When the Cat’s Away…

I am a cheater. My husband has been out of town for the past week, and while he’s been gone, I’ve been cheating. About a year ago, he regularly went out of town once a month for work, and I cheated back then too. I cheated in the kitchen, I cheated in the bedroom, I cheated in the car, and I even cheated in my office.

It’s not something I’m proud of. This weakness of the flesh is a sore reminder that I’m human with carnal urges. How can I say no when temptation is staring me in the face? When I can feel the intense yearning deep within me…

Whoa, stop me before I get carried away and start talking about something totally unrelated to what I really mean to talk about: Snickers bars, chocolate covered pretzels, McDonald’s french fries, and hot fudge sundaes. Mmm…

*Sigh* So I know I’ve talked about the 90% rule and allowing yourself a cheat meal 10% of the time. And I admit that this is probably easier to uphold when your husband is your personal trainer. Here’s a secret: when my husband is away, the temptation to cheat is, like, 500% greater.

No one is here to slap my hand. I’m like the kid after trick-or-treating who is stuffing her face with the candy her mom told her to put away because she turned away for two seconds.

What about personal accountability, you say? I know, I know. Hey, just because I’m a trainer’s wife, and just because I have chosen to start living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean I stop having all urges to indulge. Especially when no one is watching.

But I’m watching. I’m watching, and I have to live with myself afterwards. I’ve heard about a few strategies to stop yourself from reaching for the food that you know shouldn’t come anywhere near your mouth. Things like saying, “Oh well, it’s not part of my plan” and moving on from the tempting situation, or saying, “Thank you that I have food, but not this food.”

What tends to work for me – when I truly apply myself to doing this – is to just quiet my mind. Because usually while I’m reaching for the chocolate chip cookie, thoughts are churning through my mind like a whirlwind: “Mmm…chocolate. I love chocolate. But I shouldn’t eat this. Think about how you’ll feel after you eat it. But it’s just one cookie, it can’t hurt. But one cookie will lead to another cookie. And I didn’t even work out today, so I didn’t even earn it. But chocolate is so goooood…”

So the trick is to cut it off at the “Mmm…” or as soon as you can. Some have described this as the “chatterbox” in your head. And then move your body away from the cookie. As Alton Brown says, “Step away. Just step away.” (Well, that’s usually in the context of over mixing wet ingredients with dry ingredients when baking, but it works for my purposes too.) And then occupy your mind with something else. Like updating your status on Facebook or something useless like that. Or finishing that email you meant to send to your co-worker before lunch.

Okay, so tonight my method didn’t really work for me. I knew I should have eaten the salad with grilled chicken and balsamic vinaigrette, but the Panino Italiano with prosciutto and hot coppa was just crying out to me.

At least I’ve moved on from the hot fudge sundaes, Take 5’s, and Whopper Juniors from the cheating days of my past. This is progress. Next business trip he takes, maybe I’ll take the cheating down another notch. Probably a good idea.

4 thoughts on “When the Cat’s Away…

  1. Some things that might help “break the cycle:” find out what’s actually in the fast food products that you are buying (it’s seriously gross, and keeps me from stopping by just about any fast food place if I’m in a time crunch), find ways to “trick” your body and curb the cravings without eating junk (make homemade sweet potato fries or even regular fries, protein shakes that taste like milkshakes, eat at least 70% dark chocolate in place of milk chocolate, etc. [There are ways to make just about every dish more healthy at home.]), or find out the nutritional breakdown of these cheat foods and calculate how long it would take you to burn off those calories (eating that food just doesn’t seem worth it to me after that).

    You probably already know all this stuff though. 🙂

  2. One can only appreciate your human-ness. I mean, how can we look up to perfect, flawless looking robots anyway? Rock on for bringing attention to the cheating. Awareness is the first step. Admission is the second. Running like hell when you see the golden arches is the third.

  3. Julie- what a great blog! That first paragraph FLOORED me! I thought, “My God, this woman is really taking blogging to the nexy level… did Rommel read this?” *L* You are such a great writer, and you drew me in. I look forward to more.

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Emily – Great suggestions – knowing what is in your food, and knowing that you don’t want it in your body is a good thing. Substituting your favorite “guilty pleasures” with slightly healthier ones is also a good strategy. I personally substitue sweet potato oven fries and organic dark chocolate squares with almonds to curb my McD’s french fries and Snickers cravings.

    Jimmy – “To err is human. To forgive is divine.” Even if you give in to the Golden Arches’s magnetic pull. But next time will hopefully be a different story. But I sure run like hell from those things. They’re scary…the clown doesn’t help either.

    Natalie – Haha! I wasn’t even going for that effect at first, but it just came out that way, so I rolled with it. Glad you enjoyed my post!

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