Failing with Grace

Everybody fails at some point, so it is important to be prepared.

I started the year with high hopes of reducing my sugar intake as an intention to continue fasting with an eye toward health and justice. January was a good month. I got off to a bang, kept my sugars to 24 grams or less every day. I granted myself one sugar-added item, and one white flour item a week. Things were going great.

Then February happened. I do not know how once a week contingency turned into twice, then daily, then no-holds-barred sugar-fest. It happened, though. When things first started snow-balling, I was anxious, then guilty. By the time Valentine’s Day came along, I no longer cared. All of it took me seriously off guard.

I have failed. Miserably.

This was not a problem when I fasted from shopping.
This was not a problem when I fasted from eating meat.

Why is sugar so much harder?

I don’t know that I have an answer to that question. I have some theories, maybe even some contributing factors, but on the whole, I just have to take responsibility for the fact that I made a commitment and have not lived up to it.

So what do I do now that I have failed?

I could wallow. I could sit in misery and guilt and failure. Sometimes wallowing is fun, in a sick and twisted way that is totally unproductive…but still fun. A big part of me wants to call the whole thing off because it is just too hard. Then I remember that I ran my first half marathon in November, resulting in four black toenails that I see everyday, and realize that difficulty is not usually a factor for me in making or keeping commitments.

No wallowing, no giving up. I have to move forward.

I have decided to reboot my fast starting March 1st. I thought about rebooting for Lent, but I knew I wasn’t in the right head space. I have been sick and my routine has been based mainly on convenience instead of intentionality. Reboot too soon, and I know I will find myself in the same place a month or two down the road.

I need a plan. I have to be organized. Some things in my routine and in my family schedule have to shift so that I can maintain my fast.

I could also use some support, so if you would like to join me in fasting from added sugar just send me an email or leave a comment below. The original terms of the fast can be found in My 2015 Fast.

Basically, I am avoiding added refined sugars by reading labels, going without, or substituting natural sugars. I will be following the recommendation of the American Heart Association to keep added sugars to 24 grams (6 teaspoons) per day. This is not a diet. I am giving up something that I obviously depend on way too much for comfort and convenience. I am hoping to add health to my body, and to add to the peace of my soul by seeking solace in the ultimate source of Peace.

Failing with Grace means knowing that no matter what happened yesterday (or even this morning, for that matter) I can start again. I can walk without guilt or shame, and continue moving forward.

Now that’s ReFreshing!

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on..”
Philippians 3:13b-14a


6 thoughts on “Failing with Grace

  1. Hi Charity! I’ve been pondering your post and considering joining you. I have recognized recently that even when I cut calories and eat what I was considering “healthy” my sugar content  it still quite high! Would you be willing to share a sample of what you eat in a day and how you are going about counting your sugar? I already try to limit the amount of processed foods i eat and watch my overall saturated fat due to genetic cholesterol issues…

    Anyway, mostly I  wanted to say thank you for your openness and encouragment. I appreciate your acknowledgment of being able to “break” fast on occasion in order to eat with your fsmipy and receive hospitality graciously. These are aleays areas that concern me about such fasts. 

    I pray that You have a peaceful day. 

    Anna Cyr

    — Sent from Mailbox

    On Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 2:24 PM, ReFreshing Life

    • Hi Anna!
      Here is what breakfast looks like for me today. I am having an apple, which I don’t even try to estimate sugars on since it is totally natural with fiber and good things intact. I am also having coffee, naturally sugar-free, with unsweetened almond milk. I will have a toasted english muffin, which depending on the variety will have 1-2 grams of sugar, spread with almond butter which has 3 grams of sugar per 2TBSP serving. Total sugar in this breakfast=4-5 grams.
      For lunch I think I will have a bean burrito. The whole wheat tortilla has 2 grams, the refried beans have 1 gram per 1/2 cup, the salsa has 1 gram per 2TBSP, and the cheese has none. I will have some veggies as well, maybe carrots and celery or broccoli, all of which are free. So lunch will be another 4-5 grams, depending on if I go overboard with the salsa.
      For supper we will probably have home-made macaroni and cheese with peas. The pasta has 2 grams per serving, and lets face it at 3/4 cup I will have 2 servings. We use velveeta (I know, processed food alert), butter, and almond milk for the sauce. The cheese has 2 grams per 1/4 inch slice. I would have to estimate here and say we use about 2 inches in our sauce, about 2 servings each, so 4 grams. That leaves supper with a total of 8 grams.
      This all totals to 18 grams, well under the 24 grams recommended by the American Heart Association.
      Sneaky places to find sugar: pasta sauce, bread, sweetened yogurt (buy the plain and sweeten yourself with honey and fruit, you will never put in as much as they do), marinades, salad dressing, flavor-injected meats, lunch meat, breakfast cereal, low-fat milk products.
      I can’t use artificial sweeteners because they all trigger migraine, so I look for naturally unsweetened or low-sugar foods. Some mornings I have a smoothie with plain whole fat greek yogurt, frozen berries, a banana and 100% natural orange juice. In that, I would only count the sugar from the orange juice since even the natural kind tends to be concentrated.
      My rule of thumb for counting sugars is simply to count anything that has a label. Apples don’t have nutrition labels, so I don’t count them. Orange juice has a label, so I do count the sugars there. There are a lot of great resources on the web for sugar-free or low-sugar recipes. I found some good ones on
      I hope you will join me. Let me know how it goes!

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