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Sunday Brunch Dillemma!

Hello everyone,
The Lounge has been so incredibly supportive and helpful already, so I know this will be a good place to find help!
Every Sunday, Dupont Circle hosts a wonderful Farmer's Market. I always buy the most beautiful fresh fruits and veggies, as well as delicious things like eggs, goat cheese, ad fresh bread. Every week since I moved here and learned about the Market, I have treated myself to a pastry at the bread stand. It's this incredible chocolate almond buttery flaky thing - pastry to dream about, made and sold by delightfully brisk French people :) They're enormous, and probably contain a year's worth of calories. Here's the dillemma - I believe in treating yourself, especially because it's a weekly ritual I enjoy and I have been "cheating" on my diet way, way less than any other time I've tried to lose weight. But I almost feel like my success is delicate - a spell that I don't want to break by eating pastry (does that sound ridiculous? I know it does, but it's how I feel).
The question is, do I canonize this weekly ritual, so that I know I have a day where I eat something I love, lingered over with coffee and a book French-style? It might be really helpful in keeping me from binging other times in the week if I have a set routine like this, because I work well with routines. OR is this weird feeling of "breaking the spell" legitimate, and will I endanger my success?

Am I the only one who has thought about this?
Thanks, in advance.

Sat. Aug 25, 11:21pm

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No you are not the only one who has thought about this. I eat dessert. I like that you said you canonize this weekly ritual because that is a perfect word for what I do too. I get dessert out, I share it with someone I love, I do this once a week (at most) and I get the real thing and I enjoy it. I have lost 85 pounds.

I have to tell you I haven't lost the weight perfectly in a dietary sense...I have periods when I am careful and paying attention, and other periods when life gets in the way....but I since I have been "paying attention to what I am eating" I have made some sustainable changes. Eating dessert in this canonized fashion is one of those changes.

I love that you are combining this pastry with farmers market shopping. You get to know who you are buying from...and you get really fresh produce. Somehow it makes sense that you are eating this wonderful pastry in that context. If you are concerned about the size, maybe you can cut it in half or thirds and give the rest away if you shop alone. It will involve an element of generosity...make that part of the ritual.

It's all about living for me, living sanely, making sustainable changes in the context of being fully present in your life. Sounds like that is what you are doing here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 9:55 AM

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I highly doubt that eating a gigantic pastry with coffee is actually real "french" style. Nevertheless, there is nothing magical about weight loss. FInd out how many calories are in it (ask for the recipe), and see if you can really afford it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 10:28 AM

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First of all, I would like to say that I really appreciate the thoughtful and articulate way you wrote your post. You definitely have a talent for writing and its very refreshing to read something thoughtfully written in this lounge!

To answer your question, if it is that gigantic and amazing, yes, it will probably hurt your weight loss efforts to an extent. However, the way I see it, if you are consistently losing each week, that 0.5 of a pound will come off eventually if you are doing everything right in other areas. In my own life, I make concessions all the time - a taste of this or that here or there, or even just flat out eating something that is high calorie. But I don't really consider this cheating - I consider it living! A restrictive diet will make me want to give up, but a healthy lifestyle with allowed moments of weakness is something I can and will do forever. I lose at least 1 pound but usually 2 every week because I count every stinkin' calorie and I exercise consistently. If I saw that the scale stopped moving, I would make some small changes to give me traction on this path and keep me moving forward.

All that to say - yes I think you can do it, as long as you are totally mindful of it, log it, and don't make other concessions. And if you see that the scale or measuring tape or whatever you use to track your success is not moving, then maybe you should bring a Ziploc baggie and eat half and take the other half home for your family. It would still be enjoying your ritual and you could even share something you love with those you love.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 12:50 PM

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OP here again

Thank you guys so much for taking the time to think about this and respond. Here's what happened this morning -

