I did it. Twenty-one days without dessert. Not a single M&M passed these lips. (Read why I pledged to skip dessert for 21 days, and my progress reports posted on Day 4 & Day 10.

So how do I feel now?

SHOCKED

In a song, I feel like the tailor Motel Kamzoil from Fiddler on the Roof when he prances around the forest with Tzeitel singing “wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.”

I’m SHOCKED I didn’t quit. It IS a freaking miracle. Although once I got used to writing without a sugary snack I found the day hours doable, the after-dinner despair never quite went away. And yet I kept going. Why?

ACCOUNTABILITY

Yes, I felt more energetic some days. Yes, I felt a certain satisfaction knowing I was eating a little less than usual and perhaps losing a few pounds. According to my husband, other than the after-dinner blues/tantrum, I was generally in a better mood than usual. To quote him directly: “There’s a lot more sweetness coming out when there’s less sweet going in.” Of course he said that while eating ice cream.

But none of that (the energy, the better mood) kept me going day-to-day. The reason I lasted the entire three weeks is because I said I would on this blog. The idea of writing a post titled “I Couldn’t Do It” was too darn depressing.

Now don’t think my self-importance is too out of control. Throughout the three weeks, I realized nobody else genuinely cared whether I succeeded except for the few other people out there doing this with me. (Rachel, thank you for the supportive texts in my lowest moments!) Everyone has their own lives and we’re not talking world peace here. But knowing I’d write a post for the blog gave me extra motivation anyway. The public nature of it all (however modest my readership) made me reluctant to quit the way I normally would when things get tough.

SO NOW WHAT?

I’ve been asking myself that question for days. My original goal was to stop eating sugary crap all the time (a nosh here, a handful there–you know how it goes) and start enjoying a “treat” a few times a week. Now I know I can absolutely do that. But even if I ate some dark chocolate every night, I’d still be better off than I was before the 21 days.

Dare I say I successfully beat a bad habit? I suppose that’s easy to say on day 22. I’m optimistic though. I really am. Between the dessert “challenge” and honoring my pledge to write two pages of fiction a day, I’m starting to think this blog is becoming quite a little wonder/miracle/pixie-dust-sprinkler in my life.

Now to think of what challenge to give myself next! (It won’t be food related, I promise.)

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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, a writing workshop leader at ModernWell in Minneapolis, ModernWell's book club host, and the friendship columnist at The HerStories Project. She reviews 50 books a year on her blog and writes essays, short stories, and articles for other sites and print magazines. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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