Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I scream. You scream. We all fear the ice cream. (sub title: my Waterloo food)

Not too long ago, I was some how able to blame many of my over-eating failings on my dear, sweet and unsuspecting mother.  She took it in remarkably good spirits, mostly because she didn't buy any of my arguments.  Her failure to accept her blame has in turn led me to look for a new scapegoat in my over eating chronicles.  What about my dad?  He's much less agile than my mother and is therefore less able to defend himself.  There must be something about my unhealthy habit inventory that I can lay on his door step.

And there is.  Ice cream.

Can the sins of the father be passed along to the son?  I say:  most definitely.

My mom and dad came through last weekend to watch my older daughter perform in her middle school play (she was excellent, BTW).  We were having our normal Saturday morning coffee chat when we started talking about the blog post I used to heap blame on my mom.  We talked about how weird food habits seemed to be formed at a young age.  They both talked about the fact that I was a chronic food sneaker even as a little kid.  Their favorite story:

  • Once upon a time, there was a remarkable seven year old boy named David (OK, the "remarkable" adjective was my contribution)...  Mom and dad were getting ready to go out for the evening.  They had not quite closed the door to leave the house when they heard yours truly call out:  "Hey guys, mom and dad are gone.  Let's sneak!"  

Fine.  Guilty as charged.  I was a seven year old food larcenist.  Apparently, I was not a particularly bright one at that.  My folks have gotten more mileage out of that story than I could ever hope to convey.  Yet it all begs the question.  From where did this sneaking habit originate?

My dad was confessing this past Saturday that he still raids the ice cream coffers when nobody is around.  Apparently, to this day he cannot help himself.  If ice cream is in the house, it is wholly unsafe.

Lots of us sneak.  What I find interesting is that I have EXACTLY the same weakness.  Ice cream.  If ice cream is in a large container in the house, I will attack it like a crack-addled hun.  The second I pull the lid and wield my spoon-weapon, I get all fuzzy in the head.  My pulse jumps up to 140+, and I completely lose myself.  It starts innocently enough with a single layer removal.  Then I have to dig for a golf ball of cookie dough.  Then I have to evenly eat around the hole I just made.  Then I take another layer out.  And so it goes until at least half of a container is gone.  The sad part is that it does not even matter what size the container is.  When I was in high school, I actually ate an entire half-gallon of ice cream in a single sitting.
Could I eat this in one sitting?  Yes.  And I'd eat 
these two jokers if they got in my way.  

I really cannot think of a single other food that has the same kind of narcotic effect on me.  I really just cannot control myself around ice cream, particularly if it is in bulk form.  For the life of me, I cannot explain why I feel this way.  It almost seems animalistic when my ice cream frenzies happen.  Sure ice cream tastes great, but lots of foods taste great.  Ice cream has a unique emotional hold over me that I will never be able to explain or understand.

So how do I handle it?  I really push to make sure we do not have big containers of the stuff in the house, and certainly not in plain sight.  If I have an ice cream, it is almost always in the form of a Weight Watchers pre-packaged ice cream treat.  Even then, I often find myself having two.  When I take my kids to the ice cream shop, I almost never order my own cone.  Why?  I don't trust myself.  If I shoot up ice cream once, won't I become an addict?

I now treat ice cream a little bit the way ex-smokers treat cigarettes:  with as much avoidance and zero tolerance as can be mustered.  When I see an ice cream cone, I try to make myself think it is 423 PointsPlus values.  I may have to resort to imagining it being covered with elephant waste.  Clearly gross and immature, but whatever it takes, right?

Fortunately, ice cream is pretty unique in that I almost have to treat it like a DEA Schedule III controlled substance (you know, like crystal meth).  It's kind of sad really, because the stuff really does taste good.  I generally don't endorse the practice of banning food groups, but sometimes desperate measures are required.  For this, I blame my dad for whatever horrible mutated DNA strand he passed along to me.

So that's my kryptonite.  What's yours?




  1. Ghiradelli dark chocolate baking chips. Those aren't just for baking...

  2. Can an entire food group count? Say, like carbs?! ;) But really, garlic mashed potatoes stand no chance with me around...sad to say

  3. Lately, if it is a carb, it is MINE. I'd knock out little old grannies for a good piece of homemade bread, give my mom into the KGB for real homemade ice cream, and for something chocolate-covered, I wouldn't quite sell my soul but I'd be deep in negotiations for a while.....

    Honestly, it has me scared. My mother has a serious sweet tooth, and I consider it a miracle that she's not diabetic. Having two of my dad's siblings diagnosed late in life as Type 2, gotta admit it's always in the back of my mind. Yow.

