For Lent this year I gave up sugar (hey, it was either that or wine.) For six weeks, I ate nothing but sugar in its natural forms, so oranges and melon slices were dessert.
It's not as fun as it sounds. Sugar is an addiction, I found - at night, after dinner, I fantasized about chocolate, ice cream, and even just a Murray's Mint. Glumly, I went to peel myself another clementine instead.
At other houses I was offered cake, brownies, cookies... and I had to politely decline. That was hard, especially when other guests grabbed the goodies and dug in, uttering cries of enjoyment.
And the most cruel thing? None of this dreadful deprivation changed my waistline. My scales stubbornly remained on the same number, even though I was foregoing dessert and exercising every day; thank you very much, post-menopausal hormones.
At the same time, in order to really scourge the flesh, I gave up computer games. I'm not a big gamer by any means - no WoW, no Assassin's Creed - but I do enjoy a quick turn at solitaire and Hidden Object mindless nonsense after a long day of writing, editing, and being a mom.
The six weeks passed, and on Easter I joyfully indulged in peeps and Malteaser bunnies. That night, I played some silly games before I went to bed.
And then the insomnia kicked in.
Somehow, so subtly that I hadn't noticed it, my sleeping patterns had smoothed out during the sugar- and game-free time. I was sleeping at least eight hours a night.
That changed as soon as I put sugar and a glowing screen back in the mix. Sleeplessness came back, with the jolting memory of what it was like to wake up at 3 am and not be able to go back to sleep.
It continued until yesterday, when I decided to give up sugar and night gaming again. And guess what? I slept sweetly for nine hours.
I can still see Thornton's chocolates in my future, but perhaps only once a week. Friday could be my sweet night. My games will have to move to the middle of the day, if I play at all; my nighttime companion will be a book - in print.