You Can’t Have Your Muffin

(…and eat it too.)

I was sitting at some tables waiting for my lecture to start the other day and I noticed that some muffins in a cabinet nearby were looking at me. They wanted to be in my mouth stat.  I sat there thinking about those muffins for a while, and I ended up playing out the following steps in my head:

  1. Make the decision to buy the muffin, get up and walk over to the shop (at the moment this is a pretty big step in itself).
  2. Ask for a muffin.
  3. Pay for the muffin (I almost put 2 and 3 together but I think the act of physically getting out your money and handing it to the person is crucial step. I know that it is really hard to say “oh actually, I won’t,” especially if that’s all you’re buying but it’s still a possibility).
  4. Take the muffin away, sit down with the muffin and decide “this is something that I want to do” and pull the muffin out of the bag (at this point you have the option to throw the muffin away).
  5. Look at the muffin and really decide to eat it.
  6. I then picture myself eating the muffin, like actually visualise it, just a few bites. Thinking about exactly how it would feel/taste.
  7. Then I picture that I’ve finished the muffin, the muffin is gone, all that is left is a brown paper bag, a muffin liner and some crumbs.
  8. The evidence goes in the bin, I sit back down (where I am actually sitting at the time) and there’s no muffin.
  9. There’s no muffin, and maybe I would feel guilty, happy or nothing, this part is sort of whatever (though I think a lot of people focus on this part the most).
  10. My muffins’ friends are still staring at me but I have no muffin of my own.
  11. You can’t have your muffin and eat it too.

I’ve noticed that this is a fairly regular thing that I do. I don’t really know if it’s willpower or stubbornness but for some reason the thought of having to get through each of those steps to eat my muffin, only to have no muffin again in the end, is enough to keep me firmly in my seat until my lecture starts.

I do the same thing with that one thing that I have been craving from the store on the other side of campus. I want one so bad but I know I couldn’t make that walk.

As part of mental-health week (exams are coming up) there were people giving out lollipops at the entrance to the uni library. I was so ready to eat that little ball of sugar, I looked up the calories of my flavour and everything. Then I kept thinking about it; when can I eat it? In my lecture? On my way home? Should I carve out some quiet, alone time for me and my lollipop? I started thinking about how I would unwrap it, eat it and then have no lollipop anymore. I ended up giving it to Hugh. Stubborn? Or a weirdo?

Free stuff takes away a couple of steps, which is annoying. It’s interesting to think of these things as a step-process I think; if you think of shopping at the supermarket, you are already there buying your groceries, you’re still going to swipe your card or hand over your cash. The steps it takes to buy that chocolate/those chips/lollies are combined with the same steps that you are taking to buy healthy/every day foods.

I can relate this to our Kitchen Makeover pre-season task too; there is much more effort involved for me now if I want to have a block of chocolate. I would first have to mind-wrestle with myself, put some shoes on (and possibly change out of my PJ’s and put deodorant on), find my way to the shops and proceed with steps 2-11.

These steps don’t really stop me craving/wanting the particular thing but somehow I just can’t get my head around actually buying/eating it.

What have you tried?

What works for you?

I’ve heard of a few different strategies for dealing with cravings over the years. Apparently thinking about rainbows can make them go away?

Also don’t worry, I’m far from being a fully functional 12WBTer. I was going to be right on 1200 last night and then I accidentally ate an extra piece of toast with dinner because I misread the servings of the recipe; everything else was measured fine, what?

Also! Why has no one reminded me that corn thins are the tastiest snack ever?

What else are you hiding from me?

~ energyandEmily


15 thoughts on “You Can’t Have Your Muffin

  1. I love this idea. Kind of like getting your head to the place where it would feel guilty, skip the actual eating of the muffin (thus any real guilt).

    • Sort of, I don’t really focus on the guilt so much, more on the fact that the whole thing ends being a bit underwhelming, and when my muffin is gone I haven’t really gained anything in buying/eating it.

  2. Love this. For all those steps the only thing left at the end is an empty paper bag, a few crumbs and a strange feeling of self disappointment. I don’t think you’re stubborn, I think you’re an absolute champ! Keep up the great work.

  3. Interesting way of thinking about it! I definitely hadn’t approached it from that angle before. I am going to try incorporating it. At the moment I am buoyed by my sheer joy at having lost a bit of weight, but that’s not going to be around forever.

    • If it helps, I also remind myself that it’s only 12 weeks, not in a “I can binge in 12 weeks!” kind of way but more like “Be strict for 12 weeks and then we can start to talk about how to fit unhealthy food back into your life, on your terms.”

      I hope that helps, but I’m sure you will power through it 🙂

  4. Just wanted to give you a thumbs up for your blog! I love reading it. And you can definitely tell the difference in the last photo you put up – your face is glowing 🙂

  5. I have done the same thing before Emily. This fight in my head between the healthy me and my inner teenager or labrador (as Mish likes to call it). I think it is a great way to think it through because it takes a while, hopefully meaning you will be making an informed decision when you eat it. You know, you genuinely want it and enjoy it with no guilt. Did you know most muffins have 600 fricken calories in them? So if you really want something, choose a chocolate bar or a mini muffin. But no muffin is better so you made the right choice 🙂

    Another thing you could try is positive affirmations. So maybe when you drive to uni, prepare yourself for your usual routine and say things like “I am strong today”, “I feel so healthy inside and out”….say anything and everything that is incompatible with muffin-eating.

    • It’s crazy! When I looked up the calories for that bit of cake I had last weekend, one slice was over 600 calories!! My few bites were at least 200! And you’re right, it’s about making an informed (by yourself/your body) decision about what to have. If I decide that I really want something I can always look for a smaller/lower calorie alternative.

      That’s a good idea! I’ll give that a go. I find that it’s been good to make sure I always have a snack of some kind on me, even if I’m just going to one lecture. If I am tempted I just think about my snacks, which are tasty, healthy and free of charge (at that moment).

  6. What a great way to look at it Emily! I hate buying food in general (not grocery shopping) because I always convince myself that the person selling it to me will judge me. I don’t really know why but at least it stops me buying it! Unfortunately that doesn’t stop me from actually eating it if someone else offers to bring it over.
    I remember in the Kitchen Makeover pre-season video it stood out to me when Michelle was throwing out the food and she was sort of like “I know you’re going to have a go at me for throwing out food but is it better that you eat this junk?”. As much as nobody wants to be wasteful with good food, its so true – whats the difference between you eating the junk and throwing it out.

    • I hadn’t thought about it that way but you’re right! In the long run, what’s the difference between eating that packet of chips and throwing it away, except that it would be better for you to throw it away?

  7. It’s almost like you read my mind because that’s exactly what I do! Spooky! I do have a secret weapon though which will be revealed shortly. Works especially well with night times and weekends. 🙂

  8. OMG this was me today! I was heading home from Ararat, absolutely frozen, stopped at the only place I knew that I could get a skinny latte on a Sunday which happened to be a bakery. While waiting I was looking at the display of cakes until my gaze fell on a peppermint slice. I’m sure it was giving me the eye and wanted to come home with me! I played it all out in my head, I was alone in the car, I had an hour long drive ahead of me, etc. she took my order and said “anything else?” and a cloud fleetingly passed me by and I said “no thanks, just the coffee” and I swear the sun came out and the angels sang!!! ROFL.

    Love your blog!

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