Something clicked in my head as I wolfed down the second large slice of pie, and I saw myself with sudden, horrifying clarity: I had lost control.

The long winter wore me down. Desperate for a bright spot, I used food to get me through. Another cloudy day? Let's stop at the donut shop for an apple fritter. Another six inches of snow? In April? Let's bake cookies and pretend like we still enjoy being cozy. Another week of highs in the upper 30s? Pass the Peeps please.

I was dulled, deadened to the gradual relaxing of self-control. It wasn't until that night in early May when I ate almost a fourth of a pie in one sitting that the alarm bells sounded.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Why are you eating so much sugar? Why aren't you making better choices? What about moderation?

I wasn't in charge anymore. I was numb to the food in my mouth, eating because "I deserved it" or the kids were finally in bed or I had nothing else to do. My usual standard of one treat a day had relaxed to two treats a day to a treat at each meal to french fries are a vegetable, right? And I could feel it. I don't struggle with weight much, but the pounds were creeping on. I was lethargic and bloated and my back and neck hurt from poor posture.

I was over-indulged, in body and spirit.

Drastic change was needed. A reset. I needed my body to reacquaint itself with hunger, to remember that dessert isn't a basic human right. I needed to control my appetites, not the other way around.

So the day after Kieran's birthday, I went cold turkey and cut three things out of my diet.

No bread.
As far as I know, I'm not gluten sensitive. But I decided to take a gluten-free approach to this. I'm not eating wheat, which means I'm not eating any bread or crackers or baguette or most (sob) cereal. I am allowing myself non-gluten, whole grains. For example: Seeds of Change organic brown rice and quinoa, which I buy at Costco, has become my lunchtime staple. Topped with half an avocado, it's filling and yummy.

No sugar.
Again, I'm not militant here. I still pour flavored cream into my coffee, and I eat tons of fruit, which is filled with natural fructose. But I'm not eating treats. No leftover birthday cake. No Frappucinos. No squares of dark chocolate after the kids go to bed. None. Nada. I have completely lost my ability to regulate, so for this season, it's best I say no to all of it. No internal negotiations. No "but it's just a kiddie cone." Just no. Walk away.

No dairy.
This primarily means no milk or cheese, for me. I'm still eating yogurt, usually one container a day, either with my homemade granola or in a smoothie. But cutting out milk means I'm not eating massive bowls of cereal (and this spring, I developed an affinity for Lucky Charms, so this is a good thing), and cutting out cheese means I'm not as tempted by pizza (which was practically a food group in March and April).

I'm two weeks in now, and I already feel better and strangely energized. I usually have a banana, coffee and eggs for breakfast, brown rice, qunioa and avocado for lunch, and whatever I'm making my family for dinner, minus the bread and sugar. At least once a day, I have a big salad like the one pictured at the top (an improvised BLT salad, to satisfy a craving). Smoothies of frozen fruit, juice and yogurt keep my sweet tooth in check, and one night, I had a bowl of Crispix (gluten-free except for the malt flavoring) topped with almond milk and blackberries when I was getting the shakes from cereal withdrawal.

It feels good to exercise some self-discipline, to not be driven by my appetites. To remember that all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial.

I suspect I'll be on this tweak-of-a-diet for a few more weeks, probably until school gets out. Just long enough for me to retrain my tastebuds and reacquaint myself with moderation.

Because summer is coming and bringing with it ice cream and peach pie and s'mores. And I want to be able to enjoy those treats. And I can't enjoy something when it controls me.

BLT Salad

4 cups of organic mixed spring greens
14 rounds of English cucumber
12 grape tomatoes, halved
3 strips of crisp bacon, crumbled

1. Toss together and enjoy.

1. I'm not a huge fan of salad dressing, so I don't top this with anything. But I imagine a balsamic vinegar would be nice.
2. Do I even need to say this is customizable?


  1. You go girl. Knowing we (can) control what we put in our bodies is so empowering. Plus? It makes me feel awesome. Here's to more energy and fantastic summer treats.

  2. I'm eating Ben and Jerry's FroYo while I read this tonight. But I'm joining you, sister. I can't enjoy something that controls me. Love that.

  3. I hear you. I did the same thing during this past winter in CO. It seemed endless. Every Saturday for months, we got donuts. I'd swing through drive-thrus for after-school snacks of french fries because they were hot and salty and made me glare less at the grey clouds. I discovered imported Irish sharp white cheddar and have eaten mounds (I'm still a little addicted). I drank gallons of Starbucks sweetened with vanilla and whipped cream. Not hyperbole when you add it all up, sadly.

    These past few weeks have signaled a change in me, too. It's not about vanity, it's about looking what winter eating wrought regarding my energy and outlook. Now I'm craving crispy cold salads and fruit. Finally. And it's manifesting in more energy and better outlook. Why can't I remember this when I'm cramming a lemon bismark in my mouth in March?

  4. Proud of you friend - both for writing this out loud, and for taking the steps you're taking. And I'm so glad you're feeling better!

  5. I am so relieved there is an endpoint, because I was getting worried about no dessert when we visit. Going to your house is an automatic "cheat day" for us. In fact, I remember timing a fast once around staying at your house and saying to my mom that I just didn't think God meant for people to fast around your cooking (it may have been mint brownie season, but I'm not certain). XOXO

  6. Yes. YES! Not only has the majority of the midwest been out of control when it comes to what (and how much) goes our mouths ... we've just been plain old confused. Monday: hey, it's spring -- dust off the grill! Let's make a salad! Tuesday: Uh, it's snowing. Chili or pot pie tonight? Too many weeks of that nonsense will leave the most disciplined of folks numbing themselves with curly fries.

  7. I love your approach...and that this is just for a limited time. Anyone can do anything for 30 days, right?!

  8. Oh, wow, how this strikes at my heart right now.
    Everything you wrote about the place you have been in, I am there right now. Every day, I think to myself, "Tomorrow I will not eat ___", but tomorrow ends up being the same as today: not enough nutritious foods; too much sugar / junk; tiredness and headaches...
    And I know why!!!
    Because I'm not taking care of myself.
    I am going to join you, and TODAY write out a meal plan for the rest of this week and the week to come, to get me started. To keep me accountable. I have done this MANY times, so I know it's more than possible. It's just the start that is hard - cutting out the sugar and the "treats" that have become daily indulgences.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your own struggles. It has helped me to know that I am definitely not alone, and to know that I am not the only one who WANTS to make a change in this area!
    Thank you!!