Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guilt Comes Squished Between Both Sides of the Oreo

It's in a basket about ten feet away from where I sit at work, and it's taunting me. Its peanut-nougaty-chocolate goodness is the only thing around that will keep me from wanting to eat a pen cap until it's time for lunch. It will release those feel-good brain chemicals because I'm a woman and chocolate just makes us feel like that. It is a fun-sized Snickers bar, and it's going to make me feel guilty and dirty as soon as it hits my tongue.

I eat it anyway.

I am trying to get out of this habit of overwhelming myself with guilt if I want something sweet once in a while. In this age of carb counting, sometimes the real stuff has just as many grams as the sugar-free stuff, and I know the real stuff will taste better and be out of my system faster.

I can't silence my mother's/friend's/grandmother's well-meant advice in my mind: "Should you be eating that?" Way back in the day, before carb-counting was the norm, the answer was a resounding, firm "no". I remember in middle school my friend CJ (now the maid of honor for my wedding) threw a fit because I happened to sniff a candy wrapper I was throwing away for her. She probably shrieked something about my imminent death as well.

Being repressed from sweets and bad foods only leads you to cheating. That's just how I felt when it started sometime in high school. I tested my boundaries by buying chocolate milk in the lunch line because my usual group of watchdog friends all ate lunch at a different time than I did. Sometimes it was cookies from the vending machine, or maybe an ice cream sandwich. That broken record of guilt played over and over in my head: "Should you be eating that? Isn't that bad for you?" The grams of sugar smirked back at me from the nutrition label like the devil signing a deal.

It still feels like cheating. I still get strange looks from the people who know about my diabetes. But what I know now is that there's no private investigator watching to see what I sneak in my lunch bag. I know that the 37 grams of carbs in this bottled, sugared Frappucino are no different than the 37 grams of carbs in the 8-ounce sugar-free light yogurt I will eat with my lunch. Carbs are carbs, we count them, we bolus for them.

This is how it goes, and yet, I will always feel the pangs of guilt and always hear my mother's voice when I look at that Snickers bar instead of trying to chew some sugar-free gum until the urge to eat chocolate passes. I'm sorry, Mom. I don't think I can ever completely give up on chocolate.

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