Earn Your Splurge

Yesterday, I had some Strawberry Poke Cake…

It was in no way, shape, or form a healthy choice. I chose it anyways.

I also don’t feel bad about it. I looooove Strawberry Poke Cake.

You know what the secret is to enjoying your desert without guilt?

Here it is: eating what you SHOULD 80% of the time, so that when that 20% comes in the form of Strawberry Poke Cake, you can have some. Guilt-free.

I teach this concept to my diabetics all the time. We give each one of them a carbohydrate budget. This budget, I inform them, they can spend on whatever they want. I quickly note that they should PROBABLY spend it on what they NEED most of the time and on what they WANT the rest of the time. Theoretically, I think everyone understands this; but they have a hard time making it seem reasonable after leaving the classroom – when temptation is everywhere around them.

There are a few things I remind them in order to prepare them for making decisions on when and how to spend their discretionary carbohydrate budget.

Here are some things to consider:

    • How rare is this splurge?

Can you come by it any old time, or is it a masterpiece that may pass you by if you don’t take it up right this INSTANT! If it’s not rare, I would encourage you to NOT splurge. You’ve probably had it before. It’s probably commercialized. It will probably taste the exact same at whatever point you come across it in the future. Been there. Done that.

  • How much is it going to cost you? Ignorance is no excuse in the age of information technology. With the internet available, it’s pretty easy to look up a rough estimate of calories in the splurge you’re considering. Sometimes it’s helpful for me to consider it in the miles I would have to run to undo or “cover” that splurge. I know that 1 mile of running burns approximately 100 calories. If a splurge is 500 calories, I will ask myself, “Sarah, do you think this is WORTH FIVE miles of running?” If the answer is yes, then I’ll happily eat it. If the answer is no, then I usually pass.
  • What does your bank account look like? Do you have a “spending problem?” For some people, once they start spending, it’s really hard to stop. If you’re one of these people, consider limiting your exposure. One year, I tried limiting my desserts (my typical splurge of choice) to one per month. I considered it like a game. I had that limit, and I stuck to it. You know what happened? I had five memorable desserts. When’s the last time you could list of a list of desserts you had in the past five months? Uh huh. Splurgin’ too much. Me too.
  • Use caution: Sugar, Fat, Salt combinations create addictive behavior. Any time I give into a dessert or high fat treat, I remind myself that this is like trying a cigarette and then asking myself to stop (I’ve never tried smoking for that reason, but I know several people that can attest, it’s hard to quit). There will be some challenges involved in putting down the spoon/fork. I’ll ask myself if I am ready for that challenge? Is it worth putting me in the land of temptation?
  • Can you walk away from the source? Sometimes I will intentionally go out for ice cream. I know that it’s more expensive to buy a cone of ice cream from Central Dairy for 2.00, compared to a half gallon for 3.50 at the store, but I can walk away from Central Dairy; whereas my freezer is all too convenient. My own human dignity will not allow me to stay at Central Dairy all day, ordering more ice cream cones. This is ALSO what’s really dangerous about making cookies at home when you live alone. As more and more come out of the oven, I convince myself that I should try it to make sure it’s as good as the last one. It’s a replenishing source. No bueno.
  • When is it best? Somethings are best cooled off, some things are best warmed up. Don’t decide to splurge and then have it in the wrong way. That will just leave you feeling unsatisfied. It’s the same idea behind “diet desserts.” If a diet dessert is going to leave me feeling LESS satisfied than a real dessert, then why am I buying a diet dessert at all? That would be like going shopping and wanting a diamond ring – but instead you got a cubic zirconium ring and it broke in 2 weeks. Was that really a smart purchase? Maybe you should have just waited until you could have bought the real thing.
  • Realize this: splurges are not about filling up, they’re about the experience. Are you trying to fill up on dessert? Or are you enjoying the taste? These foods that we consider splurges should not be the bulk of your meals. They are not fill up foods, they are palate foods. Treat them accordingly. You know, earrings are really great, but they’re decorative. A shirt is more necessary. Some of you are trying get away with wearing extra earrings in the place of wearing a shirt. How embarrassing!
  • This is not the last time you get to eat. Too often we tell ourselves, it’s now or never. You never know when it will be gone. Well, guess what? Let’s say you think one more bite would be better, you could have that one more bite in 4-5 hours when you normally eat again. It’s a waiting game. You can eat more food. You just have to wait. Three meals a day, every day for the rest of your life, you get to eat. It’s not like it’s your last shot.

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