Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Donut and Pepsi Challenge

Making peace with food means I have to realize there are no BAD foods. No food is off-limits any more. I had gotten pretty good at eliminating a particular food group FOR A PERIOD OF TIME while on a diet, but once I reached my goal weight, or faced a tough emotional time, all bets were off, and I would consume way too much of whatever it was I'd been denying myself. 

Back when Dylan was in high school, he was starting his interest in bodybuilding, and I was following Bill Phillips' Body for Life program. We were both focusing on proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs, and we were lifting weights. We occasionally indulged in things we loved that may not have been that nutritious on free days or cheat days, as they were called. 

The one food we both stayed away from was donuts. We had convinced ourselves that donuts were BAD. They were so unhealthy, and we didn't even want to want them. I remember Dylan telling me that he just envisioned himself eating a donut, and all of the grease sticking to the roof of his mouth, and it made him feel sick to eat it. He convinced me to think of them in this unappetizing way, and except for our family vacations at Myrtle Beach where Krispy Kremes were a family tradition, I pretty much stayed away from donuts. 

A few days ago, I decided to challenge my approach to donuts. I used to love donuts when I was younger. Was I lying to myself about not liking them any more?I wanted to know if I had been missing anything by not eating donuts for years at a time. I couldn't find a Krispy Kreme store near us in Illinois, so I went to Dunkin Donuts. I asked for a custard-filled, chocolate-frosted donut. They don't have them. WHAT? Ugh. Where's a Krispy Kreme when you need one? 

So I settled for a double chocolate donut. Yes, I SETTLED. I should have just left until I could find what I was looking for, but I didn't. I ordered a chocolate donut with chocolate icing. I took it out of the bag. I smelled it. Huh. Nothing too tempting yet. I took a bite. I could feel the grease on my tongue and roof of my mouth. That was familiar, and not very pleasant. I ate a couple more bites. Then I just ate the chocolate frosting, and I threw the cake part away. Donuts really aren't my thing. And now I know. I'm not avoiding them because I can't have them; I just don't enjoy them any more. 

Diet sodas had been a staple in my life since high school. I would drink anything diet: 7Up, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Coke, A&W Cream Soda...it just had to be sugar-free. The guilt I have been feeling over artificial sweeteners has been growing over the last year. Those chemicals can't be good for me. I typically guzzled a quart of iced soft drink in a matter of minutes. And then I would be sad the cup was empty. Did I get refills? If they were free and available, you bet I did. 

Last week when I went grocery shopping, I wanted to pick up some regular soda, just to try it. I found the perfect solution... 7.5 ounce cans of Pepsi, with real sugar; not laden with high-fructose corn syrup. After I got home, I put a can of Pepsi on ice in the freezer to chill. A half hour later, I popped the top of my mini can of soda, and took a sip. I savored the sweet drink in my mouth. It was tasty. I felt the soda bubble over my tongue. I loved the sweetness of it. When I was done, I was done. I didn't reach for another one, or two, or three to get my soda fix. I was simply done. 

The second Pepsi I drank a couple days later, I actually sipped over a few hours' time; before I went out on errands, after I got home, and later that afternoon. Who knew I could "nurse a drink?" I'd never tried it. Huh! I'm kind of proud to say that of the eight cans of soda I bought four days ago, I still have six left. That is progress, folks. 

So, donuts failed my pleasure test. Pepsi passed. I will keep experimenting with foods. 

My next goal is incorporating unfamiliar vegetables and fruits in my meals. Chuck will be thrilled. I think I will try kale, rutabagas, artichokes, and parsnips. I've never cooked any of them, but have vague memories of kind of liking them when I tried them long ago.

In case you're wondering, I don't think I've gotten any leaner or smaller these last three weeks of experimentation, but on the other hand, my jeans haven't gotten any tighter, so there's that. I have to admit to having some trepidation about letting go of the diet mentality, fearing that my weight would spiral out of control once I gave up on dieting. I don't think that is going to be the case. The biggest plus is I am not on an emotional roller coaster about watching the scales, because I don't look at them at all, and I no longer beat myself up about my food choices. There is something to be said for making peace with food. It is good for the soul. And I'm hoping in the long run, it will be good for my body, too. 


  1. It is funny how our tastes change. Whether from fasting or just not tempted to eat. Glad you are finding your way to healthy weight. I am enjoying the journey with you.

    1. Stella, I really hope I get physically healthier as I tackle the emotional stuff. Thank you for traveling with me on this journey.


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