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How my brain works

December 11, 2009

I’ve been redeveloping my sweet tooth these past few months. Previously, I had been at a point where I was eating a ‘real’ dessert (like big gooey baked thing) once a week and otherwise sticking to small amounts of lightish sweets the rest of the time (think a few squares of dark chocolate each day.)

Then I started drinking diet soda at least once a day and adding a bit more candy. And hey, like I’ve said before, it’s one of the great things about having a better understanding of how this whole weight-loss thing works that my diet can fluctuate without completely stopping the progress I’ve made. But now I’m at a point where I’m craving (and eating) something sweet at the end of each meal. I’m drinking hot chocolate (peppermint hot chocolate tastes like christmas!) and my sugar consumption is pretty high and sugar substitute consumption is probably even higher.

So I’m wanting to get back to a more balanced diet. There’s pretty much no reason for me to worry about my waist circumference if I’m doing the same kind of damage with my diet.

Easy to say. Hard to do. I make a nice lunch. Sandwich on sprouted wheat bread. Peas with ‘butter’ and curry powder. And a nice ripe banana. No sooner is the last bite finished then I’m thinking of the cookies in my cabinet. So good. And I want one. I have one. I feel frustrated and wonder if I should go back to never having any kind of sweet in the house (no.) Repeat for about a week. Each time reinforces the belief that I’m going to go get that cookie every time. I feel a bit helpless.

Until it occurs to me yesterday that this belief (I cannot control my intake of sweets) exists solely as a thought inside my brain. It is only more powerful than the thought “I am totally capable of eating fewer sweets” because I keep favoring it over the latter. But all of this drama is just inside my brain and really, I do actually have the power to stop this pattern. And then, like that. It stops. I get green tea instead of hot chocolate while I’m studying for finals at the coffeeshop. I don’t eat a dessert after lunch. After dinner, I make a pot of fruity tea and eat one shortbread cookie while reading a book. I am satisfied. Gone is the struggle, the constant cycle of wanting-obsessing-indulging-recriminations.

The interesting part is that if you had taken me through the same idea last week, I would have agreed, but it wouldn’t have clicked. I have no clue what causes the final click, but it really does feel like a switch gets flipped. It’s that abrupt sometimes.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 11:57 am

    I’m there right now, in the “bad-habit, but I caaaaaan’t fix it!” part. πŸ˜‰ Part of it’s the weather, part of it’s that I’m tired, part of it is that it’s the holidays and I don’t WANT to curtail my eating, dammit. I just feel “meh.” So this weekend I’ll be making a food plan, and an exercise plan. Because when I Have A Plan, I tend to be less resistant to change. Not sure why that is, though.

  2. December 11, 2009 12:35 pm

    I’ve been reading a bit about this, and the concept of sugar addiction. While cherry-picking πŸ™‚ through the literature, I found an article that seems to think that while there are classical addiction pathways involved, they seem to be only a problem in those that are actively trying to resist, so yes, mostly psychological. I’ll post about it soon, but I find for me, also, if I try to deny it, I will crave it, but if I’m indifferent, I’ll just want some once in a while.

  3. December 28, 2009 7:32 pm

    Found your beautiful blog while searching Temple Foods – and lo! Here you are – a fellow Nigella lover and understander of the Temple Foods concept. Wanted to let you know I’ve enjoyed your posts thus far, and linked one of your previous posts in an entry I just wrote about eating clean at this time of year. I too am struggling with my sweet tooth and this Holiday Eating time of year. Hope to read more of your thoughts. I think it’s a combination of the season, the media, and the weather (at least where I live) It’s hard to resist the sugar urges, they build and build upon each other especially as you add in more to your diet.

  4. meerkat permalink
    July 9, 2010 7:34 am

    Oh no. A whole cookie. What a horrible person you are.

    If I wasn’t allowed to have a cookie after lunch (or a Luna bar as part of lunch, which is also sweet) and dinner I would feel incredibly deprived and resentful. (Sometimes I just happen not to but generally I do have at least a bite of something sweet at the end of any major meal. It switches me out of “eat savory food” mode and it prevents weird aftertastes.) This is why I don’t diet. Are they giant monster cookies or something? Green tea is great but it is a crappy replacement for hot chocolate. Just like apples are great but they are a crappy replacement for cookies.

    Curiously, a few squares of dark chocolate is a bigger sweet for me than a cookie. Maybe my cookies are small and my dark chocolate squares are big.

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