  4. Entenmann's Chocolate Chip Cream Filled Crumb Cake. Best. Cake. Ever. I don't need a plate to serve - just a fork and the box. I once ate an entire cake over a 36 hour period.

    It starts as one sliver. Then another. Then you need another to even it out because you didn't cut it straight. Then just a half a slice - really, I've had enough. Oh no. a little later, back for more...

    Yeah. That cake is officially banned.

    My DH's Kryptonite is potato chips. We don't have those either.

    I don't usually ban foods either - over the years I've learned a lot about moderation - but that cake can not be defeated! It is my nemesis! Curse you!

  5. If you ask me my favorite go-to dessert, then it would be ice cream all the way. It always has been (and here in CA there used to be an ice cream parlor called Farrell's which served a 26 scoop concoction in a silver bowl called The Zoo brought to the table by two men running it through the shop). I love all flavors served in many ways (hot fudge sundae, banana split, banana royale, hand whipped shake, ice cream cake, mud pie, by the scoop, in a bowl or a cone, or 36% butterfat Fosselman's ice cream sandwiches to name a few). However, it is not a trigger food for me.

    What I simply cannot be trusted near, unattended are chips. Bagged chips, once opened, must be consumed. MUST BE CONSUMED. Whether it be Cheetos Puffs or Doritos or Frito-Lay or anything in between (a friend brought baked onion rings (like Funyons) from Trader Joe's to a meeting this week and I easily consumed 1/2 the bag myself and am still eliminating the sodium to prove it).

    Just say no!

  6. I have to be honest and say nearly anything with sugar as a main ingredient. I just can't eat it in moderation (as much as I have tried). So for me avoidance is a lot easier!
    Oh and ice cream is one of those foods :)

  7. Cookies - just about any kind: Oreos, Nutter Butters, homemade oatmeal (I'm afraid to make those any more). Don't think I could be one of those folks that work for the blood institute & have to be around the cookies all day long!

  8. Mine is bread, pasta and potatoes......who wants that icky brown rice stuff? Not me. I think bread is probably my biggest love. I haven't used my bread machine in years.....And I am a great baker....Beer bread, no; Sourdough, no. Yes we have it in the house, but is it plain old whole wheat or sandwich thins. I can take those or leave them. But offer me an artisan bread and butter and I'm off and running. Oh yes, don't get me started on butter.

  9. David I have two and they go so well together... icecream and chocolate. Unlike you though I have found that banning them forever can't be done. The reason why is one of the things taught in WW meetings... that it makes me crave it even more. So I have found solutions.

    With icecream I buy single flavor only... none of the fancy mixes with "chunks" to fish out. When I decide I want icecream I use either a ramikin bowl or a large shot glass... DO NOT EAT OUT OF THE CONTAINER :-). If I feel I want more than that scoop and small bowl will satisify then I cut up fruits (grapes, bananas, pears, berries, etc) into a little larger bowl (what used to be a normal size cereal bowl) and then put my scoop of icecream on top. I even splurge many times and sprinkle GM Fiber One orginal cereal over top for crunch.

    I understand the love hate... I am just saying don't make it crack by being banned... try ways to have control over it.

    Oh... chocolate... that I do have to periodically ban just to get it back under control... but only for periods of time... like right now it is what I gave up for lent... after I ate a 2lb bag of Easter candy in 4 days :-).

  10. it's ice cream for me too. i'm an addict. i have the same reaction once i get the spoon into the carton or bowl. it's almost euphoric. at that point no one should try to get between me and my ice cream. they might get hurt. ;-)

    i've found that i'm not satisfied with a reasonable amount so i just have to skip it altogether. it's not worth putting back on all the weight i've lost with weight watchers and feeling bad about myself.

    if i want something cold and sweet i eat a ww-friendly pudding or something cold and sweet like that. it does the trick for me and i don't feel denied.

  11. My downfall is homemade cookies and cookie dough. So I gave them up for a few years and when my co-worker's grandchild was selling tubs of cookie dough in November for a fundraiser, I felt obligated. Really. I kept telling myself I will bake them all for my church cookie fundraiser that was a couple of weeks away. Well, I ate the entire tub of dough in a week and had to actually go out and purchase more just for my church. Good news is that I didn't even eat one cookie after they were baked. But I took them to the church the very next morning to get them out of my house. Anyway, David, I eat the cookie dough (layer and then have to make it even when there's a hole etc..) the exact same way as you and your icecream.

  12. Cheese (or "Cheez") crackers... like the Goldfish kind. Some people feel really sorry for my 3 kids because they've grown up in a house without them, but my theory is that even if I bought them - the kids wouldn't get any of them anyway because I'd eat them all. No point in buying them.

