> “Why aren’t you taking this pie? Have you got any allergies?”
>> “No, I’ve got discipline.”
This very conversation actually took place a week ago, when someone offered me a piece of pie. I refused. Because on January 12, I had taken my weight loss challenge one step further; I had started goal nr. 42: Don’t eat sweet or salty snacks and sweet desserts for a month. Do this three times.
I knew that after eating healthier meals, drinking lots of water, stop drinking soda and building up a regular walking schedule, this was the next step I had to take. I have been a binge eater since my teenage years. Food gave me comfort when no human did. So it’s no surprise that eating had soon become an addiction. Because of that, I was a little reluctant about starting this goal, not sure if I could actually succeed. I had tried so many times before already, why would now be different? The answer: because this time, I took baby steps.
In the past, I had followed strict diets, while starting a heavy exercise schedule at the same time, without allowing myself any missteps. In short: I had set myself up for guaranteed failure.
But now I have all these smaller goals, which I’m starting one at a time. However, what I feel is even more important: I am allowed to fail. Because if I would, I wouldn’t be failing at the complete weight loss challenge. No, I would just be failing at one of the smaller elements, which is much easier to accept. Because if I’m just failing at a small part, that means I’m still succeeding in others as well!
Realizing all this now, I thought the time had arrived to start this goal. If I would fail, I would still be eating and drinking healthy and walking every day. No real harm done, right? So I stopped eating any sweet desires, my pantry stayed closed.
It was pretty hard, I must admit. Not buying any snacks at the supermarket, staying out of our pantry and giving away all the cookies I got with my tea at the cafe. But the hardest of all to refuse was cake. A supermarket cake, baked by machines in a factory? Not so hard, I don’t care much for those anyway. But at one point, somebody had decided to serve home baked cake on her birthday party. Oh. My. God. How could I not eat that? I am still not sure how I managed, but I didn’t touch that cake! I felt so proud afterwards!
Another strategy I used was prevention. Ruud and I had been invited to come over at two of our friends. One of them loves to bake and they both always want to be good hosts. Can you see the formula for disaster here? Right! So, I told them about my goal and asked them not to buy or bake any sweet temptations. And in addition, we brought some homemade hummus. Problem solved!
As you may have noticed, my goal doesn’t say that I have to refrain from sweet and salty snacks three months in a row. I did this on purpose. What if I would have succeeded for two and a half months, and then I would suddenly have a hard day on which saying no to sugar would be absolutely impossible? I would then fail at my goal, feel terrible about myself and most probably lose the motivation to start over. Despite the fact that I already succeeded for two full months! I should feel good about that! So that’s why I split this goal into three separate months.
And it actually seemed wise to make good use of this. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if I could refrain from sweets and chocolates for one whole month, and then purposely eat a snack I would absolutely enjoy? Of course, the danger of this would be that I would immediately be addicted again and starting a second sugarless month would be way too hard. But I really wanted to seize this opportunity to try learning myself to really enjoy what I’m eating. I wanted this treat to be something I could really look forward to.
So I bought some chocolate eggs. And not just any kind. I especially went to the candy store and filled a bag with the eggs I loved most. Yesterday, I could technically eat them, because I had not eaten any unhealthy snacks for an entire month. I felt a bit sad inside, a feeling that would normally have me binge eating in no time. But now I decided these chocolates would just had to wait some more. I didn’t want to eat them because I felt emotional, I wanted to eat them because I wanted to enjoy eating chocolate. So I waited. I know this sounds as such a simple thing to do. But this is actually a great deal for me!
Today, I felt better and decided I would eat them. But the most peculiar thing happened. I had eaten eight eggs and I actually felt like I had enough. Enough! Me! The one who could have easily eaten all the eggs in the candy store one month ago! But now, my brain somehow managed to tell me that I should stop eating. And I listened. I listened to my brain. As if had never done it differently. I was stunned. Could it be, that this goal… is actually making me… function normal again?
I will wait until Valentines Day. Who knows, I actually might want a dessert then, or eat some other chocolate eggs. But if not, well, then the eggs will have to wait for a month. Because I’m determined to keep on going. I can honestly say I feel very proud of myself. My house is filled with chocolate. But my body is just taking as much as it really, really wants.