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Sometimes I Eat Ice Cream for Dinner (and Other Food Confessions)

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/16/2010 6:00 AM   :  286 comments   :  23,170 Views

Earlier this week, I had a funny dream. I dreamed that I was in a 12-hour foot race that included various stations and obstacles throughout. At one, you had to limbo. At another, I had to change my clothes (weird, right?). And later, between more running, I had to eat ice cream. In the end, I won the race. It was one of those nutty, entertaining dreams that I kept thinking about the next day, laughing to myself. How funny that I won! That ice cream was so good! I wonder if a race like this exists (please tell me that it does)!

Ice cream was on my mind that day. But then again, it is from time to time—especially in the summer. I ate a healthful breakfast full of berries and whole-grain cereal. I snacked on crackers, apples, peanut butter and cheese that day. I had a big salad for lunch full of delicious roasted veggies. But later that night, all I could think about was ice cream. Too lazy to cook after Spinning and in the mood to snack, I hopped on my scooter, headed to the grocery and bought one of my favorite ice cream varieties. I returned home, dished it up, and ate ice cream instead of a sensible dinner.

Now, don't get me wrong. Enjoying ice cream as an entrée is not the kind of thing I do very often. But it's still something that I do occasionally. It was exactly what I wanted that night. The next day, it was back to my normal way of eating: lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and healthful food choices.

I pride myself on eating healthful, natural foods…90% of the time at least. I eat this way because I like to and because I know it's good for me. But I'm not obsessed with avoiding certain foods entirely. Sure, I'll try a few Coconut M&Ms (even if it really doesn't contain any coconuts). Yep, I'll eat foods that contain corn syrup (but rarely buy them myself). Dyes? Not in my breakfast cereal or oatmeal, but if it's in that piece of candy I ate, yeah, OK. Do I like healthy foods? You bet! But will I still eat foods that have little to no redeeming nutritional benefits? Occasionally, yes. I will eat ice cream, sugary kids' cereals, candy and the like—IF I truly want it and IF my diet has been relatively good and balanced in the hours and days preceding.

If I have ice cream in the house (a rare thing, but it happens), I'll have a serving almost every night until it's gone. If I've been craving Twizzlers (a favorite of mine since I was a kid) for several days straight, I'll buy a large bag and sometimes clear it out all by myself within 24-48 hours. If I have a homemade strawberry pie in the fridge, sometimes I'll eat a slice for breakfast. If I'm too lazy to cook at night but not feeling particularly hungry, I may even eat popcorn for dinner--homemade, with real melted butter. And although I prefer to buy and eat whole-grain products, I won't scoff at the Italian bread or white-flour naan served at a restaurant—I'll eat it, quite happily.

I'm not confessing this because I feel guilty about it or feel like I need to change. I'm sharing it as an example of choices we make and of the progress—not perfection—that I believe we can all achieve through a little thing called moderation.

There was a time when I was obsessed with food, calories and ingredients. A time when I would eat a piece of wedding cake and then spend an extra hour on the treadmill to burn it off (if I even allowed myself to eat it). A time when I denied myself foods that I really wanted because they were "unhealthy." A time when it would be impossible for me to eat at any restaurant because the foods didn't meet my high standards of ingredients (no whole-wheat pizza crust, no pizza for me). A time when, if I did "slip-up" and eat a "bad" food, I'd overeat uncontrollably to the point of sickness and then feel guilty about it. But those times are behind me.

I ate ice cream for dinner and felt nothing—no guilt, judgment or remorse. I didn't do it because I was bored, stressed, or angry. I didn't binge uncontrollably until the carton was empty. I didn't do it because I had been depriving myself of fun, flavorful foods and suddenly couldn't take it anymore. I did it because I made the conscious decision to eat it. I didn't feel bad about it. I didn't let it derail my desire to eat sensibly and exercise moderately the next day. It was just something that I did—something that I'm sure I'll do again in the future, if I so choose.

