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First of all, I would like to remind readers that today, Easter Sunday, is the last “candy” holiday until October 31st. Those extra displays we’ve been tripping over in the commissary are about to go away until fall, so the time is now to stock up on pastel M&Ms and chocolate bunnies.

I’ve been more indulgent than usual this year, repeatedly sneaking into the Easter treats hidden away for the boys. The reason, I think, is because of the sacrifice I made in observance of Lent.

I stopped going to Starbucks and Panera Bread and every other place that serves up mocha frappuccinos or any drink that resembles one. In simpler terms, I gave up my habit of slurping down oversized, chocolate- filled coffee drinks that look and taste like milkshakes.

The places that sell such drinks give them different fancy names so the customer doesn’t have to admit she’s just ordered a hot fudge sundae-in-a-cup, complete with whipped cream on top.

I knew the drinks were loaded with calories and tried to justify my actions by skipping lunch. Still, a mocha frappuccino is a far cry from a protein bar or Slim-Fast drink.

My habit had grown to include at least three of the smooth, chocolate concoctions per week by Valentine’s Day. It was pure decadence.

“Get a grip, Pam!” my conscience told me, but I didn’t listen.

Something had to be done, and along came Lent. I decided to give it a try, even though as a Southern Baptist/Presbyterian, I’m technically off the hook as far as having to observe the season through sacrifice.

My conscience reminded me that I had enjoyed plenty of Mardi Gras parties in the past and could certainly take part in the “less fun” part that comes after “Fat Tuesday.”

Resisting Starbucks became as much a part of my daily routine as doing laundry.

It took me a week or two before I realized why.

The minute I gave up my liquid lunches, I lost my will to resist anything made of chocolate. Nothing was more tempting than the colorful displays of Easter candy waiting to greet me in every retail store I walked into.

Most of my now-depleted stash of goodies came from the commissary because paying less for candy didn’t seem as bad as buying it at Wal-Mart.

As I walked the aisles, chocolate in all shapes and forms screamed out for my attention, and some of it wound up in my cart.

I even bought Yoo-Hoo for the first time in years, a 12-pack that I hid from the kids. Luckily, they sniffed it out within 24 hours, forcing me to share.

My behavior had become as out-of- control as Glory.

That is why, as I write, the only chocolate left in our kitchen is in the form of cocoa, Nestle Quik and chocolate chips. I’m trying to limit myself to one cup of hot chocolate a day.

After Easter, I’m going to allow myself to cross the threshold of Starbucks again, but I don’t intend to become the frequent visitor I was before Lent. I hope that knowing I can once again indulge myself at Starbucks will keep me from sneaking treats from the boys Easter baskets.

Just to be safe, I have decided to remind myself just how hard it would be to explain a one-eared Peter Rabbit to Ronnie. There’s an ugly image in my mind of the mangled chocolate bunny and Ronnie looking suspiciously from me to Glory … and back to me.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.

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