Quick #project135 update: I ate the Halloween candy

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

…and I am fine with it! I ate a bunch on Halloween night as Graham was gorging. We had decided to let him have as much as he wanted on Halloween night to “teach him a lesson,” but of course the kid ate about a full third of his candy and claimed not to have a tummy ache or feel bad. Kevin ended up taking it away from him after he finished his 25th piece or so (including a full sized KitKat and full sized bag of M&Ms).

Since then we’ve only allowed him to choose one item from the remaining stash each night after dinner, and he is perfectly accepting of that – no whining for more once he’s done. I’m struggling a bit trying to figure out how to regulate his junk consumption while not being too controlling. I know that complete restriction can lead to more desire and rebellion, so how does a sugar-and-weight-obsessed mama like me refrain from inadvertently instilling some kind of weird food obsession in my son? If any parents (or pediatricians) out there have any words of wisdom, I’m all ears! He’s not yet 4, so I don’t get very detailed about anything, but I’ve basically told him that sugar tastes super yummy and we love to eat it, but that eating too much of it can make our bodies sick. He can echo that back to me but I don’t think he believes it deep down, because he’s never felt sick from it! Once he ate too much pizza and had a tummy ache, so I try to remind him of that episode. I don’t even think he understands the difference yet between physical hunger and appetite. He will tell me “my tummy’s full” and stop short of finishing his dinner, but then want candy. He definitely has a very human brain that lights up to sugar!

I, too, have fallen pray to urge-based eating of Halloween candy about half of the evenings this past week. It’s amazing how terrible it makes me feel. It causes mild stomach upset, it makes my heart pound, it exacerbates my back pain, it leads to terrible quality sleep, and it seems to have brought back my eczema that had been at bay for more than a year. (And probably not coincidentally, Graham developed terrible eczema on his face and hands about 24 hours after his candy binge.) Note to self: research the effects of sugar on allergy and eczema. I suspect it’s inflammatory and playing a role in our suffering. Anyway, I’m gathering lots of important experiential evidence for why I don’t want to put sugar in my body. It simply makes me sick. I am not at all beating myself up about eating it this week — I’m done with negative self talk, which only makes everything worse. I’ve watched my behavior with compassion and curiosity this week. I’m on service at work again, caring for patients with COVID-19 and feeling behind on other work projects, with an upcoming coach training practicum call that has me a little nervous (I’ll be evaluated on my coaching skills) and a big grand rounds lecture on diet coming up in early December that I am procrastinating the writing of. All of this has me significantly more on edge, and the candy feels good in the moment, so of course I ate some. It’s just a habit I haven’t yet changed. Reminding myself of how terrible my body feels when I eat too much sugar should help the next time I pull down Graham’s stash for him and am hit with an urge. And being mindful, allowing the urge to be there and just feeling it without trying to resist it or give in — surfing the urge.

Project 135 stats:

Starting weight: 159.6
Week 1: 157.2
Week 2: 155.6
Week 3: 155.4
Week 4: 153.8
Week 5: 151.0
Week 6: 152.8
Week 7: ? (Dad’s death)
Week 8: 150.8
Week 9: 152.6
Week 10: 154.2
Week 11: 152.6
Week 12: 150.8
Week 13: 150.6
Week 14: 151.6
Week 15: 152.4
Week 16: 152.4
Week 17: 155.2 (sugar binges)
Week 18: 154.4
Week 19: 153.8
Week 20: 151.2
Week 21: 150.2
Week 22: 150.6
Week 23: 151.0
Week 24: 150.6
Week 25: 146.6
Week 26: 148.2

Total weight loss: 11.4 pounds (7.1%)

Until next week, care for yourself with compassion!




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