I've come to the conclusion that you don't have to be perfect—in weight loss, eating, cooking, exercising or anything for that matter. Maybe striving for perfection works for others, but it's not for me. I'm just trying to achieve a balance in my life that allows me to stay reasonably fit and healthy without obsessing about it. And if that means I get to eat more ice cream, I'm all for it.

Note: I just wanted to add that this post was inspired by my friend from childhood who recently tweeted: "every time i eat junk food i imagine @thecoachnicole sitting on my shoulder tapping her foot with crossed arms."

"If she only knew," I thought.


Are you a less-than-perfect eater? Share your food "imperfections" with us below.

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Comments

  • MISSALYSSA89
    286
    This is a fantastic entry and point of view! One of the biggest obstacles I've run into in trying to lose weight is the guilt and binging that comes along with having a super strict diet. Thanks for reminding us that we're all only human. - 9/25/2012   4:00:12 PM
  • 285
    I loved this - that's a great outlook! - 3/16/2012   9:36:53 AM
  • 284
    Since reading so many SP wellness articles, I know not to feel guilty for eating what I want, for not exercising on a particular day because I'm not feeling my best, or for anything else for that matter. I know what my goals are, and I've learned how to reach them. As long as I don't eat the "wrong" stuff or neglect exercising every day or even most days, I can enjoy life. After all, this IS a lifestyle change, right? If I don't enjoy it, I'm not gonna wanna change it.. - 1/30/2012   12:25:01 PM
  • ROGERSBABE1
    283
    I had two pieces of cheesecake for dinner over the holiday season, followed by a slice of pumpkin gingerbread for dessert (low fat). I was ashamed of myself..did it once, and got over it. My weakness is homemade baked goods, and I love to bake over the holidays. As soon as those things were out of the house I was good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I noticed how yucky I felt on the inside (I don't eat much sugar and follow a fairly low carb eating plan regularly). - 1/5/2012   1:30:13 PM
  • MERPEARL
    282
    Since ice cream is probably my favorite food in the world, I can totally identify. Unless it's freezing outside, I have ice cream a couple of times a week. However, I have adjusted; I only buy frozen yogurt or low-fat versions, or Weight Watchers fudge pops. If I am having ice cream for a meal (yes, I have done that also!) instead of having 2 full cups, I'll have 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, and will add strawberries and/or granola; it's more of a meal that way! And since ice cream as a meal will never leave you feeling full for long, when I get hungry I move to baby carrots, red peppers, or an apple. As all of you likely know by now, ignoring a craving will do you in at the end of the day; you'll overindulge when the will power fails. It's all about giving in, but with moderation. You CAN be satisfied with the right portion of a treat; just eat it slowly and savor every bite. - 12/25/2010   12:40:07 PM
  • CAROLSWAYNE
    281
    I could have written the first part of this myself. I'm still at the stage where I overindulge and would swear that it's an addiction. I'm encouraged to know that there is hope. Thank you for sharing. - 12/18/2010   10:28:32 AM
  • 280
    YES! YES! YES! Moderation IS the key, deprivation leads to binge eating and even more guilt. Just ask me...having been on a diet all my life, I found myself obese with 90 extra pounds. Now with SP, I'm slowing learning it is all about moderation. - 8/30/2010   3:25:26 AM
  • 279
    I get cravings for junk that I try not to eat, but sometimes it is hard. I love the honesty as I feel most of us feel the same. Being honest with ourselves is very important. We are not all perfect but, we try. And that is all that matters - is that we try. I do a little more of a work out after I eat the junk as I feel guilt. Slow and steady as we go. - 8/18/2010   2:36:54 PM
  • GREEKGAL1
    278
    What an honest blog. I feel exactly the same way. I try to eat healhty 90% of the time but will not deprive myself of something if I want it. - 8/3/2010   9:18:09 AM
  • 277
    My neighbor is a wonderful pie baker. She invites me over to share. Yesterday I had warm peach pie with ice cream and a glass of milk for dinner. This happens maybe every two months, and it is a great treat! Then I go back to my regular healthy fare. Moderation in all things, including moderation! - 8/2/2010   1:05:57 PM
  • 276
    AMEN on moderation! I don't follow a strict diet. Deprivation could lead to a serious binge. - 7/31/2010   9:15:15 PM
  • 275
    I have ate ice cream for dinner many times. Then I would drink tons of water.

