On the third day, I cheated

I slept in this morning. Not the best idea when you have to eat five meals on a schedule – one every three hours. I slept so late that I had a caffeine withdrawal headache while I was still sleeping. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. By the time I got up, drank my coffee (to hell, with it, I had my regular half a pot), imbibed the liver cocktail and ate breakfast, it was already time for my first snack of the day. I ate lunch around 2:00 and didn’t have enough time to eat my second snack before I went to my tutoring appointment at 4:00.

The little boy I’m tutoring does not enjoy our sessions. There is a lot of sighing and whining and head smacking, and getting through one book is torturous for him…and me. He is a good reader but lacks confidence, and he spent the first couple of sessions resisting everything I wanted him to do (read a book, practice his spelling words, play a word game – I’m such a meanie!) I had to do something to motivate him, so I resorted to bribery.

Last week, I took a jar of quarters with me. We counted them out ($5.00 worth – see, not a meanie!) and I told him he could have them all if he didn’t complain during our time together. Every time he complained, I would take away a quarter. Fortunately for him, I’m a benevolent dictator, and he walked away from the table with all 20 quarters.

I wanted to mix it up this week, so I asked his mom what his favorite candy was. I stopped by the drugstore on the way to his house and bought a bag of snack-size Kit Kats . He was pretty excited when I showed him the candy and got through most of the session without complaint. He started with three, but I took one away when he balked at practicing his spelling words, so he netted two Kit Kats (and knowledge of how to spell the word environment.)

Gimme a break!
Give me a break!

I could have left the rest of the Kit Kats at his house, but he has three brothers, so I feared the bag wouldn’t survive the week.I brought them home with me. One of the principles of intuitive eating is Make peace with food. This is a major shift in thinking for me. I sort food into three categories: good, bad, and what are you thinking? (Apple? Good! Kit Kat? Bad. Awesome Blossom? Are you freakin’ kidding me?) When you make peace with food, there are no bad foods. A Kit Kat is no better or worse than an apple; sometimes you really do need a break!

Another principle is Honor your hunger: notice when you’re hungry and what you’re hungry for. Is it stomach hunger? Does your body want protein or carbs, yogurt or a banana, fish or chicken? Is it mouth hunger? Are you using chocolate to avoid feelings (guilty!) or do you just want a little something sweet to finish a meal?

On the way home, I noticed I was hungry. I also noticed I was tired – I yawned all the way home and really wanted to lie down. Instead, I ate my snack (celery, carrots, hummus, and chicken) and then met a potential new stylist for my Stella & Dot team. When I got home, it was 8:00. I was ravenous but not sleepy. I felt alert and surprisingly well-rested for 8:00 p.m. I ate dinner, watched Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal (OMG – so good! That Shonda Rhimes sure knows how to do dark and twisty!) and then I remembered the Kit Kats. Sitting in a bag in my kitchen. They weren’t calling to me like this baby,

Trader Joe's (Better Than Reese's) Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
Trader Joe’s (Better Than Reese’s) Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

but I wanted a little something sweet. So I ate one. Or two. Okay, it was three, but who’s counting? The thing is, I didn’t feel guilty, or eat myself into a Kit Kat coma. I didn’t use the Kit Kats to avoid my feelings. Kit Kats aren’t bad, and I’m not a bad person for eating them. HUGE mental shift! It’s hard to undo decades of a dysfunctional relationship with food. It’s not going to happen in three days. It won’t happen in 21 days either, but I’m making progress. I’m giving myself a break, and that’s surely worth a Kit Kat or two. 🙂

2 thoughts on “On the third day, I cheated

  1. OMG! What a clever way to deal with your tutee! And those Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups are the most amazing things around. Seriously!

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