Day 19 – The Challenge of the Dessert Table

you ever wondered why we crave sweets? I have. To be honest, I think we
all crave sweet foods once in a while, this is not the issue. The issue
is: we know that refined sugar and other forms of sugar are bad for us,
so why do we still make, buy and eat sugary foods and drinks? That is
the question I am asking myself. How can we modify a situation if we
don’t understand the elements creating it? My goal here is to shine
some light on certain elements that could ease up the ”Holiday Season
Dessert Table” challenge.

Going to the root of the matter…

If you are part of the ”sweet tooth clan”, or the ”I am on a diet” clan, the next week or so will be a challenge. There are tons of interesting concepts on why we still eat what we shouldn’t. My top three favorite are: peer pressure, the need for reward and habits. So let’s take a look at them. 


Being part of the clan (peer pressure)


Don’t be fooled,
peer pressure doesn’t end at graduation; it is part of life and there to
stay. Being part of a clan (family, social group, friends circle) is a
human behaviour as old as our nature. Before the institution of prison,
the highest form of punishment was to be cast away, shunned, or rejected
from the clan. The expelled member had often brought shame and
dishonour to the group.


Because we are
social creatures, our need to belong is intrinsic to us. Jane Howard
expresses this very well. ” Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a
tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you
need one.”  


That being said,
the strength of our bond to one another does not imply surrendering our
personal pursuits and values. I often say to my children: “it is not
what you say; it is how you say it that matters.” If you are under
pressure during a Christmas supper, you don’t need to sacrifice your
commitment to yourself. By expressing your present situation in the
right manner, pressure could easily turn into admiration and
inspiration. Being part of the clan does not mean having to blend at all


Need for reward  


Have you ever
heard someone say: “I have worked all day, I deserve a piece of… or a
glass of… or just one….” I bet you did. As a matter of fact, you
probably said it yourself, more than once. I sure did!


What about this
one: “I’ve been dieting for 6 weeks, I’ve lost 15 lbs, I’ve done so well
I deserve to treat myself to a _________!” That is precisely where the
whole thing starts to unravel!


The worse one is
when a family member, often a spouse or parent says: “You’ve been doing
this diet for so long and you’ve done so well, you deserve a _________,
surely it won’t hurt anything!” The reason why it is even worse than the
previous scenario is that now, not only do you have to stand up for
yourself, but you have to be different from the rest of the clan!
Starting to get the picture?




They say it takes
21 days to change a habit. I don’t believe that anymore. If it was true,
addiction to substances would not be a problem any longer. Within three
weeks, an addict would be cured! … We ALL KNOW there is no such


Habits are
conniving… they develop without a warning. Sometimes, they are so
dubious that it takes someone else to tell us we have ”a problem” or
”a lack of control”. Habits and addictions have a few things is
common; one of them is the way they creep in, and another is the way we
are often unaware of their presence and effects on our body and mind.  


The beautiful
thing is that good habits are as tenacious as bad ones. So why not trade
the bad ones for the good ones! It is the same process anyway.
Practice, practice, repeat, and repeat, that is all we need to do. If
you view your food choices (during your diet) as temporary, you are not
creating a habit at all. The old has to give way to your new choices;
then you have the birth of a habit.


So before you go to any family or friends gathering for the
Holidays, take an honest moment with yourself to evaluate if sweets or
food in general, are part of a bad habit. If the answer is yes, remember
that you will be faced with this reality over and over again. Make your
own decision and believe you have the strength to respect the vow you
made to yourself. Nobody said this was easy, but we all have the freedom
and the ability to transform our lives… to create new habits and life
patterns that will, in exchange, open the doors to new opportunities
and joy!

Phase 4 tip…


In Phase 4, this kind of situation is more than
probable. The worry is that because you don’t have the “diet” as a
crutch, people won’t understand why you are still refusing a dessert or a
second glass of wine. The thing is that you do deserve a reward,
everyone agrees! But a reward should not result in sabotaging your hard
work and devotion. That just doesn’t make sense.

Christmas Season
is a time of gathering, a time to be a part of a group and a time to
feel that we deserve a break, a good laugh and loving company… Be
prepared as you may well find yourself faced with all three challenges
at once: peer pressure, the need for a reward and old habits that die
hard… take it from someone who knows, the plate of sweets is not a


Julie-Jeanne Darc
Food-Wise Weight Loss

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