I went to the farmer's market with $20 in my pocket - I am a student without a lot of money, and that is all I budgeted. The pastry/bread stand is very popular and often closes early, so I went there first. As I was ordering, I had some strange attack of the "old me" - I knew I didn't have anything unhealthy in my apartment, so I started panicking, ie "what if I have a craving! If this is the only time I'm allowed to have sweets, what happens if I get another craving later and don't have anythiing, I'll end up at the Krispy Kreme down the street or something, just as many calories for something I won't enjoy as much!"
I heard myself order TWO. That's right. Heard myself. I am disassociating because I think that was the "old me" talking - the "new me" regretted it as soon as the lovely French lady handed me back my change. Screwed yourself over again, Emilie, you suck and you're destined to fail this time, just like every other time.
As I walked around the farmer's market, I knew I'd screwed myself over twofold - I blew $7 on pastry, and now had only $13 to spend on what I came here for - fresh fruits and veggies. (I didn't get there in time to load up on the best priced, delicious organic cucumbers that I depend on to make my favorite diet lunch of cucumber salad. They're half as much as in the grocery store, which makes a difference if you're buying a lot, on a budget!) I trudged through the rest of my shopping list...tomatoes, check...peppers, check...apples, check..
Then, an epiphany! I may have spent the money, but I haven't actually EATEN these yet. I heard my new mantra in my head - "Binging Isn't Naughty, It's Just Stupid" -- and came up with a new plan. It's all very well to savor a pastry once a week when you're a slim French woman (or Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina :) but when you're on a diet, if you can possibly avoid putting buttery pastry in your body, you should!!
NEW PLAN OF ACTION: Waiting for the pastries to cool as much as possible (did I mention they're served hot from the sun?) and will wrap pastry in saran wrap and stick in freezer until Thursday, when Mom comes to visit. (Mom is a former dancer and model, one of those rare breeds who could probably sit around eating French pastry all day without gaining an ounce, at age 52) I called her and told her about how I deliberately bought two of these delicacies so we could have them when she comes to visit me for labor day weekend.
I haven't felt this resourceful in ages. Pat on the back for me - crisis averted!

I hope there's a lesson in here I can remember (and maybe it'll help you too) -
1)proceeding as if the damage is already done is counterproductive - the bandwagon will wait for you just a few feet past where you fell off
2) Sometimes knowing you have a treat in your house will make you less likely to eat junk. Sometimes, it will make you binge on your "emergency junk" on a regular basis. But I think this is a good balance - I have a set time and place where I will eat this thing, and I don't want to disappoint my mother by eating it before she visits, after I've told her about it.
3) Despite what the advice columnists say, "cheating" won't always help you stay on track. If you can possibly avoid eating crap, do it.
4) Unless there's social pressure (ie boss made cake, mother in law made pie), you CAN avoid eating crap. If your old self is your new self's biggest obstacle, think about what each one looks like - I actually visualize an unflattering picture of me at my biggest alongside an imaginary picture of what I will look like when I reach my goal weight. I want to be the New Self -- and every tiny decision will help me get there!

Sorry for rambling, a la Bridget Jones (it happens on a regular basis). Thanks in advance for listening, and caring -- I really think that the support of this community is what is making THIS time THE time I will get healthy!


Sunday, August 26, 2007, 1:22 PM

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Emilie, I much enjoyed your post(s) and wish you the most exquisite of moments savoring that delicious pastry with your mother.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 1:57 PM

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I'm glad you thought of a good plan. Here's what I would do if I were in your shoes:

I would let myself have one pastry from the farmers market each week, IF for the entire week before, you stuck to your diet and exercise goals. (BEFORE is important - do the good stuff first, then get the reward. Never reward yourself based on the promise that you'll be good later.) This will also help you to avoid temptations during the week, knowing that if you give in, you will not be able to enjoy your pastry/coffee/book ritual.

In addition, I would consider throwing away half of the pastry, before you begin eating it. That will immediately save half of the calories. Alternately, if you know the people well who bake the pastries, you could ask them to specially make you one in a smaller size. That way, you get to enjoy the whole pastry, but it is not as many calories. And, you will only buy one, because they made it specially for you.

Monday, August 27, 2007, 1:14 PM

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