Before I left for Iowa for the holidays I discovered Discipline. It started with Willpower, who is a cousin of Discipline, I believe on the paternal side.

I catered a private holiday party somewhere in the Union Square area. There were desserts, trays and trays and trays of desserts. Ginger snap ice cream sandwiches, Bite-mallows, mini fried apple pies, peppermint soliders. I remember all these desserts in detail. The way the light hit the chocolate glaze of the Bite-mallow, how the ginger snap cookies favored melting toward the left. The crispy flakes left behind by the apple pie.

My Midwestern woman instincts went into full gear and I mercilessly hounded the guests into a sugar coma. “OMG you haven’t tried the peppermint soliders! Everyone is talking about them!” “Sir, I saw you eyeing the ice cream sandwiches. I saved one for you.”

You see, I had to do it. I had to get them to eat all the dessert, because it was a long walk from the party upstairs to the make-shift kitchen in the den, and during that walk, temptation sprouted from those trays like emails from a listerv you swear you’ve unsubscribed from over and over again.

“No.” I told the dessert. “First of all, I feel like I’m getting a cold, so it’s really important to keep this poison out of my body.”

Pretty soon King Dessert fell from his throne. As the night went on, and I managed to get by without mindlessly popping mini fried apple pies with farmhouse cheddar into my mouth like a whale, yawning, and passing through a school of fish, my confidence rose to new levels. I unabashedly checked my phone in front of the boss. I let someone catch me looking at myself in a mirror. I convinced a party guest to buy me a sensible car.

And that confidence stayed with me for a full two weeks. I didn’t need sugar! So I gave up alcohol too. Pretty soon I was jumping out of bed in the morning and praising the day without the aid of coffee. I would have been checking things off my to-do list like mad, but I didn’t need to make a list because I was just DOING productive things without thinking. I smiled a lot. Struck up conversations with strangers, and friends too. You see I’m a textbook introvert, and I don’t really like conversations because they make me tired.

That willpower turned into discipline. And I was saying No to things that didn’t make me feel good, and Yes to things that did.

Then the holidays hit full force and I went back to Iowa, and I moved into the third week of my menstrual cycle, so I had to step out of my mind and body and let a demon live there for a bit.

Now, here I am back in NYC. Trying to find routine again. It’s okay, I’ll get there. I now know what its like to not feel so tired for once in my life, and that it all stems from willpower, discipline and eating things in moderation.