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Sweet seduction: Valentine's Day temptations

Whether you're snuggling close with your sweetie at the movies, or you doubt the merits of all this Valentine's Day mush, the challenges of a Hallmark holiday can strain the discipline of even the most determined person. When boxes of chocolates appear in every store window, and someone hands you a dish of Candy Hearts bearing messages such as "Be Mine" and "Tweet Me," how easy is it for you to just say no?

The emotional link between good times and sweet treats begins early in life. For some, candy or soda pop was the reward offered for being "good," quiet or out-of-the-way. For others, a piece of cake is sheer comfort. And heaven is a plate-full of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Later in life the pattern continues, reflected in the sensual language used to describe our desire for instant gratification. That gooey chocolate cake looks quite tempting. The box of See's isn't simply sitting on the table. It's trying to seduce you into peeling off the cellophane and lifting the cover.

Under certain circumstances, our resistance to sugary enticements can take on mythic dimensions. You don't want to hurt your lover's (or your friend's or your mother's) feelings, which seem to pivot on whether or not you accept their sweet offering. For some this is a willpower test of Biblical proportions.

Except when you have Lyme disease, and you know that indulging comes with a price. Remember how much it hurts to herx? That's all it takes. Just think back to the brain fog and headaches, or the last time your knees ached non-stop, or when even the satin sheets felt like sandpaper on your hypersensitive skin.

If you have an urge for some sweetness in your life, instead of splurging on a dessert try this: give yourself a present. A little luxury doesn't have to cost a lot, and it's a powerful way to help break a pattern you might have established in childhood. Sugar doesn't equal happiness. Buy tickets to a movie you've been wanting to see. Curl up with a new mystery novel and a cup of ginger tea sweetened with stevia. Call a friend. Rent a comedy. Pop some popcorn and pass it around, but when it comes to Valentine's candy, think about how really great you'll continue to feel if you simply say no thanks. And that will be the icing on the cake.
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