And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Restraint has never been my strong suit. When Ree Drummond makes her kids a special treat, say, an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and various toppings, she likes to tell them, “Practice restraint.”

I can’t do that. When I lose control, I lose control. In the last month, I had gotten off-track with sugar cravings. Sometimes I would stop by Casey’s to see if they had any of those heavenly sugar cookies with the white frosting. Most of the time they did not. Sometimes I would turn on my heel and march straight back out the door (my way of protesting, like “Well, okay, then, if you don’t have my kind of cookies, I just won’t buy anything at all!”–as if they cared), but a time or two I bought a couple of sugar cookies without the frosting because that’s all they had. Did you notice the word “couple”?

When I decide I’m going off plan, I go way off plan. I can’t have a cookie because a cookie is not enough. I want two or three cookies. Or four.

I had this discussion with a coworker one afternoon as she sat on my couch chatting after she dropped by to pick up her jewelry order. The subject was donuts, and we both agreed that it’s hard to stop at just one.

“And that’s why we can’t have nice things,” I said. She erupted in laughter, and immediately I knew I had stumbled upon a catchy blog title.

It’s easier not to eat donuts at all than to stop at one.

Confession time. In the last few weeks I bought, on three separate afternoons, those vanilla sugar wafers (Always Save, the cheap ones) in the cookie aisle at Piggly Wiggly and ate them all single-handedly before the night was through. They weren’t even the “good stuff.” They weren’t gourmet cookies by any stretch of the imagination. A whole package cost me only $1.29 or something like that, and the guilt I felt afterward far outweighed any pleasure that was derived from eating them. Or maybe not. It’s easy to say after the fact, but, while I was stuffing them into my face, I was thoroughly enjoying them.

Here’s something I’ve noticed about myself, though. I set out to eat the whole package. When I bought them in the store, I had no intention of stopping after just three wafers. This was premeditated gluttony. I barely took the time to chew each one. The sugar, oh, the sugar. I can’t even explain the euphoria I experience when that sugar hits my tongue, but I can’t get enough of it and I can’t get it fast enough. I couldn’t even leave my parking spot without ripping open the bag, and I had three rows gone before I hit my driveway–and I only live about three minutes from the store!

Then the depression sets in. I can do fine all morning and afternoon. I have my okra smoothies, my Ezekiel toast or my baked oatmeal. I can coast through my day and be 100% fine, and then in one unguarded moment in the grocery store unravel my whole day.

My husband doesn’t think I’m serious when I say that I cannot go to the grocery store unsupervised.

The nutritionist said on Extreme Weight Loss that the cravings diminish after the first couple of weeks, but they will only diminish if you quit giving in to them.

Even now I feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Just the thought of those cheap sugar wafers has my mouth watering. I’m not even hungry. I just drank my coffee okra shake and had two pieces of Ezekiel toast, but the mental picture of those yellow, crunchy sugar wafers with the sweet centers literally has me almost drooling.

I’m pretty sure my grandma used to call those ice cream cookies or icebox cookies. They come in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Sometimes you can get packages with all three in them, like neopolitan ice cream–but vanilla is my favorite one, so I just buy the packages that have vanilla. Excuse me, “bought” the packages. Let me just put that in past tense right now before I give myself permission to continue in this destructive lifestyle.

The fall is here and we never got our bikes bought. That’s just as well. I was afraid of getting hit by a texting driver, anyway. Chuck and Chelsea dragged me out to Confederate Park on Saturday to get some walking in. I felt wonderful afterward. My family gave me money for my birthday, so I could buy a Fitbit. I was hoping it would motivate me to walk more, but so far I haven’t.

The treadmill has gone by the wayside. I pretend that I don’t do the treadmill because the motor is going out in it, but the truth is that I have lost my mojo. My motivation to walk on the treadmill is sporadic at best. I walked on it last week a couple of times, but over the summer I could probably count the number of times I got on the treadmill on one hand.

Do you know what that means? That means that I gained some weight over the summer. We went on vacation the first part of July, and all bets were off when it came to my eating. I ate anywhere and anything. Continental breakfasts included four or five donuts, orange juice, raisin bran with milk. I was out of control, and the scale showed it.

I was horrified to discover that suddenly I was up twenty-nine pounds from my lowest weight I had reached after discovering Trim Healthy Mama. Friends went from saying “Wow, how much have you lost now?” to “Are you still doing that Trim Healthy Mama thing?” When that happens you know something has gone wrong.

The difference has mainly been the treadmill–and my occasional sugar outbursts. I still separate my fats from my carbs. I make the Trim Healthy Mama pancakes on page 259 of the new cookbook and don’t even miss the butter. Oh! I have to tell you something. A few days ago, I ran out of vanilla extract, so instead of putting vanilla extract in them I used half a teaspoon of maple extract and a teaspoon of butter extract. Mm mm! They were tasty!

I also throw a handful of blueberries on top after I ladle them onto the griddle. I wish I had tried these long before now. They are wonderful and my family loves them. The recipe is so easy that I had it memorized after only fixing them one time.

Finally I am putting that griddle that Chelsea got for me for Christmas a couple of years ago, when she was in Kindred Hospital, to good use. I used it a couple of times when I first got it for S pancakes, but they don’t hold a candle to these E pancakes. When I say I think I could eat them every day of my life, I am not exaggerating.

I put some chocolate chips in some for Chelsea, and she took some to work with her. Karmin, the owner of the salon, ate three of them that day and gave them a two-thumbs-up.

I only wish I had ordered some more of the THM Super Sweet when it was on sale last week. No one can tell these are not regular pancakes. Chelsea remarked that they are every bit as good as any pancakes she has ever had, and here’s probably the biggest compliment: Cameron said this would be something good to have on Christmas morning. To eat these pancakes and suddenly equate them to a special treat for Christmas morning? That made me beam.

“I can do that,” I said cheerily. I can definitely whip up a batch of these on Christmas morning. They take almost no time at all, and what a comfort food!

I made the rest of the family sausage links, hash browns and eggs, but my husband commented that he was FULL. Over-full would be my guess because there was enough protein in those pancakes to be a meal all by themselves. I got full, too, and pancakes are all that I eat–none of the other stuff.

Thanks for hanging with me this morning. I know I’ve kind of been rambling. I’ve gotten out of the habit of blogging and I’m just pouring out any thought that hits my brain.

Anyway, sugar: bad (really bad). Trim Health Mama pancakes on page 259: good (really good).