Wednesday, March 2, 2011
#8: Did Dessert Die?
When I decided to give up dessert during the month of February, I wasn't sure I could do it.
I knew telling friends and family would help and that announcing it on my blog would take it one step further. I purged the ice cream, cookies, and M&Ms from my house. I gave myself two cheat days so I wouldn't feel like a complete failure if I fell off the wagon. I continued with the Made to Crave Read-Along. I did whatever I could in January to stack the deck toward success.
I'm happy that February is over but I'm even happier to say that I did it. I, the dessert-oholic, didn't have any sugary sweet treat for a whole month. And you know what else? I didn't even miss it that much.
Yes, it was hard watching friends indulge. It was hard passing up on the cookies a patient made. It definitely wasn't easy bypassing the Girl Scout cookies in the break room. As the month continued though, I realized I really didn't need or want that stuff. I also realized the unhealthy hold dessert had on me.
So yes, it was hard to say no at times but it was also freeing. There was no guilt, no mindless indulgence. From here on out, a treat will indeed be a rare treat and more enjoyable that way.
As far as results, I had shared my weight when I started out the month. I ended up losing one pound and lost one inch around my stomach. Not very dramatic but a change nonetheless. Do I feel any differently? Not that I can tell. My cramps were the same, I still have eczema, and I didn't sleep any better or any worse.
However, I think that this has helped me realize some unhealthy patterns. I like food and because I like food, I haven't thought about portion control or types of food being less beneficial to me, even though it’s permissible. I typically will eat whatever I want, then notice my pants are a little tighter and back off for awhile and then go right back to eating whatever I want. This, I believe, is the pattern God has drawn my attention to.
Even though I cut out dessert, I still ate snacks and possibly a little more of them in an effort to distract my sweetness cravings. I need to get back in the habit of pouring my Triscuits and tortilla chips into a bowl instead of eating directly from the container. On the other hand, I've been eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, partially because my favorites are coming back into season and partially because I didn't have anything else to compete with them.
So what do I do about dessert now that the month is done? For one thing, I will no longer eat cookies or cupcakes for breakfast, as I have been wont to do. For another, I'm limiting myself to one dessert per day if any. I don't think I will eat dessert every day but, much like the possibility of cheat days, I need to have an out. Finally, I'm going to keep very little dessert-related products in the house. No more making a pan of brownies or gooey butter bars just for myself. Out of sight, out of mind.
I didn't intend to eat dessert right away but fate intervened. March 1 started Social Work Month and we hosted a Dessert Party yesterday afternoon. In fact, I baked Death by Chocolate Brownies Monday night but did not lick batter off my hands, the spatula, or the bowl. That was a first but entirely empowering. There were plenty of goodies but I restrained myself. I had a mini-cupcake, half of one of my brownies, and a yellow cake cookie- the items I most wanted to try. I ate them slowly and relished each bite. And while I enjoyed it, I realized anew that I don't need dessert.
This month I’ve put more thought in to what I eat and why. Letting dessert die was one of the best things I've done in awhile.