    If we ate good all day or the weather is so hot... Something cold and yummy sounds so good.

    I don't like to eat late so even if it was not perfect I have plenty of time to burn it off.

    One of those guilty pleasures. - 7/29/2010   4:40:18 PM
  • 274
    I think I'm just getting out of the count every bite stage. Even then, I occasionally budgeted for ice cream. - 7/27/2010   4:10:37 PM
  • 273
    A treat is good once a week, or once a month! With homemade food. - 7/26/2010   1:55:35 PM
  • 272
    yes i have coffee every morning, I know its bad for me, should i change that habit it gets me going and i usually dont eat breakfast. - 7/22/2010   10:56:17 PM
  • BLUESPARKLES
    271
    This is a prime example of why SP is so popular -- the plans, the tools, and most importantly the coaches and "experts" use COMMON SENSE!!

    - 7/22/2010   3:29:32 PM
  • KMGDEWEY
    270
    I'm with you all the way. This is about living - not starving - not waiting until whenever to be able to enjoy the things you love to eat. It's about healthy choices most of the time and "clams and chips" when that's what you really, really want.

    Great blog and fantastic perspective!!!!! - 7/22/2010   12:00:54 PM
  • 269
    Great blog! Thanks for posting. I ate one of the individual servings of Skinny Cow Ice Cream for breakfast last week and it was wonderful! At 150 calories and a few grams of fat, it was "healthier" than eating some of my other breakfast choices! - 7/22/2010   10:28:07 AM
  • TQUILES
    268
    I always loved ice cream. Since the weight gain I have tried to stay away from it. Thanks for your blog. I will enjoy my ice cream in moderation.
    tquiles - 7/22/2010   9:30:32 AM
  • 267
    love ice cream - 7/22/2010   7:58:10 AM
  • 266
    Great blog!

    I love ice cream and I've done so well getting off of sweets altogether. But, I still want my ice cream on occasion, so I let go when we eat at the Eastern Buffet. I love, love, love, the soft serve ice cream there and little "mini coffee cakes". They are very small so I have 2 with some vanilla soft serve. That is the main part of that meal. Prior to that I have my plate of veggies stir-fried fresh without sauce. I look forward to this meal 2 x per month.

