Tuesday 18 June 2013

My Middle-of-the-Night Brownie Story (a sad tale)

This week we are kicking off a six-week series on trying to find the best "healthy eating lifestyle" and I thought I'd begin with a story, to give you some context on why this has become important to us.

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I have always thought we do pretty well on the "healthy eating" front based on the fact that we eat natural, home-cooked meals.  However, over the past year we've been becoming a bit more discerning in our definition of healthy.  We watched the Vision Forum Food and Family conference via livestream, and that gave us a lot to think about.  We started buying into an Organic CSA (Comminity Shared Agriculture, sometimes called a "Vegetable Box") and eating seasonal, locally grown vegetables.  We talked to friends who told us about healthy fats like coconut oil and butter, and we stopped using vegetable oil.  We were making progress as issues were presented to us, and I was feeling pretty good.

By now you can probably tell that this is going to be a "pride comes before the fall" type of story!

I also always assumed that since we ate natural, home-cooked baked goods, I could eat as many as I want and not feel guilty!  I figured they are packed with natural ingredients, all of which I know what they are.  They have a short shelf life, and they facilitate hospitality as we often bring some to the neighbours!  What could be wrong?  I had forgotten that good is the enemy of BEST!

I had come to notice that I seemed to be indulging in sugary baked goods a little too often.  I sometimes ate cookies (homemade ones!) for lunch, and would have these energy crashes in the afternoons.

So when a friend suggested "Let's do a junk food challenge!", I jumped right on board!  The rules were loose, but pretty clear.  No candy, cookies, chips, cake, brownies, etc. for six days of the week for three weeks.  "Easy", I thought, and a good way to wean myself off the sweet stuff.

Well, by the end of the first week I was planning to throw in the towel.  I felt like it consumed all my thinking and I was just feeling miserable about not being allowed to do something I wanted to!  However, when I told Andrew I was done, he lovingly encouraged me to finish what I had started.  Truly a man of his word, it didn't make sense to him that I would do otherwise. 

Sigh.  I was not very happy about this encouragement, but I figured I'd do it anyway.  As it happened, that week I was having some young ladies over for a book club I am hosting.  I was planning to bake brownies for it, and told Andrew  I thought I should get to eat one too - it would be impolite to do otherwise.  He saw through my excuse and encouraged me not to.

Here is where the "middle-of-the-night" comes in!

I had baked the brownies the day before, and stored them in the fridge to try and keep them out of sight, and out of mind!  That night, as it happened, Andrew and I both found ourselves awake in the wee hours of the night and he was having trouble falling back asleep.  We were talking and praying, when suddenly it occurred to me "There are brownies in the fridge!  Surely he won't deny me a brownie in the middle of the night!"

Suddenly my mind became totally focused not on helping my husband fall back asleep, but on getting him the kitchen so I could eat one of the brownies!  See I didn't want to admit I my thinking was consumed (no pun intended!) by the brownies, I just wanted to "naturally" end up in the kitchen so I could say "Here, have a brownie - it'll make you feel better." and then I could have one too!

So I said something like "Honey, let's go talk about it in the kitchen and we can have some tea."  Unfortunately, he didn't bite and I couldn't figure out any other subtle ways to have my way.    I don't think it was until the morning that I realized what a sad state of affairs I had been in.

Needless to say I finished the three weeks.  I wish I could say by the end I no loner craved sugar and I was a happier woman for it!  The truth is that it was as hard at the end as it was at the start, and I'm sure I made some claim like "I'm never doing that again!" the day it was done.

What I did learn was how little self-control I have when it comes to sweets.  Because I am quite slim, some people think "Who cares how much sugar you eat!?", but for me it is about giving in to the lusts of the flesh.  That middle-of-the-night episode showed me that I have a problem if I can't put my relationship with my husband, and his needs, before my craving for a brownie.  I don't believe it is healthy to be addicted to anything, but our culture makes a lot more concessions for some things (sugar, coffee) than others (alcohol, cigarettes).

So we're trying to find a balanced way to stay healthy.  I don't see myself forgoing sweets altogether, but I know something has to change.

Come back on Friday to hear about our plan for figuring out what to do, or follow us on Facebook for updates throughout the series!

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Linked up at A Mama's Story, The Modest Mom, Growing Home, Above Rubies,  Deep Roots At Home, Raising Homemakers, We Are That Family, Walking Redeemed, Graced Simplicity, Raising Mighty Arrows


  1. Your story would be really funny if it didn't hit so close to home!

    I too have an easy time eating what I want without it showing and it seems to make it easier to justify "just one more" instead of being self-controlled.

    Way to go sticking with your commitment (and thank God for wise husbands! :) )

  2. I laughed at your honesty! And related to your cravings! I am totally excited to see what this series has in store!!

  3. So funny, Stephanie! I laughed out loud because I can totally see you (and me!) doing this. :D I'm REALLY looking forward to your series!

  4. I can't wait for the series! :) And I so relate! I put up a health and fitness update on my blog today, and as I was evaluating the past few weeks, I realized that I too was dipping into the sweets (all natural and homemade as they may be) a little too often as well. It is hard to give them up, or at least to have them in moderation!

  5. Hahah - Ladies your comments make me smile! Thanks for your encouragement and I'm glad you're looking forward to the series - so am I!