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the sweet seduction of half-off Valentine’s day candy

Posted Feb 15 2012 11:52pm

Any self-respecting sugar addict (like myself) loves the day after a major holiday. It’s not just trinkets and cards and useless gifts imprinted with holiday logos that go on sale. It’s the candy too. It’s cheap, and if you get in early, the getting is good.

I’m going to tell you a little story. I used to have the market cornered on half-off post-holiday candy. Not only do I love sugar, but I also love a sale, so I was pretty much blissed out when I’d score a bag of conversation hearts for $.50 or a box of Russel Stover chocolates for 2 bucks. Guess how long my low-cost loot usually lasted me? If you said anything over an hour or two you seriously underestimate the power of my sugar addiction!

It didn’t dawn on me that this was abnormal or even potentially harmful (to my health) behavior until 2004. I guess you could say I was growing up. On February 28th, 2004 I did something totally obscene: I vowed to give up all candy for Lent (PS: I”m not even Catholic, I just liked the idea of the challenge). Maybe I was coming down from my post V-day candy bender and realized that if I didn’t count the candy corn and tropical fruit skittles, my diet was a little shy I the veggies. Maybe I was just sick of shamelessly throwing away the empty cellophane reminants of a pound of licorice that was consumed in the time it took to watch a re-run of “Beverly Hills 90210″.

I can tell you exactly what made that day the last day I ever had a piece of candy, but it was. I entered my Lenten fast still digesting the belly full of gummy candied orange slices, mind you, and that was my proverbial last candy meal.

Whenever I see the post-holiday sales for candy, I still think about buying a bag. The lizard brain in me, still hard-wired to love, love, love all things sugary and sweet, still responds. Sometimes I even go look at it. Seriously. I know it’s lame, but there is at times a feeling of loss. Candy was my righ-hand-man for most of my life. It was the little joy that I could pop in my mouth when I was angry, bored, happy, bored, frustrated, bored, lonely, busy, bored…..you get the idea!

I guess I’m writing this in part to share a little more of myself with you, but also to offer hope to those of who I might have rubbed elbows with in the discount candy aisle. If you are still in the throws of the candy addiction (or whatever sugar addiction), I feel for you in a big way, and I am your compadre. I understand that sometimes you just need to eat a giant box of Mike and Ike’s to get through your afternoon. I hear you. I love you. I am you, just another version.

Maybe this year will be the year that you decide ‘enough is enough’ and you release the grip the white stuff has on you, in one way or another. I can’t say that candy was it for me. I’m still a work in progress (currently working on releasing artificially sweetened beverages like Coke Zero and sweetened bubbly water), but I keep focusing on “progress” as the operative word.

PS: for those who are wondering – dark chocolate does NOT count as candy to me. It was never my addiction. I like it, but can’t mow through a bar of dark chocolate like I can the pure sugar based candy. I was probably the only kid who eagerly traded her Halloween Snicker’s bars and Reeses for a Dum-Dum lollipop or a pack of Smarties. Oh, and no matter how many years go by, I can still recall the taste of every one of my favorite candies. Lizard brain….lizard brain


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