    - 7/21/2010   9:55:30 PM
  • MINNIEKS610
    265
    Love this entry, it is right on! We can't deny ourselves because this isn't a diet, it is a LIFESTYLE! This is just another reminder that we are human and life is too short not to eat ice cream! We all have to remember a balance of good food and REALLY good food!!! Thanks for cheering me up! - 7/21/2010   8:28:27 PM
  • IN2MENOW
    264
    This blog is just another reason I'm loving SP! There are so many perspectives to try and while I am all for moderation in just about every other area in my life, this is one I never thought of and it makes so much sense. I think this will assist me in my vicious cycle. Always trying to go cold turkey here or extremely hard there it is difficult to find a comfort zone and I end up teetering off my keel. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful perspective. - 7/21/2010   8:14:00 PM
  • 263
    wow! How different this is from my approach to ice cream - I stay away from it for so long, and then I finally give in and buy it and eat the entire container in secret, and I usually don't get right back on track the next day/meal either. I think your approach is much healthier!! So if it's okay, I'm going to borrow it! Thank you! - 7/21/2010   2:41:59 PM
  • 262
    I love Ice Cream (maybe too much) but I rarely buy it. When I do, I buy a lite, no sugar added something with nuts or fruit and add which ever is missing (nuts or fruit) to make it slightly healthier. I Love Blue Bunny or Edys Slow churn no sugar added light. - 7/21/2010   12:47:53 PM
  • 261
    I love this it's great to see I am not the only one that has done this before I guess the key is to not do this everyday. Once and a while it's nice to just enjoy something that you don't get to have everyday.
    Deborah - 7/21/2010   9:34:51 AM
  • LSHAPPELL
    260
    Thank you for sharing! Love your attitude. - 7/21/2010   9:32:20 AM
  • 259
    This was fantastic and I love your whole outlook. I really needed this Thanks ever so much - 7/21/2010   5:45:13 AM
  • 258
    I'm not much for sweets, to begin with, but I love salty, spicy foods. I have been known to skip a meal so that I can drive to the korean chicken place for some salty, spicy hotwings that put the hottest Buffalo, NY variety to shame! - 7/21/2010   12:25:10 AM
  • AHALL5
    257
    Thank you for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!! ps. love some culvers frozen custard, especially as a hot fudge sundae topped with reeses! - 7/20/2010   9:25:08 PM
  • 256
    Thanks for sharing! I loved it. - 7/20/2010   5:07:38 PM
  • 255
    i think everyone needs a little wiggle room as long as we still have discipline in the end :D - 7/20/2010   4:38:21 PM
  • 254
    Such a great blog! I'm still learning how to not obsess about food, but what you wrote is really inspiring. - 7/20/2010   1:12:48 PM
  • 253
    Hi Coach Nicole. Such a great blog. These are all the things I have learned on Spark People. I'm recovering from a rough patch and this article helped me to focus on what I was feeling and doing to be successful. I'm feeling inspired and "sparked". Thanks for the boost! - 7/20/2010   12:25:38 PM
  • 252
    Thanks Coach. I needed this. Although my wife is a big encourager to me, your article really hit home today. I HAVE fallen off the wagon and have put on about 10 pounds (according to my weigh in at the doctor's office and the belt notch on my pants!). Yet I am still learning. Spark People has been so good for me. I'm not going to give up, I'll not quit. I have not put back on all my weight lost. Thank you for stimulating my mind into action and reframing this whole ting about life-style and not food! Thanks for being here. - 7/20/2010   10:04:33 AM
  • LOSTBETH
    251
    Thank you so much for pointing out that moderation is the key. I often forget this and tend to go overboard on the restrictions. Naturally, I then fall of the wagon, so to speak, and it takes me a while to get back up. - 7/20/2010   7:58:37 AM
  • 250
    Moderation is the key! I love that SP has a bottom end on calorie range for the day, and that red message that pops up when you go much over your cardio calorie goal for the week. I tend to "go big or go home" with habits, but I'm working on moderation. Eat enough, not too much. Exercise enough, not too much. A soda if I really want one and I've already had my 8 glasses of water. The only thing I've completely given up with no exceptions is smoking: I know I can't have just one (been there, done that!)
    Thanks for sharing Coach Nicole, it's nice to feel a kindred spirit. - 7/20/2010   6:49:59 AM
  • 249
    First of all, let me admit I have lost 158 pounds and am successfully maintaining my weight loss. And then let me tell you I eat ice cream. When I want it. Ninety per cent of the time I eat healthfully. But there are times I want a York Peppermint Patty, so I eat one. When I go out to dinner I make healthy choices, but occasionally enjoy a piece of Italian bread with a bit of butter or a glass of wine or a liqueuer with my coffee.

    Recently a friend who had not known me when I was over 300 pounds said, "I always wonder to myself how on earth you stay so skinny when you eat whatever you want! Please tell me your secret."

    And there it is.

    We fat people are always looking at our skinny friends and wondering how they got so lucky--they can eat whatever they want and they never gain an ounce. But they do not eat unhealthfully MOST of the time. Like Coach Nicole and me, they enjoy the OCCASIONAL gooey, buttery, doughy delight, but they keep the indulgence to occasional.

    I love being slim. I love eating healthfully. And I LOVE ooey-gooey delights even more than I did before. They are special. I have them now and then when I really really really want them. I have them at holidays or special celebrations, and they make the celebration more special.

