Many of us walk very thin tight ropes when it comes to pleasure. We avoid falling into our cravings, afraid that if we give ourselves what we deeply desire, we will lose control. We won’t be able to stop.
If you are female you know the pressure is real to be thin. It’s everywhere, but most importantly it sits in our heads.
And it sat in mine for a long time.
But at a certain point I got off the treadmill. I allowed myself to devote only 25-30 minutes at most to work-outs. I told the obsessor to jump in a lake, and cut my workouts down. Additionally (and more dangerously) I also allowed myself to eat what I wanted.
And what I wanted was frozen yogurt.
Every night I had a tradition of making tea and preparing my favorite nighttime snack. This was frozen yogurt (mint chocolate chip or the new Fage 0% blueberry) mixed with ginger cookies that were dipped in tea. This would make the cookies warm and gooey and would create a swirl in the frozen yogurt. This was always enjoyed while watching one of my favorite shows like “Modern Family” or “Girls” or “Happy Ending”….the ultimate double indulgence.
I became lazy about watching my food, and I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. I told the perfectionist in me to relax, go put her feet up.
Then came the week of my boyfriend’s birthday. I ate cake four days in a row.
What I didn’t realize was that allowing myself to indulge made it less forbidden. The sweets were not as exciting because they were not off limits. The rebel in me became bored. Then at a certain point I no longer needed the desserts every night.
[Some of you might role your eyes..."oh Frozen Yogurt...that's the healthy stuff, she's crazy." The truth is when you are short and curvy and you're trying to lose a few pounds...eating a bunch of sugar (even fro yo)--before bed--will get you.]
After the fro yo indulgence and burnout I decided that was enough dessert and I wanted to be more aware of what I was eating. I wasn’t caving in to the enemy by being aware of my health, but rather going after something that I wanted for a long time–and that was being able to go to bed without dessert (or wine). Tracking what I ate didn’t seem horrible like it once did. And now I track what I eat.
From tracking I realized I wasn’t eating enough during the day. What I learned from tracking my food is that you shouldn’t deprive yourself all day only to eat too much at night. Don’t let the diet industry manage your thoughts all day until you can’t take it anymore and you eat everything in the fridge.
Now I get to eat what I want during the day. I eat peanut butter. Sometimes I eat it twice a day. I don’t eat the whole jar, but I eat it. And it tastes wonderful. As of very recently I’m not eating chocolate protein bars anymore, but real chocolate…
And I feel a lot better. Neither weight watchers nor the gym nor a low carb, high protein diet were the answers for me. It was actually getting past the mental barriers in my mind about pleasure and deprivation.
There is a weird thing in America around eating. The big lie the diet industry tells us is we can shame and abuse ourselves into getting thin. The truth is you don’t abuse food when you don’t feel deprived of it.
So the psychology lesson is when you don’t deprive yourself, you end up empowered. You get control of your life and your choices. You do that by giving yourself what you need when you need it.
You can see my electronic hoarding of desserts on Pinterest. The hoarding is only happening online now I’m happy to report. Until I feel like eating cake again…and I will eat it, without guilt.