A is for Abstinence

Starting this week I am going to try something a little different. Once a week I’ll write about food, fitness, weight loss and other lifestyle type topics according to the alphabet. Β We’ll see how far I get. “X” should be interesting. πŸ™‚

A is for Abstinence

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job of “practicing what I preach.” The reason I wonder this is because I did some different things when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. I was very strict with my calories. I ate a LOT of processed foods because they were portion controlled and low in calories. The last year or so I’ve gotten away from that. I’m trying to limit the processed foods I eat and prefer to eat REAL FOOD now instead of portion controlled frozen food.

When I say “abstinence” I’m talking about the time when I was losing 100 pounds, not now that I’m in maintenance mode.

I had to go cold turkey. I had to abstain from ALL temptations. Period. It sounds like a hard feat right? It was. I went from overindulging in EVERYTHING one day to limiting everything I ate the next day. I counted everything. The butter I put on my toast. The extra half serving of Wheat Thins with my lunch. I was meticulous. It was the only way to do it.

The hardest part in losing weight for me (besides being patient with how slowΒ it was) was resisting my trigger foods. Ice cream and pizza. That’s what I craved, that’s what I couldn’t eat in moderation. I always went hog-wild with those two things. I knew that I couldn’t lose weight and stay on track if I had ice cream in my house at all. Period. For two years I did not buy any ice cream. Once in awhile I’d buy the Smart Ones diet desserts and I’d have those but I just didn’t trust myself with a carton of ice cream in my freezer.

One bite was such a slippery slope for me.Β As for pizza, I ate it almost weekly. I’d get a medium sized or sometimes large sized pizza delivered and I’d vow every time that I wouldn’t eat the whole thing.

“Just one more piece” I’d tell myself. And before I knew it over half the pizza was gone. So for two years I didn’t eat pizza. At all. Did I crave it? Sometimes. But usually only when I saw someone else eating pizza.

Abstinence is a funny thing. For me, once I stopped eating something I didn’t crave it as much. Another example is when I tried the Slow Carb Diet for a few weeks. I thought I wouldn’t survive not eating bread but I quickly discovered I didn’t miss it when I wasn’t eating it.

Now that I’m in maintenance mode I canΒ have a carton of ice cream in the freezer without the urge to eat the whole thing. I can go out for pizza and only eat a few slices. Having leftover pizza in the fridge does not mean I HAVE to eat it. It can sit there for a few days and be eaten slowly.

Abstinence helped me get to that point. Denying myself those things while I learned how to eat again gave me the clarity I desperately needed. It made me appreciate them when I did eat them in moderation.

My piece of advice (learned the hard way) is to abstain from the trigger foods that cause you trouble. If you can’t stay on track if there’s a bag of Cheetos in the house, don’t have them in the house. At least for awhile. It might be hard at first, but think about how proud and empowered you will feel by conquering that challenge!

QUESTION: Do you abstain from any specific foods in order to stay on track?