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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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.

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

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


This post is fantastic! I soooo agree with everything said! Report
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. Report
Wow! thanks so much for this article - loved it! I can totally relate. The funny thing is, when I share it when some friends of mine, they'll say "but it's not on the meal plan!" huh? i think that we are only human when we have these tendencies. i think that if i'd ate clean 100% of the time, i'd probably be at my fitness goals but i don't think that i'd eat 100% forever! i'm so much better off this way! again, loved the article! Report
My "guilty pleasure" when my husband is out of town is to eat something that doesn't amount to a full dinner, like a can of green beans or a serving of beets. No cooking, no planning, no variety, but it just hits the spot! Report
I can relate.
Sometimes after a day of eating all the right stuff, I need some of the wrong stuff!! Report
Reminds me of the Bill Cosby cake for breakfast routine. Ice cream has ... well, milk, right? ;-) Report
I want an overall healthy lifestyle. Moderation is key and life is too short - so I say don't sweat the ice cream that happens once in a while! Report
Great Blog!! Always in moderation. Nobody except my mother told me what was approporiate meal time food, and when I went on my own-all of that went out the window-lol Report
I loved this entry! I think we all do this occassionally. I try to convince myself it's dairy so it's relatively healthy...especially since I eat the fat free, sugar free kind - and load it with bananas and strawberries (fresh) and a tablespoon of nuts...mmmm. Report
Loved this post! I think we all need to be reminded that moderation is key. Thanks for sharing. Report
Loved this blog!!! I have always shared this philosophy (one of moderation in choices and attitudes) though I have not always been successful in following it! I am working at it more regularly now and I'm sure, with persistence, I can be successful, too. Report
I eat ice cream for supper once in a while in the summer as well. But I also love healthy food. Especially fresh veggies!! Report
Wow! I found this article so inspiring, because I am the dieter you were before. I want to get to the point that you've reached now! I hope Spark can help me get there. Report
I completely agree. Treating oneself very occasionally--whatever and however--makes the Spark way of eating work for me. I believe striving for some impossible perfection leads to failure. I also eat about a 90% healthful meals; fortunately I truly love fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables, which I eat a LOT of and always did.

This brings back another entry in this series, which I didn't read, because it has the word "cheat" in the title--something to the affect that even one cheat day could hurt your program. I was dismay that Spark used the word "cheat," implying we were on a diet and could cheat. It seemed counter to Spark's philosophy. . Report
Ice cream and popcorn are probably my two favorite foods in te world..I have on several occasion had popcorn for supper.I also buy half gallon each week.If my husband helps me eat it it is better,if he does not I also have dish a night until it is gone.I also try to limit popcorn to once a week,and ice cream t once a week.I am really trying to work on better eating. Report
My family always laughs at me and my ice cream addiction!! I have never given ice cream up for all this time. I can't. I just found a lo fat version that I absolutely love (it is cheap too) and I have my 1/2 cup ALMOST every night. Mostly with strawberries but on occasion I will crunch up a few m&m's in it or if I really want something it is off to McDonalds for a small sundae, mmmmmm. Love this blog. Thanks for writing it. I like to eat healthy but ice cream is a must in my life. Report
I like your approach Nicole. It's realistic, and as long as you're disciplined enough to thoughtfully consider when those types of snacks can fit into your daily allowance, choose healthy substitutions (lite ice cream for example), and not eat them all the time, it should help keep from binging later.

I try to follow that rationale too, but I know I eat way too many snacks, and I need to cut back on them. Half the battle is thinking about what I'm eating and when and weighing the consequences of eating that item. Report
Totally right on... that attitude makes it all "doable" and life more fun. Report
Thank you! From someone who has eaten ice cream (with brownies) for dinner, but a long time ago...and felt guilty about it for days afterward.

