Only one week left of my sugar fast and Heather is here once again to strengthen my resolve not to eat the entire bag of frozen blondies that are sitting in my freezer. It wouldn’t do to make up for the entire month of missed sweets in a single week, now would it? I must have a plan for re-entering the world of sweets, and I like the way Heather thinks about this issue.
There I was, driving home from dinner with friends, pondering my latest sugar transgression (pie and ice cream) and wondering what on earth I was going to do. Had I really lost the battle for my self-control? Had I failed at this whole experiment? Would I have to admit defeat to my internet audience and cheering squad and walk away with my head hung in shame?
While lamenting all this to my husband, he reminded me of last week’s post and urged me to think positively, which worked, of course. It worked so well, in fact, that it was like one of those cartoon light bulbs turning on over my head and my whole future relationship with sweets was laid out before me. See, I decided not to think of eating the pie as a failure, but as an occasion. It would have been rude of me to refuse to eat the delicious dessert made especially for us, so instead I had a small piece of pie and a small scoop of ice cream. Amazingly, I was satisfied with that. I got to enjoy my dessert and not feel like I over did it. Yes, this was an occasion and I am now determined to eat all sweets occasionally.
There are lots of other plans for limiting sweets which I highly recommend you consider. Just for fun, here’s a list:
1) Only eat sweets on even numbered days (FYI there are fewer even numbered days in the year than odd)
2) Only eat sweets outside your home (support your local bakery, ice cream parlor, baklava joint)
3) Only eat sweets with guests (what a great incentive for making new friends)
4) Only eat sweets with dinner (it’s good for your dental hygiene, too)
5) Only eat sweets on days that begin with S (Saturday, Sunday, and Special days– or occasions)
These are some great ideas, but I’ve found that I quickly abandon rigid rules for my behavior (case in point, three days of ice cream in a row during my month of not eating sweets…). Which is the main reason that I’m adopting the occasionally rule for eating sweets. If there’s an occasion, I can eat sweets. Dinner with friends, date night, potty training successes, girls’ night, baking with my daughter— all occasions. Nap time, a trip to the grocery store, putting the kids to bed, being hungry and needing to eat real food–definitely not occasions.
And just to make sure I stick to this new plan, I’ve come up with a list of things to do on non-occasions to occupy my mind and body until I can get past a craving. These include stretching, reading, being creative, calling a friend, preparing a meal. I suggest you make your own list. Post it somewhere prominent. Give yourself star stickers when you do well. Do whatever it takes to feel successful.
I can hardly wait to move forward with this, and I hope you’re excited for your own goals as well, whatever they may be. This last month has been full of self-discovery and revelations, but it’s time to move on. And I don’t know about you, but I’m already dreaming up all sorts of occasions. What celebratory lives are ahead of us!
P.S. Here are a few more resources for more sensible sweet-eating:
Recipes for Health from NYTimes— including a whole set of new healthier, gluten-free, dessert crumbles
Kraft Healthy Living desserts— chocolate mousse anyone?
101 Cookbooks— despite the sugar-free baking fiasco, she still has quite a cache of healthier desserts
Oprah’s healthy substitutes— love the tip about substituting milk powder for some of the sugar in baking
The government’s healthy substitutes— a slightly more exhaustive and less fun list than Oprah’s
ps Heather, will you make that cake again and send it to me? We’ve got some birthdays next week and I could really use some help!