    But most days I am taking care of my body by feeding it lean protein, colorful fruits and vegetables, and crunchy chewy grains and nuts.

    Being successful in dieting is like being successful in life. Find balance and enjoy the ride. - 7/20/2010   2:25:20 AM
  • 248
    I'm just now trying to find some kind of balance in my diet. I'm going through the guilty stage every time I eat something that I know is not the best for me, I get very down OR eat way too much. Its good to know that I CAN get through this, and that I'm not the only one who goes through this!

    Great Article! - 7/19/2010   10:35:00 PM
  • 247
    I love this. It helps us know that we are not alone dealing with the struggle to be perfect when all we have to do is find a balance. Thank you for opening up to us all. - 7/19/2010   10:17:57 PM
  • 246
    Breyers Double Churn Frozen Strawberry Yogurt!! Need I say more.... - 7/19/2010   7:19:25 PM
  • 245
    Sunday morning I was making some room in the freezer when a box of forgotten ice cream sandwiches fell out and spilled all over the floor. I picked up the tiny rectangular paper wrapped sandwiches and put them all back in the box, all but one. That one I ate for breakfast with a big smile on my face. I even logged the calories in for the day. No it was not nutritional, but it sure was nummy! - 7/19/2010   7:18:05 PM
  • JENEANG1
    244
    I agree completely! When we say absolutely "no" to something, we are simply setting ourselves up for failure. I am just like a kid when it comes to something like that; tell me no and I want it even more, by the time I give in, I have the whole thing rather than just enough to satisfy myself. Better to say "everything in moderation", rather than making certain foods completely off limits. - 7/19/2010   7:08:14 PM
  • 243
    I agree with your comments. Eat in moderation is the key. Ice Cream in moderation is the way to live and not diet. A diet will end life will not. Enjoy life. - 7/19/2010   7:04:19 PM
  • 242
    I absolutely agree. Perfection is not necessary! And I don't know anyone who is perfect in their eating! But the difference is the guilt. Some people feel guilty when they are "bad" and others understand that perfection is a myth. I bounce between the two sometimes, although I'm getting better about not feeling the guilt! - 7/19/2010   5:01:18 PM
  • 241
    Love this blog. I can completely relate. In the past, I'd feel guilty anytime I ate something "unhealthy" and I'd use that as an exuse to skip my workouts or drop my diet all together. This time around I let myself have my little treats from time to time and even if I exceed my nutrition goals for the day, I don't let it get me down because I know it's not an everyday thing. I can't be perfect all the time and I've finally realized that I'll never be successful if I keep holding myself to unreasonable expectations. Moderation has been key! - 7/19/2010   2:51:40 PM
  • 240
    I am right there with you. I had a milkshake for dinner...Sugar Free ice cream but still it was definately more than the "ridiculous" 1/2 cup serving. I try to make it a little healthier and add some protein powder then I don't feel as guilty. :-)

    I have to admit that I am not perfect. Granted it is difficult for people to imagine I have flaws. But there it is...I am just trying to modify and adapt. - 7/19/2010   2:38:29 PM
  • 239
    I've done this, too (ice cream for dinner). Like Coach Nicole, I usually only let myself do it if I've kept my calories low the rest of the day. I have to make myself scoop it into a bowl, rather than get lazy & eat out of the carton. Otherwise, I'll eat way more than one scoop. - 7/19/2010   2:20:26 PM
  • 238
    This post is fantastic! I soooo agree with everything said! - 7/19/2010   1:55:24 PM
  • GETKIRSCHED
    237
    I agree with Nicole! You don't have to be perfect! Occasional slip-ups, like ice-cream for dinner, are not the break-it factor in your wellness program.

    Always remember that each meal is a choice, and life is about making smart daily choices (the majority of the time, at least). I assure you, you will feel and look your best when you incorporate healthy foods and daily exercise. - 7/19/2010   12:56:21 PM

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