Jenna Drabble, Day 4

I must start with a reluctant admission: I cheated (twice). I was really intent on playing by the rules but yesterday, after walking for hours and coming home exhausted and chilled, I decided to roast some potatoes in the oven (about as close as I’m getting to comfort food). I realized that this would be difficult without a dash of olive oil, so that was my first cheat. Let me tell you, those potatoes were delicious. I basically shoved them all into my mouth at the same time. It was something about that little bit of oil that made a big difference, and I could feel the way that it satisfied both my body and mind. My mood was lifted, which is something that I have not experienced from any of the meals that I’ve been eating during the challenge. I know the dieticians participating in the challenge would be able to explain this better but I think it’s something like:  dietary fat + your brain = happiness.

My second cheat is happening now, as I write this. I’ve got a full day of work ahead of me and the thought of doing this without coffee was too much and I succumbed to brewing a pot. Obviously I realize that these options would not be available to me if I didn’t have olive oil and coffee already sitting on the countertop in the kitchen, and I would just have to push through the mental and physical exhaustion to get on with my day. This is teaching me about the power of food, not only as a source of sustenance and pleasure, but also as something that is embedded in my routines, that I count on to carry me through the difficult days.

When I remarked to someone who lives on welfare that I wasn’t able to get everything that I’d had on my shopping list, particularly some things that I really wanted, she told me that this is her typical experience. Learning to live without. Knowing that the foods that will not only sustain you but pick you up and carry you are not within your budget.

I try to imagine feeling that way week after week, and I can’t. I can’t even live without for one week. I clearly have a bit of work to do on willpower, but I still plan to see the challenge through without (too much) cheating. I’m house sitting for a friend this weekend and I’m ignoring the voices in my head that are telling me to eat all of the cookies that he left in the cupboard, probably to torture me.


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