I’m a guest at a wedding, and it’s dessert time. The banquet table is piled high with every variety of cookie I could have imagined, and I want all of them. I squeeze as many as possible onto the small dish in my hand, still staring longingly at the ones I had to triage out of selection and save for my second trip. In the back of my mind, my conscience screams, “STOP! You’re going to mess up your weight loss! That’s too many cookies!” In brash defiance of this warning, I reach out and grab 3 giant chocolate-chip shortbread cookies that I just carry in my hand back to my assigned table. I sink my teeth into one of the cookies in my hand and immediately feel guilty… so I keep eating. I’m about to plow into the plate of cookies before me, when…
I wake up.
And now I’m angry. Not only am I angry at my subconscious self for not making it through all those cookies when I could have and it wouldn’t have actually mattered, but I’m also angry that The Mission has crept into my sleeping time. It’s bad enough I have to deal with constantly combating cravings during my waking hours, but now I have to do it in dreams, too?!
Ahhh, yes, I remember this: the taunting food-dreams stage. This phenomenon is apparently common among dieters who are going hard. Even Neil Patrick Harris mentions in his autobiography that when he was on a grueling fitness regimen in preparation for his role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in 2014, the period was marked by “the most vivid food dreams” of his life. Avoiding nutritional pitfalls in favor of sticking to meal plans becomes so ingrained in a loser’s mind that it burrows into the subconscious and haunts the person’s dreams. It’s evidence of dedication and the huge importance of The Mission for the person in question, which is all good stuff — but damn, what a tease it is!
My cravings during the day have been mostly in check lately, but I find that when I let myself think for too long about what it would be like to let a spoonful of ice cream or a bite of a thick, chocolaty brownie with rich, gooey frosting cross my lips, things start getting dangerous. That’s when the evil voice in my head says, “It’s just one indulgence, who cares? You deserve it! It tastes soooo good!” I have to remind myself that no, actually, what I deserve is a healthy life. I can’t give in to that temptation and expect to succeed. Not right now, anyway. The taunting food-dreams stage comes at a time too early in the process for me to safely veer off my nutritional course without A) cursing my own name, or B) stumbling the whole way down the slippery slope instead of feeling certain about regaining my footing.
I have DietBets to win and multiple bridesmaid’s dresses to fit into. This is no time to be messing myself up.
The person who brought in the box of Tagalongs to my office, however… if I find out who that was, I will mess THAT person up. And I don’t even like Girl Scout cookies.
If memory serves, these dreams mark the death throes of the tentative phase. The more-confident phase of momentum is coming. My sanity and I are waiting for it with open arms.