Friday, June 6, 2008
Cheating: Diva Style
Frankly, I don't like the term "cheating." Its far too negative and conjures images of smarmy, back-room characters trying to weasel me out of my money ... like say George Bush and Dick Cheney come April 15th. And yet, I can find no appropriate substitute for it. I've thought about "enhancement" or "enhancing" ... as in: "Waiter, I'd like to enhance this meal with a large order of fries and 6 gallons of vodka."
While that's got a certain ring to it- yay, vodka! - its not exactly what I'm looking for here. I'm wary of "reward" as well. That's a trap most dieters, the Diva included, have fallen into. And we all know where it leads: "I've been so good, I'll just have a teensy little bit of this 9 lb. chocolate cake" ... and BOOM, next thing you know you're on the fast train to fatville with an empty plate in front of you and the top button of your jeans across the room on the floor. Not a pretty picture.
Its a slippery slope when you start thinking of food in these terms. A far better tack, I think, is to remove thoughts of "good" and "bad", "cheating" and "rewarding" from both our minds and our culinary lexicon. What works best for me is to think about eating sensibly, mindfully; to be fully present in my actions and in my choices. If I choose to have a square of chocolate, it is not a reward. Its a conscious decision I've made to allow for that indulgence and I account for it in my view of the day's meals. In fact, I actually plan for it and have a piece of chocolate every day.
By now you're saying: "Hey, Diva, I thought you were on the South Beach? What gives?" To which I reply: "piss-off!" No, kidding again. While its true that chocolate is not on the list of approved foods for Phase 1 of South Beach, it is equally true that it is essential for my health and well-being. I simply cannot and will not live without my dark mistress. What I can do is modify the extent to which I indulge.
Which brings me to the point of all this rambling. Yes, I'm working the South Beach thang, but I'm really not into their idea of suggested "sweet treats", many of which contain artificial sugars and such. I really don't like the idea of putting so many chemically altered additives into my body, but I do recognize that I need a little chocolate in my life. Let me introduce you to my new hero: Scharffen Berger's tasting squares. I buy a package of the Bittersweet tasting squares and, voila, instant portion control.
The squares are 1/4 ounce each ... I know, I actually weighed them ... and come in all of the Scharffen Berger varieties I know and love. For those of you unfamiliar with this brand - where have you been? It is my absolute favorite and fortunately, or unfortunately, they have a store in my neighborhood. The company was recently bought out by Hershey's, which makes me sad, but not sad enough that I care to do without it. Happily, they haven't changed the chocolate at all. I'm partial to the Bittersweet, and really that's the heart healthy option - but I must say that I've never had a milk chocolate as rich and as satisfying as Scharffen Berger's.
My strategy of switching out the South Beach's suggested "sweet treat" for one or two squares has been successful. I've still lost weight, 9 lbs. and counting, and I don't feel deprived. This is "cheating" - Diva Style ... mindful indulgence in a luxurious product.
I'd ask you to tell me about your "enhancements", but you need to keep that shit to yourselves. I'm not running that kind of blog here - and my mother is reading! Instead, tell me how you navigate the waters of indulgence and your favorite brand of chocolate.