I still will on very rare occasion have that popcorn for dinner still! But like you said, it's a conscious choice, and not one to feel guilty about. I eat mostly healthy food, almost all the time, so I don't sweat those occasional indulgences anymore, it's all on the scale of moderation. Report
I loved this! In the past I'd feel bad about eating one I'd eat the whole pan. You know, just to get them out of the house. Then I'd REALLY feel down and that would lead to "poor pitiful me" eating. But I'm giving up those old habits! I'm exercising, drinking water and trying to eat healthier foods. Moderation is a wonderful thing and it keeps me from giving up my favorite foods! Report
This is such a positive message. I do love healthful foods and I don't feel deprived eating them for nearly all of my meals, but sometimes! I just need to step off. I love the idea that instead of letting an indulgence turn into a excess of guilty self defeating binging, you note it is concious, that it will happen sometimes and that you knit this reality into your life.
This is one of the lessons I am learning to love about SP. This and the good company. Report
Thank you for this blog. I can't seem to put into words how this has given me something to think about. I am struggling with very issue. Report
I had to laugh at this blog -- because I did exactly the same thing a couple nights ago!! My dinner (right after working out, mind you) was a DQ Blizzard. It was HOT, hubby was gone overnight, and I felt like a treat. LOVE ice cream, but rarely have it in the house 'cuz I overindulge when it's readily available. This was a portion-controlled treat, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn't crave more junk food the rest of the evening (like the old me would have done). Thanks, Coach Nicole, for writing this!! Report
This was great! I am a healthy eater but have a hardy sweet tooth! You have shown me that i can have my cake and eat it too!! (no pun intended) Report
You don't know how good this blog made me feel. I used to watch "The Biggest Loser" while eating a bowl of ice cream. I would sit on my butt and yell at the contestants "you're not trying hard enough" as I was close to licking the bowl. I weighed 220 at the time. Ridiculous, right? I still have several pounds to go before I reach my initial goal weight, and I allow myself to eat from all the food groups but now I simply use more moderation. Report
It is just such a coincidence that you wrote this blog when you did. I was thinking about Ice Cream all day yesterday and just refused to go get any. This morning I woke up and thought "maybe after church, instead of brunch, I'll stop and get some ice cream". I might well do it depending on if I still want it. Good blog. I am beginning to agree that when one scratches that itch the way you state (not the whole thing) but a bit to satisfy, one is less likely to go whole hog at a later date.
Stressing about food is not a fun way to diet and I tend to have a little of the "good' stuff at he party, then get right back in a more sensible mode and just enjoy and not fret anymore. Life is too short and it doesn't make me gain (only if I allow myself to go overboard). Thanks Nicole! Report
Love the blog. Hugs Report
I'm a foodie, so I'm not really reaching for the candy or the ice cream. But the juicy steak? The questionably-prepared side-dishes? Every once in a while, I just gotta have the good stuff Report
Your article addresses an issue that many individuals seeking to lose weight encounter frequently, better known as dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking is counterproductive to successful weight loss. In my previous quests to change my eating habits, I was caught up into believing that I had to achieve perfection and never “go off program”. For instance, should I splurge one day after meeting my calorie range consistently for well over a week, more often than not I had a difficult time resuming the habits I acquired that served me well during the days I met my caloric range. I have come to the realization that losing weight and weight management should not be viewed as all or nothing. I am human and fallible and there will be days that I over indulge. What I have to do is to accept my slip-up, not over react, not feel guilty or depressed, and continue to incorporate the learned lifestyle changes that will enable me to meet my ultimate goal. I do not want to tailspin out of control by binging due to a slight transgression. If so, I will never get off the merry-go-round…

Thank you for blogging about the topic!

I like the idea of not obsessing about what we eat. If we eat right 90% of the time, we're OK. I used to obsess about food, but no more. I'm Sparking now! Report
I rarely eat cake, I like it, but don't necessarily crave it or generally buy it. But this spring, we had numerous parties at school, teacher appreciation, a retirement, graduation, end of the school year and at each there was cake and ice cream and most of the time the cake had butter cream frosting on it. Mostly, I would take a little piece with some ice cream. Trying to model moderation, I know people at work are watching me. Then one day I perused what was available. It was the end of the school year picnic. Hot dogs, salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad and cake and ice cream. I took some salad then went to the end of the line and said I would prefer the calories in the cake and ice cream rather than the hot dog or macaroni salads. Boy, was I admonished for eating that! But it was way better than that cheap old hot dog - it wasn't even a Nathan's! See, I knew people were watching me and there was my proof. Report
I had to lol as you described some of my 'hidden' secret food non habits. Nice to know I am not alone... and that I can eat "normal" foods 90% of the time! Report
It's nice to know that someone who is as fit and health-conscious as you is a normal human being with cravings just like everyone else. Thanks for the honesty and openness that always permeates your blogs. Report
Loved reading your blog post. I may have ice cream for dinner sometime this summer. Report
Thanks for sharing darling.

