Admittedly, watching television persists. I am trying to find my grounding - what works for me. Many people probably don't think twice about eating sugar or watching t.v. or working on ways to improve their lives, or maybe they do, but I feel like I'm always on some self-improvement kick. I have to admit that practicing self-control is harder than just being abstinent. Proud is how I feel when I practice it, and I also love eating a big bowl of ice cream with peanut butter, heath bars and kit-kats in it. Yum. Just last night that was, and my last goo-rah for awhile.
I think it's that I'm fresh out of this and playing around with what I find acceptable since being on the other side of it, and realizing the benefits. I can't be peaceful though sitting on the couch for any extended period of time unless I have planned a movie. Also, allowable indulgences are something I am working with.
Two verses come to mind - the one again about discipline not being pleasant at the time but in time providing the fruits of righteousness and peace. True. There is no peace for me in over-indulging on anything!! Also, I produced a lot of good fruit while abstinent. Also, one of the gifts of the holy spirit is a spirit of self-control. I surely have it, and I also feel this laziness in me and refutation that abstinence is the only way, which it is clearly not, but if I can't work this out, I will go abstinent again.
I am finding my way. Exercise is in which is great. Working toward goals, in, which is great. I'm just a lot slower with t.v. in play, and there is less focus.
Okay, that's enough. Working it out, finding my way, strategizing a plan that works.
It’s been about three weeks since my 100 days of abstinence has ended. TV was the hardest. The sugar was simple, safe even, is how I felt with the sugar boundary provided. Deprived is how I felt with the t.v. boundary, at least for the first couple of months.
I didn’t pursue either one after my 100 days were up. I didn’t care to engage. I was reticent, even, feeling like I’d made such progress and didn’t want to pursue either just because I could. I’ve found that that throws me off. That’s not enough of a good excuse, anyway, either.
I was more apt to watch t.v. though than to have sugar. Sugar wasn’t even on my radar. I waited almost a whole week to do that, and only chose to eat it when I did more as a celebration of something – I chose cheesecake – my first bite of sweet in over 3 months; my first favorite dessert. It was yummy, sweet though.
Since being back on each, I’ve been up and down with both, mostly with sugar. Have given myself a lot of sugar this past week. I am a healthy eater mostly though. My Publix basket last night was amazing – I was truly amazed at how healthily I eat. I’ve felt like that several times recently while looking in my fridge or grocery cart. My basket actually looked pleasing to the sight. It looked advertise-able. I like how I eat. I do like my sugar, however.
Admittedly, last week, resistance lost. I gave way to my sugar craving and jumped into a week long sugar streak. It was more out of availability though than on purpose. I was simply availing myself to what I’d made! Brownies and ice cream, and lots of them.
What happened was I went up to 7-11 to get my favorite brownie. They have these delicious brownies at the counter they sell – they’re so good. That was all. Maybe some ice cream. Well, they were out. I didn’t take the sign to bug off, instead, I decided, it’s Sunday, I’ll just make a whole batch! Mmmm. Warm brownies…needs ice cream! Got that as well. ½ gallon worth. I was set for the week!! It was unintended.
I justified not sharing them with my students or neighbors because I had doubled-licked the batter spoon, and, just to be respectful...I chose to keep them all to myself. So, I had brownies for days!! Those were devoured within 4 – 5 days. It was good and guilt free most days, except day 3 – I felt like a loser – I had given over control to the brownies and ice cream - eating them routinely at that point because they were there while I actually, really, wanted beans and rice, really!
Got over that mentally pretty quickly though, after a serious bout of guilt and a personal therapy session, but still proceeded to crush the rest of what was left the next night, and called it quits, until Saturday, movie night.
I ordered peanut M&Ms with my popcorn. I didn’t get them. Glad because I had decided on Butterfingers instead. I informed the cashier that I’d like some Butterfingers, as he clearly hadn’t heard my request for M&Ms. Well, he had. He came back with both boxes in hand – one of each: a box of M&Ms and a box of Butterfingers, at my disposal.
It was decision time. A comment a guy next to me made passed though my brain as they appeared before my eyes on the counter: “Get one of each,” he prompted me as he saw me peeping the case. “I’ll surly be sick for a week,” I replied. He meant the whole case. I actually did have the “one of each” I had wanted.
