Sugar Memory

Six weeks ago I started the "No, Thank You" diet where, essentially, I turn away all the yummy stuff that I so often want to eat and keep to a strict regiment of healthy meals and semi-decent exercise. Unfortunately the exercise bit has not been very decent, but I have been able to drastically reduce the amount of junk food and between-meal snacks that I would once enjoy. It's a good feeling to look at the clock around noon and realize that you're not particularly hungry, and it's an even better feeling to leave work at 7:00pm knowing that — aside from a homemade lunch — you haven't had anything at all while at the office, and dinner sounds like a wonderful reprieve from hunger. There's just one little problem that takes a while to overcome, and that's sugar memory.

Strawberry Shortcake Donut.jpg

Like billions of people all over the world, I love the taste of food. I love the feel of the food as my tongue savours every natural flavour and spice. And I especially like the chemical release that goes on in the brain while consuming meals. The downside of all this is that, when the subconscious wants to encourage a person to break their strict daily menu, it conjures up memories of wonderful food experiences. Donuts in particular have been on my mind, and a few times I've come very close to caving in. Rather than buy them, though, I'll walk past the Mr. Donut near my office and simply enjoy the smell. Not only does this save money, but it keeps the mind occupied as each scent is decoded to determine which donuts were baked most recently. It's not a "fun" activity, per se, but it beats the feeling of regret one has after taking the first bite of the forbidden food … and the second bite … and the third ….

I miss donuts. I miss cookies, too. Soft, chocolate chip cookies that are — unfortunately — so full of ingredients I can't pronounce that they're still soft five years past their expiration date. Ice cream, too. It's not often I have cold treats but, when I do, it's often vanilla ice cream. But that's taboo. All of the foods that take up residence in the sugar memory are taboo!

It's not at all fun.

Six weeks of dieting and what do I have to show for it? A drop of 4.3kg. That's nothing, really. I'm still 20kg away from my goal.

Hopefully the summer heat will break soon and I'll be able to head out for a quick power walk during lunch breaks, and have another in the evening as the sun sets. Summer in Asia is not particularly friendly to people who choose to be outside during daylight hours, and I'm not particularly impressed with how quickly I sweat through my clothes after 8:30am.

As for the dreams of sugary sweets and forbidden pleasures? I'm really hoping they disappear before too long. Imagining the taste and texture of a lovely donut can be terribly distracting while working.