Hello. My name is Dianne and I’m a sugarholic. I went for two years without sugar. Then, a colleague showed up with a box of Thin Mints. It was so humiliating. I ate half the box in 15 minutes. I had to ask her to lock her cookies in a drawer, all the while hoping she would just hand me the other half of the box.
I’ve since learned that total deprivation leads to massive binges. I try to include healthier indulgences like super dark chocolate and fruit smoothies sweetened only with a little honey. Occasionally, we buy ice cream, but I only trust myself with a pint at a time.
I once consulted with a nutritionist who had me do an experiment with “limited supply foods.” She had me choose a snack and portion it into small servings that totaled the number of calories a day I was willing to spend on junk. Then, I stocked a cabinet next to the fridge with about 2 weeks’ worth of baggies. I could eat 2 baggies a day and no more, but I had to look at the baggies every time I got a craving and tell myself, “If I run out, I’ll buy more.”
The first day, it was torture. All I could think about was that cabinet full of goodies calling my name. By the second day, I was doing better between snacks and didn’t find it so difficult to concentrate on other things. By the third day, I only remembered to eat 1 baggie. By the fourth day, I forgot to eat them both. Those baggies suddenly became a nice surprise when I remembered to open the cabinet instead of a looming fiend trying to corrupt my good intentions.
This was an important lesson that I have since failed to apply: when I think something is a limited supply, I will eat every bite as fast as possible. The nutritionist described this as a survivalist response and said it’s common among people who grew up in homes where a particular type of food was restricted.
But how to apply this to holidays and Girl Scouts? These truly are limited supplies. My mother-in-law sent Pat and me a box of goodies last week. It was a large assortment of homemade and German imports. My half lasted approximately 2 days. My husband took pity and shared some of his half with me.
Similarly, if I make Christmas cookies, I have a problem with the dough. Frequently, the dough never makes it into the oven. And, realistically, me making cookies more than once a year is so far-fetched it’s comical. So, how do I convince myself that I can get more?
The thing is, I really enjoy these things. The tradition of celebrating friends and family through indulging in delicious food is one I don’t want to give up. I just want to be able to enjoy them a little at a time.