January Goal: Achieved.

2 Feb

Well, friends, I made it. Survived one entire month without sweets of any sorts. It was rough. Especially last week. The culmination of busyness at work, that time of the month, tiredness, and sickness made me want to punch someone and steal their ice cream. But I didn’t.

The past couple days, I’ve been thinking over whether this goal achieved its intended purpose or not, which was to destroy my intense craving for sweets at all hours of the day for part of every meal. And I have to be honest, last week I was convinced that this whole goal was one big waste of willpower.

But then this week came. And the idea of getting to eat chocolate today was like Meh. I woke up this morning and stumbled to the bathroom with one eye half open, and then I remembered, it’s over. I can eat sweets again.

I stumbled to the kitchen where the thawed Triple Decker Brownies that I had kept in the freezer since New Years were sitting. And to be honest, I didn’t really want one. But I have been waiting for this moment the entire month of January – it’s the Day of Chocolate!

So I got out a plate and made the breakfast of champions:

I ate the dark chocolate square first. It was chocolate but it didn’t explode in my mouth like I had fantasized for 30 days.

Then I started eating the brownie. And I realized that what I was doing was ridiculous. Not only was I eating chocolate for breakfast, I wasn’t even enjoying it. So I bagged up the other half of the brownie and the chocolate cherry for later. As I drank my coffee and ate a piece of peanut butter toast, my stomach was doing flip-flops – not in the elated, I can’t believe we get to eat chocolate again! way but in the What the f? What is this crap? way.

{Don’t worry, I still ate the other half of the brownie and chocolate cherry for my morning snack, and instead of the salad and butternut squash lasagna I so carefully packed, I ate a Cinnamon Crunch bagel with Honey Walnut cream cheese from Panera for lunch. Now my stomach is really confused angry.}

All that to say…

It was cutting it close but I think that my goal finally had its intended effect. That time of the month aside (because we all know that we can’t be held accountable for our actions then), I think that my craving for sweets has decreased to a normal, sane amount.

In fact, I’m not even planning to get Yogurtland tonight.

I know, I know. Who am I?

The reason being that I’m going to run 5 miles and do my physical therapy exercises. And Travis is meeting with guys from church. And I don’t want to drive all the way to Yogurtland by myself. And it’s supposed to be a blizzard tonight after work. And I don’t want my stomach to go on strike for being mistreated.

What I Learned:

This experience has taught me that I do have the willpower to resist sweets. I can never use lack of willpower as an excuse again. I will have to admit that I ate the bowl of ice cream because I wanted it more than I wanted a flat stomach or a stable blood sugar. (That’s been the truth all along anyway.)

I also learned that I turned to sweets of all kinds (including soda…who knew?) for comfort and indulgence. When I come home from a stressful or tiring day, and just want to relax, food is where I turn – because it’s fast, easy, and gratifying. I tried to think of other ways to achieve the same effect but I don’t like baths because relaxing against a cement wall isn’t my idea of a good time. Walks are just more work. Reading and TV are better with food so that’s not it either. I guess I’m left with trying to tame the beast.

Where I Go from Here:

This goal reminded me of why I believe in Intuitive Eating (IE). The main idea of IE is that you give yourself permission to eat whatever you want. There are only two rules in IE: Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. The authors believe that when we classify foods as “bad” and “good,” food ends up exerting power over us. But when you ditch the classifications and allow yourself to have whatever you want as long as you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, food loses it power – because you know you can have it anytime you want.

With this goal, I took away that freedom. I couldn’t eat sweets when I craved them and found myself trying to fill the void with other food. This comic from Cathy sums it up beautifully:

This is exactly what the authors of IE  say – you end up eating more food and calories trying to satisfy your true craving in a “healthy” way than you would if you just ate what you truly wanted. And I really found that to be true. When I wanted something sweet after dinner, instead of being able to satisfy myself with a 35-calorie Dove chocolate, I would eat 250 calories of Pirate’s Booty or a bowl of cereal. So if you’re wondering if I lost any weight doing this challenge, sadly, no I did not. 😦

Now that the month of no sweets is over, I’m going back to giving myself the freedom to eat sweets when I’m truly craving them. But I am not going back to the licentiousness I had before I did this challenge. Then, I ate whatever was sitting out or free, whether I really wanted it or not. I exercised hardly any discretion (which is what led me to my sugar addiction in the first place). Now, I would like to be more intentional and make every choice count. If I eat a piece of chocolate cake, it better be just about the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. If I eat ice cream, it better be my favorite flavor or served on top of a gooey, still-warm brownie. That’s one rule I try to follow regarding what I eat in general: If you don’t love it, don’t eat it (even if that means throwing out “perfectly good food”).

I would like to preserve my body’s sugar shock as long as possible. It always make me feel good (and yet at the same time, feel horrible) when I’ve been eating healthy for long enough that my body freaks out when I give it unhealthy food. I must be doing something right. 

Have you ever ransacked the cupboard trying to satisfy a craving?

4 Responses to “January Goal: Achieved.”

  1. Lisa February 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m impressed! It sounds like you learned a lot during the past month. I totally admit to using food, and more specifically sweets, for comfort. I love pie and sugar and chocolate, and I do probably eat some form of sweets everyday. I feel like I should try and cut back, but right now it doesn’t seem to have negative impacts on my health or weight so I have a hard time seeing why I should quit sweets, you know? Ah well, my husband is always telling me I eat insane amounts of sugar so maybe someday I will listen. I just don’t want to be held captive by food which is never fun. Good post!

  2. lindacee February 5, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    Wow! Great job 🙂
    Please don’t get me started on cravings!! Chocolate, salami, pizza, green olives, these are my diet downfalls and it doesn’t matter how I avoid them or tell myself I’m just going to eat a little, it doesn’t work! (sigh) maybe I have no willpower? But I must because I walk by them in the store all the time, it’s just when they’re actually in the house that I can’t (well, I could, but I don’t) help myself.
    Seriously! I love this blog, you always talk about things that matter (and somehow I always leave with a new determination to eat better :))

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Eating Plan for Lent « - February 22, 2012

    […] since my January goal of not eating sweets ended, my eating has been kind of haphazard. I do really well until about 4:00 and then the wheels fall […]

  2. 2012 Goals: End-of-Year Review « - January 2, 2013

    […] Update 1   |    Update 2    |   Update 3    |   Conclusion […]

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