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My son's birthday was last week, and his deep dark chocolate fudge cake has been sitting on the counter under the heavy glass cake cover ever since. Now here's what's really weird. He hasn't had a piece. Not one. He asked for shrimp with bow tie pasta for his birthday dinner, and he ate that with gusto. Then he blew out the candles, and blew off his cake in order to open his presents.
Now that I think about it, when I was a child, I did the same thing. Oh I always got around to eating a few bites, but I found it too rich and sweet to eat much more.
What happened? What in the world happened to make cake turn from a take it or leave it treat into an object of obsession?
I have a theory that, as women exit the childbearing years, our ability to deal with sweets may change. In the same way that I certainly can't drink the way I did in my 20's without severe consequences, sweets make me crazy for more and more, leaving me with an indulgence hangover the next morning.
Now don't worry, this is a positive story. I didn't eat the cake, and it vanished yesterday afternoon after I asked my son if he was ever going to eat any. I'm pretty sure my husband made it disappear when I told him it was calling to me.
Yes, it's true, food gets into my head the way a teenage crush used to. But really this is a good problem for a trainer to have, as I have to deal first hand with the greatest challenge that we have to face if we want to get fat out of storage and use it as fuel.
How do you deal with the cake on the counter?
If you're like me you have goals: physical goals that affect the quality of your life. In order to reach my health goals I know with a deep certainty that random cake eating will blow them out of the water faster than TNT, so here's what I did.
1. I took a deep breath and said a prayer asking for help with my obsession.
2. I said, "Not today. I have a birthday coming up myself and maybe I'll have a nice fresh piece of cake then, but I won't have a piece of this cake today."
3. Then I went and asked my son if he was going to eat any. Then I told my husband that I was starting to think about the cake. This is important: when it comes to following your best instincts on food there is real power in not handling cravings all alone. You may not have people living with you who can help, but I'll bet if you try you can think of an ally you can reach out to. Texting is a great tool for this.
4. I made myself a delicious satisfying breakfast. I told myself that there were plenty of good foods in the house that would satisfy me if I just took the time to prepare them.
The cake is gone, and this morning I have something even better: the satisfaction of being true to myself. Believe me, that's even better than a number on a scale.