This week was the hardest so far of my 4-week Holiday Challenge.
On Tuesday, we had a bake exchange at work. I brought in Mars Bars Christmas Crackle and five other co-workers brought in an assortment of cookies and other baked goods.
As planned, I sampled one of each. The hardest part was stopping myself.
See, I have a major “all or nothing” mentality. Typically, I go way overboard on designated “cheat days.” I’ll have a massive dinner with generous helpings of wine and bread, then top it all off with a decadent dessert, not because I really want dessert but because I’m “allowed” to have it.
Once I’ve started indulging, I just keep going until I feel sick. The greedy side of my brain knows I can get away with this kind of behaviour once every couple of weeks without gaining weight. Yet, the rational side of my brain still feels guilty afterwards for abusing my body by filling it with too much in one sitting.
So the fact that I stopped at 5 cookies is a sign of progress. Sure, I could have eaten all 36 treats (everyone took home six of everyone else’s treats), then returned to healthy eating the next day and nothing would have happened. I wouldn’t have gained weight. But I would have felt gross. And I wouldn’t have really enjoyed the other 31 treats.
After I’d finished my treats, I packed the leftovers away in my car, knowing if I kept them near my desk I would inevitably go for round two once the 3:00 slump hit. After work, I dropped them off at my sister’s house for her to enjoy. The remainder of the day’s meals and snacks were healthy and I got in a great spin workout in the morning. All in all, it ended up being a “maintenance” day rather than a cheat day, with my total calories hovering at around 1800.
Cheat Day #2 was yesterday. We had our staff holiday luncheon at Ruth Chris Steakhouse. We had a set menu with three courses so it was difficult to keep within a reasonable amount of calories for my meal. I mitigated the damage by making healthier choices and passing on “filler” like bread and wine.
For my starter, I ordered the house salad and for my main, I ordered the 8 oz petit filet. There were also a number of shared sides being passed around, including garlic mashed potatoes and french fries. I knew the steak would satisfy me so I stuck to a small side serving of sauteed mushrooms.
Then there was dessert. They had so many delicious sounding desserts – chocolate sin cake, pecan pie, cheesecake, key lime pie. We all know I love me some dessert but I knew I was full and that if I topped my meal off with a giant slab of cake or pie, I’d end up eating the whole thing and feel bad about it afterwards.
So I ordered a boring raspberry sorbet and suffered a few minutes of extreme dessert envy when the waiters brought out the other orders. During the ten minutes we were all eating dessert, I felt a little bummed out but I left that restaurant feeling good about myself for having respected my body; that feeling stayed with me the rest of the day whereas the joy I would have gotten from pigging out on dessert would have been fleeting.
That’s not to say I will never eat chocolate cake again (ummm, yeah right!). But I am working on indugling in moderation, even on ”cheat” days and events like parties, family dinners and other occasions I would normally give myself carte blanche to eat myself sick.
Week 3 recap coming tomorrow!