Refined sugar is addictive. When I eat less of it, I feel calmer and happier. But then the siren song of the baklava, or the homemade pineapple upside-down cake, lures me back. And I eat sugar again.
And then my body craves it and demands more and more.
I’m never going to live a sugar-free life. I wouldn’t want to. The energy spike (before the fall), the pleasure that’s gone almost before I’ve tasted it–especially when I’m sharing with others, these are true joys and not ones I’m gonna phase out.
But I do want to minimize. Because I don’t like where the sugar roller coaster leaves me.
My Facebook cravings are like my sugar cravings. If I don’t go on for a while, I forget about it. I don’t want or need it.
But when I do go on, my heart rate picks up. I have a surge of joy to see that my friends are happy, are procreating, are vacationing. This is followed by a surge of jealousy, envy, and guilt at my jealousy and envy.
The solution to both of these dilemmas? Selective enjoyment.
When I was little, my mom told me not to stand in front of the open refrigerator door staring at what was inside. “First, choose what you want,” she said. “Then open the door and take it out. And then close the door. It saves energy.”
I’m trying to apply this principle to eating sugar and checking Facebook. I could use some extra energy.
Ideally, I’ll decide to bake a particular recipe, eat some of the resulting deliciousness, and bring the rest to work.
Or, again ideally, I’ll decide to check on what a particular friend is up to, send them a quick hello, and then hop off again.
We’re hard-wired like rats in the lab to be vulnerable to sugar and to social media.
Wandering the candy aisle, or wandering onto Facebook because I have 10 free minutes, both leave me feeling achy, sad, and lonely.
Which is an illusion. And not the kind I wish to cultivate.
Isn’t it strange how what we eat, and what we read, have powers beyond the caloric and the verbal?