There were three primary rules that enabled me to follow a very strict diet for an extended period of time, thus ending my four-year year battle with overweight in short order, and regaining control over a runaway appetite.
I will cover them in three subsequent posts, of which this is the first.
So with great fanfare, I present Rule # 1: I Can Have That! It may be the most important rule of all!
It didn’t take long for the initial excitement to wan after I’d made my commitment to a new way of eating. And with that ebbing enthusiasm, came a holiday dinner. A holiday somewhat culinarily centered on chocolate. But I cook, and I know how ingredients work together, and barring all that, I’ve got the internet. So I crafted some chocolate truffles (pictured above), sweetened with raspberry and a few drops of stevia, using only the healthy ingredients on my list of allowed foods. Because I hadn’t had sugar in a month at that point, I found them to be all I ever hoped for in a chocolate! (Incidentally, my children who did eat sugar, liked them as well, as did the guests at the big dinner to which I brought them.) The decision to make those chocolates, turned out to be far more important than I initially understood. It set the stage for every future temptation I would have in the months to come.
Surely enough, as the days got warmer I fondly remembered ice cream cones. I caught myself thinking about them wistfully and recognized that I was on a dangerous precipice. I remembered the chocolates and the lightbulb went off.
“I can have that!” I exclaimed. Well of course, I couldn’t have it at the shop I was driving by when the temptation hit, but I realized that I could once again figure out how to have a version of it. And knowing that was all I needed to feel that I was merely waiting to have a “better ice cream” rather than going without. The same day I blended frozen berries, unsweetened almond milk and a blob of coconut oil into a lovely frozen concoction I called “ice cream.” It was delicious, sweet and cold on a hot day, I’d stayed true to my commitment, and I was utterly undeprived.
Since that time I have repeated this effort many times with mostly satisfactory results. It starts the same way each time — with my refusal to accept the invitation to pity myself for the healthy choices I’m making, and my refusal to dwell on forbidden foods as though they were something I wanted. They are not something I want. The forbidden foods make me sick, fat, sad and hungry. The foods I choose, and the foods I learn how to make are nutritious, healing, satisfying and absolutely yummy.
Even if you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, you can learn how to combine ingredients, follow recipes and think creatively. You can do this. And you can have that!