Contributed by Courtney Horan, Author of the healthy living blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life.
Alright, it’s time to get real around these parts. I’ve got lots to chat about, but before I get to anything, I just had to share last night’s dinner with you.
It was way too good to go unnoticed. I’m even tempted to call it epic; and for me to say that something is epic really tells you something…seeing as though I usually can’t stand the word. But I think you’ll see why.
Veggies haven’t really been at the top of my “must have” list for the past couple of days, so when I wound up with a craving yesterday afternoon, I figured we should go for it. When I checked in the freezer to see what we had on hand, I found chicken and I found shrimp. It was a total toss up…so I went with both!
Jay took care of grilling the chicken while I sautéed the shrimp and put together the salads, which included lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, corn, fresh sugar snap peas, leftover sweet potatoes, feta cheese, grilled chicken, and sautéed shrimp.
Like I said, epic. And now you won’t hear me say that word for a long, LONG time.
So now…let’s talk a little bit about that whole nutrition plan that I’ve been on.
In case you’re new to these parts (hello to all of my new readers I’ve been noticing!) or you just need a quick refresher, here’s what went down with the plan…
Back in January, I made the decision to start a customized nutrition plan in an attempt to get me back on track with healthy eating and try to combat my ever-growing lust for sweets. I also mentioned that if I happened to drop a few pounds in the process, I’d be totally cool with it – even though numbers aren’t my thing.
I also knew at that time that in about six weeks, I’d be traveling to Mexico. I’m not going to lie and tell you that vanity did not factor into my decision to start the plan, because it definitely did. I wanted to look good and I wanted to feel good.
I was pumped about this nutrition plan from the beginning because it wasn’t that much different from my usual meals, and still gave me plenty of healthy, delicious options to choose from.
Within two weeks of the plan, I was already noticing some majorly awesome stuff happening. I felt great, my pants were getting looser, I was eating ALL the time, and perhaps the best side effect…my cravings for sweets had dropped significantly.
By the time I hit the five week mark, I was still making progress that I was extremely happy with, despite the fact that there were numerous celebrations that had taken place in the weeks leading up to that.
Birthday girl was not about to give up her fro-yo or giant birthday margarita!
By week six, we were on our way to Mexico! I felt fantastic and confident, and I told myself that I was just going to enjoy my vacation. I wasn’t going to worry about a nutrition plan, or the calories in my fruity drinks and decadent breakfast crepes.
So that’s exactly what I did. I enjoyed my vacation to the max. I ate a lot of good food, had a lot of delicious poolside drinks, and still even managed to get some healthy meals in there too.
But one of the things about all-inclusive resorts that spells trouble for me is the fact that it’s a never-ending supply. Food and drinks everywhere you turn, any time of day. I definitely ate a lot more than my body is used to while I was down there, and while I didn’t necessarily feel like I was stuffing myself, my body had quickly gotten itself adjusted to its new eating habits by the time we arrived back home.
Since we’ve been home (it’s now been about a month) things have been…tough. I get cravings for not-so-healthy food quite often. I’ve also found myself slowly gravitating away from the layout of my initial plan, often missing/skipping snacks during the day, or choosing ones that are not quite satiating enough.
Then, because I wasn’t eating enough during the day, the hunger (and the habit) of eating after dinner came back…full force.
At first, it started off with healthier snacks…things like a VitaTop or a sliced apple with some honey cinnamon peanut butter.
But then, I got urges to bake…and I ate way too much of my baked goods.
And then I got that toffee in the mail and couldn’t keep my hands out of the box.
And then I bought ice cream at the grocery store one week…and Jay and I finished it off in about four days.
And then I found myself going out for a massive mid-afternoon fro-yo fix.
My sweet tooth has come back with a vengeance.
It’s something I’ve thought about bringing up on here for the past couple of weeks but I kept putting it off. Then, I received a question from a reader…
“I have a question for you about your diet…after your vacation, did you feel like you gained weight or like your old cravings came back at all? If so, how have you handled it?“
At first, my initial reaction was, “Ouch. Apparently my St. Patty’s Day pictures were not so flattering?” But in all honesty, it’s a valid question that deserves a valid answer.
I’ll tell you that I have not once stepped on the scale since I’ve returned from Mexico, nor do I intend to. Scales and I just don’t really get along, but I will say that all of my clothes are still fitting just fine.
Do I feel like I gained a little bit of weight back? Maybe. Who knows? But more than that, I’ve come to a very honest realization: my love for sweets is something that I’m going to have to actively deal with forever. And that’s because bad habits are hard to break.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? How we can work SO HARD at changing a bad habit, and gradually, we start to see success. But the second we fall off the bandwagon, it’s as if someone is ready and waiting to reel us in at full speed. I’ll be honest, it was not easy for me to break away from sweets six weeks ago…but it sure was easy to dive headfirst right back into them.
So how am I handling it? Well, up until this point, I’ve been handling it by indulging in it like its my job, coming up with excuses left and right. But now? It’s about time for me to re-evaluate my nutrition as a whole.
I know I need to start eating more snacks again throughout the day. I need to start making myself more filling lunches, too. I also need to stop buying the darn half gallons of ice cream that go on sale to keep in the house; now that it’s getting warmer, ice cream and fro-yo will be a treat to be enjoyed occasionally, outside of the house. Aaaand I need to keep the baking to a minimum (or just send it off to work with Jay immediately). These are all things that I have found set me up for failure.
And I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to feel crappy going to bed at night. I want to get back to that place I was at a month ago. When someone asks me how I’m feeling, I want to be able to tell them with 100% certainty that I feel GREAT.
So, that’s my “new plan on the plan.” Wish me luck.