So I had this blog all prepared to be posted today and I awoke to an email bearing the great news that today held: it’s National Dessert Day. I found it very important to mention the irony that I am posting about how I went 23 days without dessert…on National Dessert Day. No this was not planned at all. I think I’ll eat some dessert tonight to celebrate this…
Anyway, yes, you read my headline right. I went 23 days WITHOUT dessert. (*Note: I meant to do 3 weeks, it just happened to carry over 2 more days before I finally caved in for pretzels dipped in chocolate at a volunteering event.I mean who can say no to that?) For some people who don’t like dessert or who already do this type of thing, it may not seem like a big issue. But, I loved (and still do love) dessert. Ice cream, brownies, cookies, candy, donuts pie…you name it. I was the kid who lived on pie and ice cream every week and even when I grew-up, dessert was big for me. Last spring, I wanted to eat healthier so I started limiting myself to dessert 3-4 times a week. That continued over the Summer and into the start of school; however, a few weeks–and lots of ice cream–later this year, I wanted to try stepping it up a notch. Now before you start judging or attacking me, calling me crazy, let me explain why I chose to do this and what I learned from my experience.
The main reason I partook on this adventure was to cut out added sugar in my eating. Sugars can sneak up in lots of foods, especially desserts, and I knew that to eat healthily and get a “fit” look, cutting down on sugars was important. I hoped that cutting out dessert would make me more aware of these dangers in other foods I ate. It also didn’t help that due to celebrating birthdays, my eating over the weeks before I started this had not been very good. I wanted to work hard to get back on track. Second, I wanted to wean myself off of the temptation of buying ice cream or pie. I seemed to always have this craving for dessert, so going 3 weeks without it would hopefully cause me to not crave it so much so often. Lastly, I wanted to show myself that I could do this. That I could still eat delicious foods and be satisfied without dessert. I was a girl on a mission.
This was no piece of cake. Especially because my roommate is so awesome and from the start, has put out candy in a bowl in our living room. And no I am not being sarcastic, she really, truly is amazing. Anyway, it obviously started out with getting rid of my ice cream and other dessert-like foods I had in my kitchen. Then, the 3 weeks began. At first, it was difficult to pass by the candy bowl or pass on my roommate’s delicious sprinkle sugar cookies, but I kept trudging on–reminding myself who and what I was doing this for. Although an organization I was in threw a party where there was brownies, cookies, and cake. And I didn’t eat a single bite of it. It definitely got easier though and what helped was not putting myself in tempting situations. But through the “agony” of it, in the end, I was really glad I did it. I ended up learning a lot and actually making some changes in my life that I am happy with.
The first thing I noticed was my decreased desire for dessert. For 3 weeks, I had to walk down the ice cream aisle at the grocery store and by the 2nd or 3rd week, I had no remorse passing it up. I even would stop at the door, look at the flavors, and easily walk on. This is exactly what I wanted. Now, when I want dessert, once or twice a month, I can go out for fro-yo or ice cream or cheesecake. This is better and healthier for me because I just have that one serving rather than constantly having dessert on-hand at my fingertips. I also learned to eat more during the day in healthy meals and snacks so that I would meet my calorie needs and to try to listen to my stomach. Oftentimes what happens with dessert is people eat it just to eat it and not because they’re hungry. After dinner, with no dessert, I could better listen to rather or not I was actually hungry or if I just wanted junky sweets. And even if I couldn’t have dessert, that didn’t stop me from eating after dinner: I just found healthier desserts. Instead of cookies or cake or ice cream I would eat a fruit salad or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
Lastly, I really learned that I want to try to continue this in my future, to eat really clean for myself. I am not saying that if you eat dessert, you aren’t healthy or you don’t eat healthy. Everybody is different. For me, I have always tried to eat healthy and clean, but never took it up the notch that I wanted. This 23 day adventure was my chance. Now, I really consider added sugar in breads, sauces, packaged items, and other foods when picking what to eat. I am excited to start and try out this new eating plan where I will still enjoy dessert once or twice a month, but go out for it. I am no longer craving or missing ice cream or cookies or those insanely delicious Yasso Greek Yogurt bars I used to devour. I will also start baking healthy desserts on the rare occasions I bake. Although quite honestly I may occasionally just bake something really sugary and unhealthy because it looks and sounds delicious. And that’s okay.
Overall, I am really glad I tried and completed the 3 weeks without dessert. Again I am not demanding everyone to follow my lead, but I think if it is something that interests you, you should try it. Or some other version of it. For example, I want to try to go a month without eating out at fast-foods (I rarely do anyway) or at restaurants (little harder). This one may be more difficult and I won’t start it right away, but I am excited to try and challenge myself. I am just happy living this lifestyle and making the choices that I am making for myself, even if everyone doesn’t approve or agree. I am doing what makes me happy and what I enjoy…and that is being Beyoutifully Healthy!