When I was younger, the limit to how much candy I could eat was simply how much I could keep in my little stomach. Don’t worry, my parents were very careful never to let me get to that point — but that didn’t stop me from trying. Every Halloween I’d sneak away with a bag of candy only to be caught and thoroughly castigated by my watchful parents.
I couldn’t help but remember those times as I contemplated what to give up for Lent this year. A vice that this wonderful internship has only accentuated is my love of candy — I literally eat chocolate for breakfast these days. My initial thought was that I could give up candy, but that quickly proved impractical. Rule one of any kind of lifestyle change is to remove all temptation — an impossibility when candy is sometimes more available than water in my office.
So, then I decided on eating less candy. Of course, the day after I made this decision, my editor, Crystal Lindell, came back from a conference with a shoebox filled with chocolate and other confections. She presented it to me with her trademark cheer and told me to enjoy. How could I disobey a command from my editor? The resulting feast was catastrophic.
I learned something from this little adventure, however. When indulging in “premium” or “gourmet” candy, I tended to consume less. Part of this had to do with simple quantity — there was less of the “premium” stuff, and I tended to want to save some for later. But part of it also had to do with the sense of waste in gobbling up the higher-end confections. It would be like eating quality sushi without chewing or otherwise allowing the senses to engage with the food. I find myself lingering over a nice piece of chocolate like others languidly savor wine. The result is a lot less candy consumed — and a lot happier stomach.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not bashing the “regular” candies of the world. I enjoy a good packet of Skittles probably almost as much as Marshawn Lynch (see the news story on the Skittles-loving football player here) — I’m just saying that if I had a lifetime supply of SkittlesI’d probably need a refill every two days. If I surrounded myself in “high-end” candy, however, I’d probably be able to make it a week before I needed more.
Perhaps that is the secret to me making it through this Lenten season though. If I can’t avoid candy (and who would want to), I’ll surround myself with a certain kind of candy, so that I won’t gorge too much. Of course that means cutting back on other kinds of confections, which is a shame. Maybe I’ll just give up vegetables instead.