P.S. I'm proud of you for coming so far. Thanks for lightening my terrible eating day. Report
Oh, good! It's not just me!! I went camping w/ my family this wkend and ate what everyone else ate and what I wanted - biscuits & sausage gravy for breakfast, oj, coffee w/ creamer. I had stayed w/i my calorie range for the last couple of wks, been exercising a lot and enjoyed every bite w/o a shred of guilt. Tomorrow back to the healthy eating. Report
You know, I did the same thing the other night - I counted it in my food journal and returned to 'normal life' the next day - staying on plan and exercising - if this is going to be a lifestyle change, then I have to be able to fit in some of the things that make me happy in life - ice cream is one of them (not every night - just once in a while) Report
I'm so glad you wrote this! I just split a blizzard with my son and that was my dinner. And believe me it was great. I had been wanting one for some time now and I enjoyed every bite with no guilt. Report
Thanks for that wonderful makes life more manageable-one can have anything in moderation!you are an inspiration! Report
What? You mean ice cream ISN'T an entree? I thought it was it's own food group! LOL! My girls certainly think so... Report
I just had a slice of Boston cream pie in place of my, yeah, I totally related to this, haha! I do feel guilty, but I still track the sweets I eat, and I'm actually under a lot of my minimums for the day even with cake for dinner and cookies for breakfast...yeah, not a great day today. I'm still working on kicking some bad habits... Loved the article! Report
Hey Nicole! I was just reading Runner's World and saw that they serve ice cream at the finish line of Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July. So there ya go, put that one on the calendar and you can eat your icecream at the finish line! :)
Btw, I love Breyers half the fat ice cream and have a serving several nights a week..but just a serving mind you. Report
Thank you, Coach Nicole!!! I too allow myself to eat my favorite sweets once in awhile, and I only do so when I've made healthy choices the day before. Sometimes I eat ice cream in the morning, and then compensate with a more intense workout and small meals with lots of healthy foods. It is soooo nice to stop striving to be perfect!! Thank you for validating my choices! You are the best!! Report
I'm Glad you are not perfect. I don't think it would be a good model. Since NO ONE can be 100% all the time, it would be difficult to listen to a model of perfection. As a fellow ice cream fan, I say " Go for it!" Tomorrow is soon enough to get back to the plan. Report
Great blog, couldn't agree more. Maybe we have to travel through the "rigid land" before we can get to the "flexible land." It sure was that way for me. In the beginning the focus was sharp and needed, now not quite as much. Report
Loved your blog!
I love icecream too!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Report
I love that 'you guys' are all so real! At first I when I was reading this, I thought, 'no way - she is not going to say she ate ice cream for dinner' really surprised me - but when I continued reading and realized you analyzed the 'why' and it wasn't a destructive reason was probably my favorite part... I am going to try to do that when my next craving hits...if there's nothing there, I'm going to indulge! Report
I love this post, Nicole. Thanks for 'fessing up. One of my favorite dinners is a light beer and some snack food -- Cheetos or Cheez-It's top the list. But I'm a single girl, too, so it isn't like I have group to prepare a nice dinner for. For me, it's the occasional indulgence and like you said, I've made peace with it. It's fun! And feels decadent!

This whole thing is a life-long journey anyway, so why not enjoy a side road every now and then, right?? Report
Thanks for sharing. I know the only thing I am perfect at is being me.. other then that, nope certainly not and that's ok. As long as we make choices for ourselves we can learn to be comfortable with what we choose. Report
Great blog - I feel the same way! Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.