Dealing with the "Forbidden Fruit"

How can I better frame/label a dessert buffet, whether it is at a gathering at someone’s house or at a function, so that it is not such a big anxiety-ridden deal, that I don’t look at dessert as “forbidden fruit”?

What if at future occasions where there is going to be dessert buffets, before I even get there, gave myself permission to go over my calorie count that day by a few hundred calories?  (Logically, I know that if I go over my calorie count once in a while it will not be the end of the world.  I have proved that to myself in the past when I have had little slips.  Twenty pounds does not magically jump onto my body from eating 200 calories over my count once in a while.)  What if I allowed myself to have bits of desserts that I thought looked good and stopped making it seem like “forbidden fruit.”  Would it take away the yearning and compulsion to eat something  I know I shouldn’t?  If I were kinder to myself that way, would that be liberating and freeing for me? 

What if I stopped working so hard at being so disciplined with my eating at these ‘events’ and allowed myself to be free and human, and not make the desserts into such a taboo thing.  And while I prefer to eat my calories instead of drinking them, what if I had one entire drink with my dinner so I can relax a little bit and let my hair down, instead of having to cut out dessert or part of my meal to make up for the calories.

The million dollar question:  If I did these things, made the dinner drink and desserts acceptable, would it be the greatest, most freeing thing in the world, or would it lead me back to binging?

Is my strict, discipline (read: control) the reason for my success of almost two years  of abstinence and keeping my weight loss for over a year, or perhaps would trying to let go of my strictness going somehow free me and my mind from the angst?

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4 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. innerpilgrimage
    30 November 2009, 10:27 am

    Maybe it is time to review your food plan and see if you can add wiggle room for the holidays, making “Holiday Abstinence” different than “Rest of the Year Abstinence”.

    I have a question: Does eating sweet desserts cause you binge cravings? I think it’s an important question to answer for yourself, because it would allow you to decide if you should avoid the dessert buffets entirely (keep treating them like Forbidden Fruit) or if you can add this to a modified abstinence plan. I understand the desire to have a drink and a dessert “like a normal person”, and since we really are trying to learn to think differently about food, it’s something to consider modifying your eating plan over.

    For example, my abstinence food plan has a generous amount of calories which still requires me to choose between alcohol and full-sized dessert; I could have a non-sugary drink and half of a dessert if I planned for it. This brings a conscious awareness of my food choices, something I find comforting because I can’t binge on any one thing yet I can eat reasonably. And I can test to see if a particular food is a binge food (When I’m done, do I want more?)

    I guess the only person who can answer your million-dollar question is you. Can you stop at one drink and one dessert (or four 1/4-portion desserts, or eight 1/8-portion desserts)? By extending your calories to allow for one of each (that would be an addition of 300-500 discretionary calories to your current calorie count), will you be content?

    I think releasing your strictness would lead to binge eating because the tool of a food plan is a way for your Higher Power to help you keep your will power. HOWEVER, changing the rules and extending your fences/limits for the holiday season is something to consider because you will maintain a firm limit to plan around, even if it is more generous.


  2. love2eatinpa
    30 November 2009, 8:22 pm

    you asked some really good probing questions, i really appreciate that. so far, and my gosh, it will be 23 months tomorrow, during this abstinence, my slips have not caused binge cravings. i would eat too much of dessert(s), but then put on the brakes, totally remove myself from the situation/place and the eating was done. the eating too much wasn’t caused by a craving, the dessert food was simply there and looked good. i typically do not crave a particular food, any dessert that i like will do. 🙂 and i don’t waste the calories typically on something that only tastes marginal, i really try to make it something that tastes very good.

    i’m very fortunate that i’m at a normal weight, some would even say underweight, so i am not trying to lose weight. (i’m 5’3″ and was 172 lbs at one point.) i don’t mind putting on a pound or two with aunt flo, or excessive water or salt issues, but my fear is to put on a few from eating and then spiral out of control and put on many lbs that i’ve worked so hard to take off and keep off.

    i eat a small chocolate dessert every night, so i’m not deprived. when we go out, i do allot some calories for dessert. at home, i can eat my portion (x amount of dark choc hershey’s kisses so i hit my calorie mark) and not crave more. somehow, when i’m away from my home, i can eat something like a piece of a brownie, which i consider to be a treat, and while i’m not craving them, if they are good, one bite is usually not enough unless ‘the force’ is strong with me that night. 🙂 i never take one whole piece of dessert – brownie, pie, cake, whatever it is. i have small pieces of whatever looks good. i think i need to allow myself the freedom to do that, enjoy it, and not feel badly about myself for doing that.

    i need a crytal ball to answer my million dollar question. hopefully HP will help me find my answer. i see my therapist on thursday and we will hopefully figure it out. i like your idea of changing my strictness for special occasions, because i do agree the strictness of my food plan should always be the base of my day.

    man, this disease really sucks.


  3. innerpilgrimage
    01 December 2009, 4:14 pm

    It does really suck. But I also thought about what you wrote in your response to my comment, and I realized that we’re rarely challenged beyond our means. It’s more like were reminded sometimes that we’re not chasing a cure (like for pneumonia), we’re dealing with a lifelong protocol (like for diabetes or asthma). The best part is that it is so effective. Even from Step One, we see our eating differently. We emotionally react differently to the way we ate before we completed Step One. We can’t go back to the old way of doing things now that we accepted the truth.

    And you’re almost at 24 months of Just for Todays. That’s really impressive, that you’ve treated the disease successfully for so long. It gives hope to those of us facing two hours, two days, two weeks, or even two months of abstinence. It can be done. And you’re one of those people who allows us to remember that. It Can Be Done.

    There’s a lap band surgery commercial I’ve seen a few times, and every time I listen to the side effects, I think about how OA does all those things for so many–without the horrible side effects. And I think, “How does the lap band surgery fix the emotional reasons we eat? How does it change how we deal with food, except changing the relationship with food to a punitive one–eat too much then go through extreme pain until the stomach adapts by stretching (again) or the person gets physically ill?” I’m glad I tried OA before that, since the reasons I ate aren’t cured by surgery.


  4. Maria
    09 December 2009, 7:55 pm

    I stayed binge-free and slim for 4-5 years. Then I started becoming lenient with sweets. That was the beginning of the end for me. I ended up 70 pounds overweight. I am now 35-40 pounds overweight and still eating binging. So my advice would be to stick with the discipline.


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