Keep them or not? “I’ll surely be sick for a week,” again thinking to myself if I eat those both, as I’d been getting a little sick to my stomach with even small amounts of sugar since being off of it. Keep them or not? I didn’t give it much thought. It was a simple question: Do I keep them or inform him I’d changed my mind wanting the Butterfingers instead? A. I kept them. I moved on not missing a beat taking my cadies and popcorn to the coke machine! Let’s go! So I’m going to eat a lot of candy tonight with my popcorn! That’s okay!! Let’s get busy!!
With my popcorn, and two boxes of candy, I headed to the soda machine. A coke drinker when I do, I figured I shouldn’t have all that sugar and made it a ¾ coke and ¼ diet coke, just in case that extra sugar put me over the edge. I didn’t want to be sick! I pressed on. I made it to my seat where I began my delicious feast. Snack-ably delicious!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the movies. It was a great topper to a relaxing day at the beach. Movies with popcorn and candy, a good treat!! I managed to not eat everything either – I was full but not stuffed too much, and more importantly, I was not sick feeling. I work with sugar/salt combo well!!
So, I already thought I’d have to put more parameters on my sugar again because I’d gone haywire this past week. So, instead of discarding my pricey snacks, I thought I’ll not discard them, but take them home with me, and have them later.
After the movie, I hit the can, strategically placing all of my items on the ledges provided. Turning briefly to add my other items to the door, I heard a falling. Tumbling from their throne, my candy and popcorn went all over the bathroom floor and into the toilet! The candy on the floor, the popcorn both places. Well, another decision – keep the candy or throw it away? It was after all still in the wrapper. B. Take the sign, throw away the candy, and call it a night.
That’s a wrap!
Take-aways from my 100 days of abstinence:
I honestly feel like, at this point, what did I do while I was not watching t.v.? I know I did not stop, or rarely stopped, except for those few times when I would relax and read or relax and eat. There is a lot more time it seems to live!
Now, I find t.v. a bore mostly, a waste of time, but I still search for movies, yes. It appeases me to a degree, but it is mostly a waste of time I feel now. I’m giving myself time while also managing to turn it off and do other things too.
Sugar, I found, has thrown me off at times, as with t.v. It’s odd. They’re distracters from what is important. That is one big thing I learned. I really had trouble focusing when I would engage in either, especially movies on t.v. It would take me into another whole mental phase where I would be no longer interested in pursuing anything purposeful or meaningful.
So, in my discipline, I have found discipline and focus, and how helpful they are for my achievements. Duh, yes, but you have to experience it I guess to understand fully, at least this is what I’ve found. If there is one thing I would have said I needed before fasting these things, it was discipline. I never thought that I was actually being disciplined while doing these. More so, the choice to quit them was more of a punishment really, initially, than anything else. I knew they were distracting and derailing, but I did not endeavor to do this to be disciplined, but it’s been one of the best advantages I’ve received since fasting them. I see them for what they are worth. I see their distracting and deceiving nature – t.v. is NOT relaxing – and I am aware of their derailing effect on me toward my goals and in my life and for my health. I am more pleased with the positive actions and behaviors that have resulted from the good choices I’ve made.
The good thing is this got me started moving toward positive directions on goals that I have wanted to accomplish for some time. It has given me the start I’ve needed to move forward with my personal and professional goals. That’s a good thing. It’s let me have a new perspective on how I will live my life and why. The domino effect is working.
I have conquered many giants in my time here. I have seen that television and sugar are just one of the many habits we form that are easily broken, or at least in my case, sugar was easy. TV was more routine and like cigarettes for me – so I was a lot harder to break. We can break bad habits if we desire to. If we stick with it long enough, too, we can replace them with good ones and learn to moderate our lives and find the balance in our routines, and what works for us – that’s what I’m figuring out still – my preferences on how I want to work this. One healthy change can modify of our lives if we let it. I have found this to be so. So, now, I watch t.v. and eat sugar again, but having had a life different than before, I have seen the other side of life on the disciplined side, and have been given the opportunity to choose how I prefer to live now. Realistically, I will not likely cut them both out of my life. Instead, I will choose moderation and discipline, the boring but faithful virtues that will lead me to my success.
I was reminded of this verse the other night after I chose to go for a run despite my lack of desire. I layed back on my car, exhausted afterwards, and glad of the choice I’d made: “But no discipline in its time seems to be joyful, but it is sorrowful; but in the end it yields the fruit of peace and of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Discipline gave me joy in the end, as this will too. Having experienced the fruit of what I have over time by my discipline, I realize that going back to how I was will be lifeless and fruitless. That is not my interest. Joy is my interest, and I am looking forward to having more of it as I make more good choices for myself and choose to live more fully and freely in joy.
Happiness to you:)