My ice cream vice: at times I joke about it but in full disclosure, it can be a plague. This week was especially problematic. We had a few big events at the end of November, and maybe I tried to replace the excitement? Hmm, what feels more likely is that I just really, really like ice cream and at times have an insatiable appetite for it. Always have. For me there seems to be a fine line between permissible enjoyment and outright bingeing.
During the first half of this week, each night somewhere between sixty seconds after dinner and midnight, I served myself a small bowl, several times, ultimately demolishing a few pints via mini-attacks. Then I’d think, there are only a few bites left and I’m not fooling anyone leaving that little behind so… I’ve cleaned out the leftover ice cream from Thanksgiving and thanks to an overage of Vanilla/Salted Carmel on Monday, Tuesday started with a full blown sugar hangover. (It’s just as unpleasant and not-worth-it as a regular hangover.) It *seemed* like that’d be enough to set me straight. But, on Tuesday evening I came home to find a shipment of FOUR pints of gelato from Dolcezza, a specialty shop in Washington, DC, sent by my sister-in-law and her husband as a thanks for hosting Thanksgiving. I can’t think of a more fun surprise, but as I unpacked dry ice I was truthfully mixed with excitement and dread. I went right ahead and ‘tasted’ the Pistachio (heaven). THEN, so as not to eat too much from the new pint – too late – I had what little remained of the vanilla.
Usually, ice cream hoovers are isolated events, separated by enough time so as not to do any real damage. I enjoy it, feel fine, and don’t crave it for awhile. This week, not so much. Wednesday was bouncing along happily, but come mid-afternoon I began to worry that the intense cravings would be right back after dinner. I went to the vault for habit replacement strategies – having nothing when I’m desperately craving sweets hasn’t worked. It’s easy enough on the surface – simply replace the unwanted habit with something you’re comfortable with. I put together a pomegranate parfait (pomegranate seeds, plain Greek yogurt, a little honey), and left it front and center in the fridge.
Later, within seconds of finishing dinner, I was thinking Dolcezza. I turned my back on the freezer while cleaning up the dishes! I made some tea, edited a few photos, and then reached for the parfait. Good, but honestly it didn’t give me the same surge, and guess what happened. Yup, a little more ice cream circa 11:45 pm. A much more moderate amount, but still disappointing since I’d planned to have none at all. It felt like a tipping point, because this time I actually didn’t enjoy it. I probably need to devise more clever dessert replacement, but it’s also time to re-assess what various foods are doing. Of course ice cream spikes blood sugar, endangers arteries, threatens to make us fat. And of course fruit carries all kinds of wondrous benefits. The thing is, on a cellular level we don’t see or necessarily feel the good or the bad right away. At least I don’t, which seems to make a slippery slope for in the moment decisions. That said, I do feel the results shortly thereafter, and after a few days of habits in either direction, I’m either reaping rewards or paying the price. Either of which effects the rest of daily life.
The week is coming to a close, and to be honest I don’t feel horrible about myself for eating too much ice cream. Did I hurt someone or cause irreparable damage? No. It happens sometimes. What follows is what matters. Feeling physically sluggish is not acceptable! Gaining weight, so I have to give up ice cream entirely? Obviously ridiculous. I think my best bet in addition to the habit replacement strategy is a matter of intra-week awareness. What we eat on Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday really matters on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!