  13. Reading about how you eat just a layer, and then scoop out a cookie dough ball, etc etc had me laughing so hard. That's what I do too!

  14. I have to say that it's really refreshing to read from a) a man, b) in charge of a weight loss company, c) who seems otherwise normal, that you have these issues with food just like so many of us. In fact, I'm beginning to think the people who don't have food issues are the abnormal ones.

    Me, I love cake. LOVE IT. In the past, I would eat an entire Pepperidge Farm chocolate cake in one night. A whole cake! I haven't banned cake from my life (it wouldn't be worth living, honestly) but I have learned that I can't have whole cakes (or even bake a batch of cupcakes) in the house because I will eat until it's gone, points be damned. Actually, it's that way with a lot of sweet stuff - when I buy stuff like that, it's either single-serving portions.

    And if I'm going to have cake, it's a treat that I have outside of my house, 1 slice only.

  15. It's ice cream for me too. Chunky Monkey ice cream is the best and I will eat the whole pint in one sitting if it is in my house. On the old points system, I think it was 28 points so it would be more now. I don't tell myself that I can never have it again but I have not purchased any in probably two years. My husband and I love frozen yogurt and will go out to get that once or twice a week. It is expensive but so far worth it.

  16. Being an employee of Weight Watchers I hate to say this, but I strictly treat fresh pans of Rice Crispie treats like they are Heroine. I cannot be around huge portions of treats like this either, for fear that I will "try to even out" the row I just took a huge chunk out of. At the dining hall in college, if there were rice crispie bars on the desert table, I would literally have to leave!

  17. I didn't used to have a problem avoiding ice cream....until I started working at this nursing home, where they have an ice cream cart. Every. Day. And a giant 1 cup plus sized bowl is filled beyond the rim for only $1. At first I only did it once a week, but lately it's been far more frequent than that. I've tried multiple alternatives, but I think it's time for your elephant poo tactic.


    I pride myself on being particularly strong-willed, but something evil comes over me when either of those foods are in my direct line of vision. Evil, I tell you. Gollum and the Ring of Power in Lord of the Rings? My preeecccciousss...... NOTHING compared to this.

    In fact, I may or may not have hidden a brand new jar of PB& Co's Smooth Operator in my husband's laundry basket just last night. It's the only place in the house that I won't go digging through to go and get it.

    BTW, thank you for your recent blog post about competition! After I read that I went for a run and decided to do a speed workout on the track instead. Totally inspired me to push myself harder. In fact, I think I'm going to join a team (Hellgate Runners in 'da HOUSE!) as a direct result...

    See you soon!

  19. Cake, cookies, pizza. I can never eat one slice of pizza and it comes in so many forms and I can make it a hundred different ways out of stuff at home.

    Cake, thank goodness the store has single servings you can buy. If there is cake around I will keep going back over and over again. Ditto with cookies which we love to bake. I am famous for making them and eating a few then sending home with various children or taking into work to dispose of them. As much as I like to bake the Mother's Tea Cookie with it's vanilla and oh so slight lemony flavor, slays me. I can't even look at them on the aisle without wanting a tall glass of milk and to be left alone while I devour them.

  20. Lucerne Chocolate Chip Orange Sherbert

  21. Homemade chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, toast, still warm from the toaster slathered in peanut butter, Baskin Robbins Rocky Road ice cream (good thing I have to drive to get there), HOT McDonald's french fries, an open bag of M&Ms, or a full size bag of potato chips! I am hungry now but then again it is morning and time for breakfast! I think I will have some oatmeal with blueberries. :)

  22. I'm an ice cream lover too. I can't totally do without though, so I had to find an alternative that would allow me to have a significant amount without it completely obliterating what I was trying to do. I live in Texas, home of beloved Blue Bell ice cream. Well, Blue Bell makes a no sugar added ice cream that is actually pretty good--the dutch chocolate kind, anyway. A cup of it is 5 points. A half cup (which is supposed to be a single serving, but who only eats a half cup of ice cream?) is 2 points. So I keep that in the freezer and it usually lasts me about a week. I still wouldn't keep it around if you had NO self-control, though. It has 6 grams of fiber per serving and would do a number on your digestive system if you ate too much.

  23. My kryptonite is homemade rice krispy treats. If they're present, I tend to eat them until they're no longer present.

    But I like them so I sometimes go through the trouble to make one serving. I divide the recipe by 12 (sometimes by 6) and eat the entire muffin pan full.

