I recently shared about my 14-day experiment to avoid chocolate and other desserts. The 14 days have passed and I feel like victorious. It wasn't always easy. In fact there were a few days that were down-right hard, but I made it. Here's a recap
Why I Did It
I have always had a love for sweets, but over the years (especially since I have become a mom) my love has grown into an obsession. I could not go a day without having something chocolate or dessert-like, and usually I ate way more than I was supposed to. I finally admitted I had no self control over desserts and that something had to change.
The Experiment - Rules
- Desserts/candy off limits for 14 days.
- I allowed myself 0-10 M&Ms per day if I was having a particularly intense craving.
- My son's first birthday was in the middle of my experiment so I allowed myself to have one sliver (and I do mean a sliver) of his cake in celebration.
The first few days weren't as miserable as I thought they would be. I found myself reaching for sweet treats merely out of habit. I was able to distract myself in these moments by walking out of the kitchen, doing chores, or doing something with my kids. I dipped in to my M&Ms a few days, needing only about 3-5 M&Ms to satisfy my craving.
My son's birthday day came, and I had a very small slice of cake. Within 5-10 minutes of eating it I felt bloated, lethargic and depressed ... basically, "blah." (This is exactly how I felt most afternoons before taking this challenge. 3 or 4:00pm would roll around and I would need something sweet for a pick-me-up. That pick-me-up would last at most half-an-hour and then I would be right back where I started ... pooped.)
This was my absolute hardest day. I woke up tired and remained tired almost all day. I was grumpy and not motivated to do anything. I maxed out my daily M&M allowance of 10 M&Ms.
After hitting my low point on day 7, the days that followed seemed a breeze. I still reached for junk-sweets mindlessly, but this was happening less and less. When I started to crave something sweet I began to ask myself, "why do you want this, April?". Usually it was that I was tired or bored (which can be remedied without sweets). On days my husband had to work a little longer than usual, I noticed my cravings were out of mere loneliness and eagerness for my man's companionship. My cravings weren't just a love of the taste of chocolate, etc; they were a longing for something more (sleep/rest, entertainment, a day "off" as a mom, the companionship of my husband, etc).
I also noticed that I didn't "need" sweets like I had before. My alertness, mood, and energy levels were increased, and my intense desires for junk-sweets disappeared! I prayed earnestly before my experiment for God to take my sweet/chocolate addiction away from me. I felt powerless when it came to desserts, especially chocolatey ones. It was impossible for me to take just one bite/piece. I seriously had a problem. Something had to change. I attribute my "will power" to God ... it has only been because of Him that I have been able to tell myself "no."
Isn't it ironic that the first day I was free to eat sweets again that I was at a meeting where food was provided, and on the tables were several chocolatey pieces of goodness?! Normally I would begin to fantasize about the taste and texture of it as I took bite after sumptuous bite. This day, things were very different. Although the immediate thought, "Oooo! Chocolate! April, you want that," popped in my head before I could think anything else I physically did not want it. I looked at the table of goodies and felt nothing. There was no emotional attachment or desire for what was on that table. I put real food on my plate and bypassed the chocolate. Two weeks ago I would have gotten two pieces, sat down, ate, and come back for more (and probably more after that). Later that day I ate a small oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and, honestly, I didn't enjoy it. The cookie tasted like it always had, but it didn't "do" anything for me anymore. There was no compulsion to finish it and a few more after. When I told my husband about this he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
I am not sharing this to prove that I am super awesome or have an amazing willpower. I am not, and I don't. I am sharing this because it is possible to make progress in battling a food habit/addiction. Going cold-turkey may work well for some, but for many it doesn't (unless you have Jillian Michael's shadowing you 24-7). That is why I gave myself 14 days to be sweet-free, but even then to give myself permission to enjoy a very small amount so that I didn't backlash into a binge session and feel mega-guilty later.
In the end, thanks to the Lord working in my mind and heart, I can honestly say that I don't want desserts like I used to. Sure, I still think they taste great and I will, from time-to-time, enjoy them ... but I honestly don't want to eat them on a daily basis or in large amounts.