Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Wanted Carrot Cake and A Few Bags of Lindt Truffles...Here's What I Did Instead

Here’s a longstanding myth that needs to be busted: just because someone loses the equivalent of three Victoria’s Secret models in body weight does not mean the passionate, sometimes dysfunctional tango with food is over. It never ends. No matter how low the numbers get on the scale. If you remember nothing else, promise me you’ll start to ponder the fact that shrinking in size doesn’t vaporize any pre-existing problems from your life. Hey, I LOVE being down 12 sizes, but I’m still me. I still wrestle with moments of wanting to gallop to the nearest supermarket and have my way with the potato chip aisle. So there may be no magic formula for dropping weight, but I hope the following helps in some way: Mood swings can strike without warning, physiological hunger is a regularly occurring fact of life, and so is a desire for food (which feels remarkably similar to hunger) that’s rooted insidiously in psychological yearnings. I experience all of the above much more acutely during winter, when my serotonin levels plunge in tandem with the mercury.

If it were as cut and dry as diet and exercise, I’d simply hand the baton to Jenny Craig and blog about pink lipstick. Going the distance with a new way of life can sound exciting on paper, but the unglamorous reality involves slogging through the mud of resistance and negotiating the tightrope of temptation. Depending on how well stocked with options my pantry is, sometimes I’m lucky enough to walk the high wire with a net.

So this afternoon, after doing a heart-thumping session with the YRG Double Black Diamond DVD, a craving for sweets came a-knocking. My strategy for managing sudden desires like this centers around a "know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em" philosophy. In other words, I’ve realized there’s a time for molasses cookies, pavlova drizzled in chocolate sauce, or one of Angella Cole’s astoundingly delicious gluten-free cupcakes (her cookbook is in the works)…and there’s a time to take a pass on the decadence. I weigh the severity of the craving against questions like, how stressed am I? Is this about emotional turmoil (big or small) that I'm trying to ignore? What does the rest of my day look like in terms of food intake? Or, is it art? Sometimes because of superior ingredients, presentation, or both, food qualifies as art and sometimes for that reason alone I dive in and enjoy it. But today, an honest look at the checklist had me falling with relief into the safety net instead. Since I always make sure my pantry is packing protection, I was able to assemble a little spontaneous gratification out of homemade cranberry sauce*, a one-ounce bag of pistachios, and some unsweetened coconut. The combination may seem odd, but it had a magical effect on the sugar craving.

That’s the other thing I’ve learned. When I’m craving something sweet, it doesn’t necessarily mean I want a banana split or glazed donuts. Yes, Virginia…sometimes something much lower on the food chain actually does it for me.

* See blog post: Unbelievably Easy Cranberry Sauce...Sans Sugar


  1. I could stop drinking, stop the heroin, stop the cigarettes, and stop the cocaine. I stayed away from the people that did that stuff and I focused on my more healthy regimen. But what if I was addicted to food? There's a conundrum and the biggest addiction challenge I can think of.

  2. Great Blog!!! Aghh, that struggle for a little sweetness in life is a constant battle for me as well. I loved the questions that you asked yourself. Yesterday I got through my cravings with a combination of berries warmed in the microwave and a tbs of peanutbutter blended together. I love your recipe and will have to try it! Thanks for keeping this blog going Stacey!! LOVE IT!

  3. Just a great reminder that it truly is all in our heads! :-)

  4. A great reminder that it truly is all in our heads -- thanks Stacey for helping us all see more clearly! :-)

  5. Stacey, your blog just keeps getting better and better! Although I've never had a long-term issue with weight, I enjoy reading about the psychological underpinnings behind food addictions - which can be translated to any kind of "addiction". I love how you treat the subject of making choices every day, and not once the "addiction" seems to have been conquered. Bravo! - SerenaK

  6. Look's YUMMY ! Another interesting and informative installment. Thanks Stacey. You are so insightful...

  7. Love this post Stacey keep on Blogging ... Way to TAKE Control of your LIFE and your destiny.. Your Mindset being the most important thing... love the questions you are asking yourself... it's all about reprogramming your mindset... Bang!
    YRG 4 LIFE

  8. Stacey, you are absolutely correct about the myth that needs busting. I fell victim to it myself years ago and though I lost a huge amount of weight, none of the psychological trauma was addressed in tandem. As a result, the weight came back. And now I repeat this struggle while trying to address the reasons for using food while making smarter choices. Easy it ain't, but it does seem to be the only way.

    And thank you for this wonderful blog! And I remain, as always, astonished and impressed by your passion and commitment. Brava!

  9. Stacey
    I want to say: BRAVO! - GOOD FOR YOU!
    It's True: Healthy living needs to be an "instinctive habit".

    As a Wellness Coaches, My wife and me meet many many people that struggle with their weight and many even with their health as a result of being overweight. (blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, heart disease, joint and skeletal problems and yes, depression - just to name a few very common ones).

    Our passion as Wellness Coaches is to guide, motivate and mentor our Weight Loss Challenge contestants on a road to an NEW LIFE STYLE.

    I am SO glad and hopeful for you in reading your articles and experiencing your intoxicating passion for your own goals and this subject. (b.t.w. I enjoy your colorful and powerful use of words). The mere fact that you can share this in such a tangible way tells me that YOU ARE THE WINNER of this story. Keep the fire BLAZING!!!

    We get frustrated some times when we meet some people that Really Need to make changes in their lives and even try to convince Us that they know how serious their status is.
    Then the very same people fall out for various reasons.

    Our frustration is not With them, but FOR Them. We really want every person to succeed. We put ourselves before them, beside them, behind them - all in support of their cause and their success. What I am saying with all this is that we have come to learn that every person must do it for themselves.

    We used this inspiring video by Zig Ziglar to inspire our Weight Loss Challengers.

    And this Cool Tool! "Vitamin Wheel".

    There are so many people offering help, tools, support etc. that success to the committed person is a much easier road. Just like our Weight Loss Challenge Events, the internet as "venue" offer us so much that No person needs to do this alone.

    Thanks for sharing your life here to the benefit of a growing group of friends.

  10. I totally understand what you are talking about in this blog. I especially related to the "after an amazing workout" part. When I have seen a great loss on the scales seems to be when my mind takes over and deliberately finds a bag of dark chocolate Bliss candy to sabatoge my good work. I am down 19 lbs since January 4th (according to the scale this morning). BTW chica...I have a kick-a$$ GF Carrot Cake recipe with cream cheese icing (just a dollop) - I make these as cupcakes and put just enough of the cream cheese icing on it to give that delicious satisfaction. Email me if you want that recipe. :)

  11. Please DO blog about pink lipstick, but only while drizzled in chocolate sauce and prepared to wrestle with a nice pair of unsweetened coconuts!

    LOVELOVELOVE the new profile picture in the pink sweater!!! Who is that sexxxy babe????? xo, K

  12. Stacey, Exactly! You will continue to react to the voice in your head--change your message and then you can change your reaction. I have maintained my weight loss for 9 years and still I must have occasional conversations with the old Athena as she still lives within me! You are aware of the dangers of mindless eating and also realize to survive this healthy journey on which you are traveling means you must create a healthy relationship with food that will last you your lifestime. Athena