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Christmas is Coming and I'm Getting Rather Fat

30th November, 2020

And this time it's not just because of the food, though that's one of the ingredients, pardon the pun, here. I'm also expecting our third baby. Yes, for all you lovely readers who don't yet know, I'm happy to say we have Tiny 3 on the way... This partly explains why I haven't been writing for a long time, combined with extra stress during Covid and reduced childcare. And then the usual block which everyone has at re-starting a project which they have unwittingly abandoned. Anyway, I'm now protruding forwards, mainly, but also a little side to side. I am not one of those women who are 'only bump.' So I thought I'd write today about my abstinence from sugar, preparations for Christmas and a newborn, all in one. I'll probably just get to the bit about sugar.

If, like me, you have a sweet tooth, you'll relate to the regular cravings for something sweet: after a meal, between meals, as part of socialising, as a treat after a hard bout of work and, sometimes, first thing in the morning. Or rather often, in fact. I've never understood people who haven't possibly been able to digest chocolate before 11am. Do they not know it's an intrinsic part of a pain au chocolat?

I realised my sugar addiction some years back, when I used to carry sugar lumps in my pocket to 'pop' if I got grumpy. And then again, in teaching, when I used sugar as a way of motivating myself to get marking done, or boosting myself in a 'free' and pushing myself through the Winter months. I noticed that most collegaues didn't do this; indeed, they usually looked forward to a glass of wine in the evening to see them through the book-marking, where I would line up a Cadbury's bar next to my fountain pen, instead.

So fast forward to 2020, a very strange year indeed, and I decided something ought to be done. I could see that my sugar consumption wasn't good - either for the waist line, or as an example to the Tinies. So I read Allen Carr's Good Sugar, Bad Sugar and I've written about this in another post. And I was doing well, really well, until I had a hamper delivered containing a box of Milk Tray and other things. I fell off the wagon, immediately. And what a fall it was!

And it's the Milk Tray that's done it again. Last Friday was my birthday and I had, until then, successfully weaned myself off the white stuff by re-reading Carr's book and being re-inspired. But, on delivery of the Milk Tray, by a friend and neighbour, that little box of delights lured me in. And the lid came off, metaphorically and literally. I devoured almost the entire top tray and only stopped to make a cup of tea. Luckily, by that point, the sugar crash was starting and I didn't want anymore. But ever since, I've succumbed to sweet things: the rest of the chocolates, obviously, rice pudding, a gingerbread latte, gingerbread biccies, hot chocolate, chai lattes and a mocha.

But here's the thing: I still want to get back on the wagon. I want to get through this Christmas declining sweet 'treats' AND to the end of my pregnancy - because the greatest challenge is when the baby is born, I'm breastfeeding and my chocolate cravings go through the ozone layer. So I'm partly writing this to chivvy myself along.

So I'll outline some of the benefits of coming off sugar. The first, and rather astonishing one, was an improvement in my skin. Within about 4, I saw a visible improvement, which was enough of an added bonus to keep me going. It could have been the lack of sugar or the increase in fruit to substitue the sugar, I'm not sure. It didn't matter; I was incentivised.

Then, the more subtle improvement in mood swings followed. I noticed fewer dips in energy and a little less rattiness. I say a little, because my children still wake in the night and I think that gives me license to be a little ratty. But the rattiness was rather reduced.

And then, finally, the cravings stopped and I felt a sense of triumph as I walked past the sweets and chocolates and various other bits in the shops, wiping the dust off my feet as I passed them by. Adios, amigos.

So that's been my sugar journey and I'd love to hear from you readers if you've experienced anything similar. I'm now reading Pure, White and Deadly, to try and give me the push I need to get me through Christmas. And now onto Christmas preparations...

This year I've felt a huge urge to purge, purge, purge. I think it's part of a nesting second-trimester thing and it's also an urgent feeling I have inside to get as much out of the house as possible before Tiny 3 arrives. Because T3, as you know, will be arriving with much stuff. This will comprise of the usual baby gear - car seat, pram, bouncer, Bumbo, nappy stuff - and then the generous presents from people and the endless amount of washing. All this combined means I need more SPACE. I'll also need more space to breathe because I'll experience the claustraphobia of being in rather a lot with a nursing baby. (Oooh, but I'm excited to be in that 'baby bubble' again, I am. Just as Lockdown lifts and people start coming out, I shall be retreating...).

Back to Christmas. I've realised my approach to the festive season is the same as for the baby: get stuff out of the house. There will be decorations, a tree, lights, candles and, then, gifts. New toys will appear and generous presents for the children from people I didn't even anticipate would gift anything. Usually it takes me till around the end of February to recover from the extra stuff. But this time I won't have any bandwidth in January and Feb to recover from Christmas because I will be heavy and big and tired. So it all has to go.

This is rather a problem with Lockdown. Most people miss the cafes and shops and restaurants and socialising, but I miss the charity shops. I miss being able to drop off my surplus stuff with gay abandon and leave, lighter. Now I have to contend with the clothes collection bin in the car park opposite and selling things on Ebay. I've been rather unsucessful with the latter. Things have either not sold or sold for rather a small amount, which is a bit deflating. When you factor in the faff of printing labels, putting things in packages and going to the post office, you wonder why you're doing it. But I did finally, finally sell my hanging chair and reluctantly relinquish a part of my twenties - and that was easy because someone came around to get it

Not much more to say on the decluttering theme. I'll attach a pic of Baby 3, who looks just like Michael, as all our children seem to do as babies. As my auntie said, good job I married someone handsome!

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