Now I’m no idiot! I know that if I never eat a slice of cake, bowl of ice cream, box of yummy Girl Scout cookies, bucket of fried chicken, box of truffles ever again, and eat only the “good” stuff, then I could lose these last 15 pounds without a sweat, but why in the world would I want to do that? What would life be like without all of that sugary greatness? For all of you who are trying to avoid the stuff because you too lack self-control, just hear me out. The worse thing that many of us can do is to go cold turkey. I have taken the cold turkey journey several times before only to find myself later speeding into a Dairy Queen parking lot on two wheels. Why is it that all of the things that are supposed to be so bad for us are so damn appealing and delicious? (That includes bad boys!)
The saying goes ‘we always want what we can’t have.’ I think that is rubbish or at least in this case. After all, it’s not the cake’s fault that I am addicted to its luscious layers. It’s not the chocolate chip cookie’s fault that I simply adore its inability to make up its mind on whether or not it wants to be chewy or crunchy, but sometimes it settles for chewy in the middle and crunchy on the edges and that’s cool too. I can’t help the fact that sometimes I pass the freezer section of my local grocery store several times in one visit just to see if the cookie dough ice cream wants to jump into my shopping cart and come home with me. Yeah, yeah, this is a sick obsession, but it’s fun. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m having a love affair with all kinds of dessert and after 28 years of crazy binges and sugar highs, I’m happy to report that we are still very much in love.
The moral of the story is that I’m now better able to handle my sugar cravings because I don’t hide behind them anymore. I changed my mindset. I know that sugar makes me feel better when I am depressed or angry, but most importantly I know that there are healthier options. So what if I want to have a cookie? If I’ve eaten well at least 80% of the day and feel that I’m in control, I will enjoy my cookie, but ONLY WHEN I’M IN CONTROL. That is how I am able to recognize whether or not my cravings are based on my emotions or because I really have a craving for it. I believe that when you are feeding your emotions, food loses its flavor. Think about the last time you sat down with your favorite box or bag of snacks and gobbled down the whole thing, do you remember what it tasted like after the first few bites? I have learned to tell myself that it is okay to eat one or two or half of something if I’m good with my calorie intake, but I have to find something else to do afterwards.
I’ve always wanted to be perfect and to eat perfectly, but I know that is not realistic. I am a pastry chef at heart and I not only love the way food tastes, I enjoy presenting it. I like the way chocolate mousse looks on a white porcelain plate decorated with fresh whipped cream and raspberries. I love the way food makes people feel and how it can bring family and friends together or make a grown man cry because it’s that dawg-on good. Why would I ever give that up?
So what are YOU going to do? Avoid attending every birthday party you’re invited to because there will be cake and ice cream? I promise you, once you are able to find your food groove and develop the power to take a bite of greatness, enjoy it, and move on to something healthier whether it’s taking a walk or playing piano, you will feel better about yourself. See, you can have your cake and eat it too!