing in your life? How does the void feel? What are you noticing about your automatic choices? I’m remembering all the times I’ve grabbed mints from a candy bowl – when I get my nails done, walk out of a restaurant, or pick up clothes from the dry cleaners, I grab a mint from the bowl. Automatic choice. Yesterday I almost licked a big hunk of jelly off a knife while making my son’s sandwich. An automatic choice and a knee-jerk reaction that was propelled by my new normal.

Here’s what’s so great…I wouldn’t have seen any of this, or even been affirmed in my sugar-fast, unless I’d noticed the deficit. Noticing when something is missing brings awareness that is priceless. It gives you the opportunity to learn, discern and to re-align towards the ‘normal’ that serves you.

After these 40 days, I know I’ll enjoy my Pleasure foods again…because that is also life. But how cool will it be to return to savored experiences (uh, ice cream is my favorite food), rather than mindless, meaningless encounters? That comes from noticing what’s missing and learning how to relate to that thing in a healthier way.

You see, in the place of abundance, we become unaware. We check out, we stop paying attention, and we stop relating. Yet when you don’t have that thing anymore, you learn by letting the deficit inform you. Today, let the void illuminate the realities of your life, and embrace it as a loving guide to your new (healthy) normal.

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