    And in regards to Leslie's comment above, I too, love Blue Bell. It takes a little effort to find it in New York City, but it's easy to find where I am this week. It just has to stay far, far away..;)

  24. Home made bread, the stuff from the breadmaker but my mom's homemade done the old fashioned way and of course it's white or sometimes raisin and cinnamon. She was just here visiting and literally I ate an entire loaf in under 2 hours with butter of course. It was fresh from the oven and I was starving was my excuse. My husband and kids ate the rest but of me and bread!!!! MMMMMM!!! It's a smell i've always had since childhood. Never even ate processed bread til I moved away from home to go to university!

  25. How ironic. I finally have the house to myself, and as usual, I felt the need to sneak! What did I go for? Ice cream, of course. Felt like things could get dangerous, so I thought I'd read your blog while eating the ice cream. The blog is about sneaking and eating ice cream. Very ironic!!! I will celebrate 10 years as a WW lifetimer at goal on April 16. Some habits, like sneaking, are lifelong challenges! I really enjoy your blog.

  26. Ice Cream is most definitely my Kriptonyte! We don't keep 1/2 gallons in the house anymore. But I do NOT treat it as a taboo food. When I tell myself I CAN'T have something I want it that much more and the bigger hold it has on me. So, I portion control. I buy WW ice creams and yes they call to me, but I count them and use my WP's on those. I don't have them in the house all the time. When there isn't any ice cream in the house and I'm craving some, we go to McDonald's and have 4 pt cone!

    Now when I walk down the ice cream isle the 1/2 gallons don't call out to me anymore. I think that is because I allow myself to have ice cream when I want it, but not as a 1/2 gallon serving! :) Because lets face it a 1/2 gallon is a single serving of ice cream!!! :)

    Thanks for sharing this! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there with the attachment to ice cream! And yes, that was/is my sneak food!

  27. chocolate! David in your December 6th posting you mentioned a possible Android app in Spring. Now that Spring is here, I have to ask, is the app almost? Thanks for your blog!

  28. Eating 1/2 gallon in a single sitting (or standing)? No problem back "then". Now, I have no ice cream confections in the house - of any type. When I walk down the ice cream aisle I stop to have a nice chat with Ben and Jerry and they say goodbye.
    HOWEVER, as I tell my groups, a few times a year - when the weather is perfect, the time is right,I've thought about it for a while, etc - I venture down to the local farm stand to get the real deal. No frozen yogurt, NO low fat......... the real deal!! And I eat it like I'm making love to it. I don't drive while I'm eating it, I don't talk on my cell phone and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't bring someone with me to enjoy this cherished treat.
    And then I sit back and savor the taste, the moment and the memory.

  29. I would have said cookies, before I opened a cookie shop (still managed to lose 50 lbs on WW-- give or take, depending on how close to the holidays we are). Nowadays I would say Doritos... sweet, I've made my piece with, but salty...? fuggetaboutit!

  30. So funny, grab a chunk smooth the layer. I really thought it was just me and I really thought it worked and no one noticed (ok they didn't notice cause I ate the pint).

    With me it is ice cream, but only some flavors. Chocolate, fudge chunks won't last the night. Strawberry well it will be there forever.

    The key now is to only buy what you are willing to spend PointsPlus on. When the kids come over a couple of pints gets everyone some with no left overs. No temptations, indulge with control. Hey wait a second...did I LEARN SOMETHING...

    Thanks Dave!

  31. Baked goods. From fancy bakeries. Can't even walk into them.

  32. Cupcakes :-) or any form of cake.

  33. Unfortunately with icecream I only like the REALLY BAD stuff that's fully loaded with cream and calories! The low fat stuff just doesn't do it for me! Fortunately I can normally just enjoy a yoghurt now and I don't go near the stuff!!

  34. Supermarket sheet cake. Dear God, save me from it's tooth-decaying-decadence.

  35. Key Lime anything.. it doesn't matter if it's a cake, pie, cheesecake, ice cream, drink, or yogurt. I once ate a FROZEN key lime pie with topping like an ice cream cake... because thawing took too long!

    I can't have it in my house.. unless it's light key lime yogurts (that I can freeze for "ice cream") and/or WW key lime desserts too. I LOVE it too much. :)

  36. Oh, I adore ice cream. Any dessert really, but with most I can be reasonably satisfied with a small piece. Half a cup of ice cream? Never. And that fake Skinnycow or WW stuff just isn't worth it -- only real ice cream will do for me. Preferably vanilla with hershey's syrup or moose/deer tracks. There's just something about that smooth creamy texture -- maybe it reminds me of babyhood (baby food that just slides down?) or happy occasions like birthdays. I try not to have it in the house too often. I can ignore it most of the time if we do have it, but if I get started...uh oh. I'll have a large bowl of it every evening until it's gone.