I felt the urge to write, but the topic was evading me - until I realized, you know what I haven't done since last year? Old Eating Habits! What a better topic to discuss in January, the time where you've made New Year's Resolutions and are resetting your health goals?!
In "Cake and Carrots", I talked about how I thought eating heaps of carrots would somehow offset the massive slices of carrot cake (or whatever "treat" I chose) I would eat.
In "That's Not a Serving Size", I talked about how my young mind would be stunned at how little a serving size of junk food would fill me - and how many serving sizes it took to fill me up.
In "Cream of Mushroom Soup Casserole", I talked about the quick, cheap and not-so-healthy ways that I was raised to make food.
And finally in "Let's Have an Ice Cream", I talked about emotional eating.
What else is there? Oh, plenty! Today, let's talk about my horrible habit of having a treat with every meal.
I don't know where I got this mentality from. I remember being young, and my mom would let us get one "treat" food a week while shopping. But my habit of "a treat with every meal" didn't come into being until I was working.
Back in the day (prior to my first Health Reboot of November 2012), I would have to skip breakfast, as my stomach ached so bad. For lunch, I would go out to eat; every time I made a decision where to go, I ALWAYS was thinking, "What about a treat afterwards?" Did the sandwich shop have an option for a cookie? Could I swing by the coffee shop and pick up a muffin? Or what about a slice of cake with my salad at the grocery store?
Mentally, I told myself I would be eating this "treat" around 2pm, to combat the mid-afternoon nibble, but actually, as soon as I got back to the office, I'd scarf down whatever sweet treat I had found.
Then, as if the sweet treat during lunch wasn't enough, I HAD to have a sweet treat for dinner. Was it cookie dough from Papa Murphy's to go with the pizza? A blizzard from DQ to go with the dinner sized burger option? Or perhaps some leftovers or other packaged foods I had bought previously?
If it's not obvious, I was having sweet treats with my meals EVERY DAY for TWICE A DAY. No WONDER I got to nearly 270 pounds (if not higher, since my scale back then was analog). I was probably easily doubling what my caloric intake should have been - and NOT exercising at all.
There is nothing wrong with a sweet treat - once in awhile. Cake for your birthday, ice cream for a party, or perhaps a cookie over the holidays. The problem is the mentality of needing a treat 1) every day and 2) for every meal.
From the Oxford dictionary, "treat" means "an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure". If you are having a cookie every day, how is that "out of the ordinary"? It isn't! That cookie, the cake, the cupcakes, the ice cream, the donuts, the candy bars stop being special when you constantly get them. Then suddenly you need more to make it special - more of them or more frequently or both.
These days, I try to make low sugar versions of my treats - but I still try to keep the treats a treat, not a daily or weekly occurence. Getting to this point was TOUGH - those first couple of weeks of telling my body no was brutal. However, at this point, I generally don't crave it like I used to. I can find satisfaction in things like mandarin oranges, dates, cashews or many other items that previously would have been the furthest from my mind when I thought of having a treat.