THE ATTACK OF
THE KILLER BROWNIES
23 March 2003
I could see them in my mind. I could smell them in my mind. I could taste them in my
mind. I had a strong craving for the brownies that they sell at the market next door to
the office--thick, chewey, with big chunks of chocolate imbedded in them. The
old-fashioned kind with rich flavor, the kind my mother used to make. I wanted a brownie.
Heck, I wanted the whole package of brownies.
What was even worse, I had to go to the store to get lunch.
I had to walk past, around, by, near, in front of the big display of brownies.
What the heck. It won't kill me. I deserve it. I can make it up. All the old excuses. I
would buy a box and bring them back to the office and hide them in the fridge. Then I'd
sneak in when Dr. G had a patient and get snacks throughout the day. If there were any
left at the end of the day, I'd take them home. Walt is on a business trip and will be
gone all week. I could finish them off and get the container into the garbage before he
came home and he'd be none the wiser.
Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that was my thought process.
Bozoette has a wonderful entry about food
cravings, about the helplessness when confronted with temptations like killer brownies.
Like me, she's lost a chunk of weight (we've lost about the same amount) and is looking
pretty good right now. She wants to lose more and she's having a difficult time sticking
I start out pretty well, a simple toasted bagel for breakfast, salad and protein for
lunch. Then all hell breaks loose. There's simply some sort of switch in my brain that
flips, and then it's all over but the crumb cleanup. Marriott hard candy, Lindt white
chocolate truffle bars, afternoon cookies, dinner dessert.
I kidded myself, when I started this plan, that if I could stick with it--really stick
with it--that over time I'd develop better eating habits. I'd come to prefer good food
over--well--killer brownies. I'd learn how to stop with one bite of something really yummy
and gnosh a carrot instead.
Funny how we play mind games on ourselves, isn't it?
They say "nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Bzzzttt. Wrong.
It's a nice cliché, but it's just not true. Thin doesn't feel as good as those brownies
would taste. And besides...it's only a one day slip, right?
So I headed off to the supermarket, full of cravings and guilt. I had sorta kinda made
up my mind. The heck with it. I know I said I was going to be more disciplined, but
dammit...I want a brownie...or ten.
When I got to the store, I first bought a new box of Splenda so I can have oatmeal
again. Then I bought some cooked chicken so I can have a big salad with chicken for
dinner, since I don't have to actually cook dinner with Walt gone. Then I picked up some
tomatoes for snacking on...nice zero point food.
And then I approached the danger zone: the deli, the Chinese food counter, the cheese
sample place, the bakery which bakes hot French bread just before lunchtime, ...and the
I chose soup and a salad for lunch and put them in my basket. Then the moment of truth
was here. The hell with it. I was buying the brownies, dammit.
But I didn't. I brought the soup and salad back to the office and ate that for lunch
and to calm my sweet tooth, I ate a mini Luna bar.
Now that the "honeymoon phase" (as my friend Diane calls it) is over, it's
time to look at "eating" realistically. To accept that I'm never going to be rid
of the cravings. There will always be killer brownies to deal with. I'm never going to
find broccoli a "treat." I'm never eagerly going to choose salad over something
deep fried. Even my leader, 12 years down the road, still struggles with food cravings.
I am envious of people who eat to live. It's not necessarily an "admirable"
trait, because I suspect it comes of conditioning, not discipline. (I could be wrong on
that.) When you are raised in an environment where food is the center of all pleasant
activities, where treats are food, where special events call for food, where fun centers
around food, it become very deeply engrained. I suspect the majority of people in this
country (based on the severe obesity problem) were raised that way. It was nobody's fault.
It was just what was the norm.
I'd love to be the kind of person who doesn't think about food until my stomach tells
me it's hungry. But I can't help being affected by food, struggling with the temptations
on a daily basis. Occasionally giving in...but that makes the times when I don't
give in, when I pass by the killer brownies, that much more sweet. It ain't chocolate, but
it's a decent second choice.