Sunday, August 23, 2009


I may be conveying the notion that I've turned into some sort of food saint. If that is so, I've been misinforming you. While I'm not scarfing down fries, inhaling pies, or downing milkshakes, I do indulge. In fact, relatively speaking, I indulge regularly. This is part of my intended pattern for ultimate success.

The first few weeks that I decided to start working on my problem, I didn't touch anything bad so that I could break the blood-sugar-induced cravings. Once that was broken, I was able to add back in some little indulgences when I wanted them. I'll admit right now that I want them more days than not. One of the things I do to stop any sense of deprivation is to allow small portions of food that are purely for the sensory enjoyment. I realize that, for many people, such indulgence may represent a slippery slope. I'm not suggesting at all that other people should do what I do.

In the previous post, I talked about being psychologically "ready" to enter this state of change. The only reason I think I can manage to indulge a little is that I'm in this state of readiness. It's a little difficult to explain because its a personal mental process, but it relates to being in a head space where your motivation to lose weight is greater than your motivation to extract comfort and pleasure from eating. If you're like me, you get a lot of both of those things from food, whether you like it or not.

In this state, I find that I feel very satisfied with small, controlled portions of things like 100-calorie packs of sweets. One of my favorites is the York peppermint wafer bars. I am utterly in love with wafers because of the texture and these bring good texture, sweetness, chocolate, and mint (which actually helps curb appetite) to the mix. I have one of these when I want something sweet and feel that I've been careful enough to allow that extra 100 calories into the day's menu. I also drink sugar-free hot cocoa from a mix. That tends to be my fall-back at times when I know I shouldn't have something, but really want it. It's only 50 calories and it is more filling because it is a warm liquid. And frankly, I do indulge in other types of treats, but only in very small portions. Generally speaking, I check the calories and don't allow myself more than 100 calories on a given day.

A lot of people feel that the whole 100-calorie pack trend is pointless because people can't control themselves. I think this is definitely true for a lot of people and it was absolutely true for me up until 2 months ago when I made the mental change. The important thing is to know which foods are going to take away your control and avoid them. If you adore ice cream (and I do), but you know that one spoonful is likely to spur on the consumption of 20 more, you shouldn't have it in your house and you shouldn't keep it on hand as an indulgence. An indulgence should be satisfying, but not enough to wrestle control from you.

The thing is though that I don't want to live life now on some sort of highly rigid, spartan diet knowing that I will eventually reach a goal and then start to indulge again. Part of allowing some of these foods in now is training for having control over my consumption of them in the future. Part of it is also, frankly, not being driven out of my mind by what I can't have. I realize, of course, that everyone's mileage varies.