Wednesday, December 11, 2013

11 dessert-less days

Today is the 11th day in a row I have not had dessert in any form, from candy to ice cream, eggnog or cookies. I have never gone this long without my favorite food group, but with the way I’ve been eating lately, especially around Thanksgiving, I knew something had to be done.


I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to go cold turkey or even just cut back on my junk food-loving ways. I’ve never followed through like this before - mostly because I didn’t really have an actual plan in place and I was doing it alone, which meant only I was holding myself accountable, and my self-control is pretty pathetic when food is involved.


This time I decided to force include Jared in my little scheme, and it has helped immensely. I guess I do better when I can bring people down to my level to suffer with me:)

First of all, this isn’t some temporary attempt to try to lose weight or anything like that. I am trying to make lifestyle changes by developing healthier, realistic habits I can maintain long-term.
For me, though, getting started on something like this has to be all or nothing. After I realize I’m completely fine without certain things, I am hoping I will learn to treat them as, well, treats, instead of constant staples in my diet. 

However, you’ll notice I won’t be giving up all sugar because for me that would be too extreme – I still need my peanut butter and Greek yogurt – and I will never realistically be able to maintain that. I just don’t want to spend my life counting the grams of sugar in every single thing I put in my mouth.

December is both the best and worst month to do this. Normally between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am constantly inhaling all kinds of goodies and justifying it because “it’s the holidays!” 
This means daily eggnog frozen yogurt as long as it’s available, caramel corn, various baked goods from pumpkin bread to red velvet cupcakes, glasses upon glasses of eggnog and hot chocolate with the works, plus comfort foods like pizza, pasta and all those other yummy white carbs. I am both glad and sad to not be giving in to all of these indulgences.

So, here’s how it works:

Jared and I each set a goal to achieve for each week of the month. It can be giving up a certain food or food group or committing to a daily healthy habit, like drinking a certain amount of water or doing a certain exercise. The next week we choose a different goal, but we have to maintain the goal(s) from the previous week as well.

If we follow through each week, we get a (non-food and inexpensive) reward. If one person does not follow through, not only does he/she not get a reward, the other person gets two.

Three exceptions (because I get to choose the rules and I am weak and love holiday food too much to pass it up completely): Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve – anything goes:)

Starting Dec. 1 we both gave up desserts. This was much harder for me, but it won’t exactly be a walk in the park for Jared as the month goes on. We both followed through (even after I entered The Cheesecake Factory just to stare at and drool over all of the cheesecakes on display), and we also both chose free, healthy rewards for the week. We haven't had the time to actually receive them yet, but mine will be a nice, long back rub from Jared, and his will be a foot rub from me. I’m pretty sure I'll be getting the better end of that deal.

Starting Dec. 8, I have given up white flour and potatoes.  When I buy bread or tortillas I get whole wheat, but my weaknesses in this area are things like crackers, pizza, burgers with white buns and fries! Don’t worry, though – I got my fill of them last week since I knew it’d be a few weeks until I could have them again. So far, so good for me, but the week’s barely half over. Jared has committed to daily push-ups. I haven’t yet thought of my reward choice yet, but I plan to make it  a good one!

How I’m feeling:

I just want my chocolate fix! 

If you haven't figured it out by now, yes, you should expect to see something Tina Fey-related in the majority of my posts.

I am going through a lot of gum to keep my mouth busy and make cravings a little less appetizing. It has not been easy, but it honestly hasn’t been as hard as I thought either. It is also very eye-opening to recognize all the times during a single week I would normally indulge in something:

“My favorite ice cream is on sale at Target? I can’t not get it!”

“I need something sweet to round off my dinner – better make some cookies!”

“I’m getting restless sitting at my desk at work – better go wander around the skyway until I find something delicious to devour!”

“ I want something to munch on as I watch TV and dink around on my computer – Reeses peanut butter cups to the rescue!”

I felt a small sense of pride (sad) for not actually giving in to all of these thoughts that pop into my head during any given day. Sure, giving in like this is fine every once in a while, but every day? Habits like that are not setting me up for much of a future, healthwise.

I am also feeling less bloated. You know that icky feeling after you have dessert, or just something dessert-y loaded with empty calories, and you can tell you’re not really full – just big and puffy?  I haven’t had to experience that in 11 days, and it has been nice. I will never be one of those people you want to punch when they say they prefer fruit over a brownie, but I do hope to become the type of person who will make the smarter choice 90…okay, 80 percent of the time.

about halfway through this challenge, I can at least say I am enjoying the fun competition between me and Jared and learning more about when and why my weak moments occur and how to make positive changes without feeling deprived. Wish me luck for the rest of the month!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a really great healthy way to make changes!