The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
This week, my dear boyfriend came home with ten, TEN!, boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Luckily, only 4 boxes were Thin Mints. I can easily pass up the Samoas (coconut – blech!) and the lemony ones, whatever they are called, but not the Thin Mints. Perish the thought.
I share this with you because these are the things that happen in real life. We make a decision to eat more healthily and BOOM! our favorite dessert shows up literally on our doorstep. This is why I have never been on a diet. It’s too unrealistic. I’d much rather make small, consistent changes that slowly add up to big ones. Because of changes I have made over the years, that first box of Thin Mints hasn’t already been consumed in a gluttonous frenzy. There is no way 5-10 years ago I would have been able to have just one. How can I do that now? I’m glad you asked.
If you are following my 6 Week Challenge as a participant (see side bar) or vicariously through others, one goal I would suggest to you would be to start a food journal. What I learned from simply writing down everything I ate was that I am what I’d call a “competitive eater.” This does not, thankfully, mean I eat 60 hotdogs in 4 minutes. What I mean is that if I think someone else is going to get it, I want it first. It doesn’t even matter if I’m hungry.
In the past, if there was, say, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer I’d eat more of it (or all of it) simply so the other person in the house couldn’t. I’m sure a therapist could have a field day as to the why, but for my purposes, the why doesn’t matter. As they say in any 12 step program, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Until I realized that my problem was wanting to finish things first I couldn’t do anything about it. Once I did, it was much easier to make changes.
Now, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s can sit in my freezer for a week or more – but only if I specifically stake my claim on it and know that it is mine. In other words, my boyfriend and I have to each have our own and promise not to touch the others. With that situation in place, I’m perfectly satisfied just eating a few spoonfuls and putting it back. If I thought for a second he was out to get my pint, well, it would be all over.
My boyfriend and I have not yet discussed a cookie strategy. However, just recognizing that I might react competitively makes me take a step back and not do so. Maybe I’ll be disappointed one day to come home and find all the Thin Mints gone. But the difference now is that I can live with that outcome. And so can my waistline.