The Secret Of My Excess

When it comes to weaknesses, ice cream has to feature fairly high on my list. My favourite is Maude’s Pooh Bear honeycomb flavour. Plonk a large bowl of that good stuff down in front of me and I’m one happy camper. I could eat it until the cows come home and probably keep going until they have to head out to the fields the next morning again. Brain freeze frightens me not. It requires a brain to freeze for a start.

The down side about downing industrial vats of icy heaven is it’s high calorific content. I reckon if I didn’t exercise the local Fire Service would be required at some point to winch me from the sofa and out of the house through a Stephen sized hole. I’m not greedy but I do have a big appetite. My addictive nature doesn’t help either. Me and the word ‘moderation’ are not on first name terms. I am creature of excess.

I was watching Man v Food tonight where the presenter tried, and heroically failed, to eat a restaurant’s signature ice cream dish which was roughly the size of a small barn. I remarked to Fionnuala that I would have given the challenge a serious rattle. That’s how much I love ice cream. Ploughing through buckets of the stuff would be my idea of bliss. Even if it meant me ending up in the emergency room having my stomach pumped.

Thank goodness I discovered running then. I am pretty much in permanent marathon training this year which means my ice cream fetish can be fuelled with only minimal pangs of guilt. I consume a lot of calories but I also burn off a lot of them. On average a marathon will burn off 3500 of those bad boys. And, believe me, that’s a lot of honeycomb ice cream. Which is a great comforter for aching limbs and blistered feet.

I’ve been known to think of nothing else but ice cream from the 20 mile point onwards in a marathon. It makes the pain worthwhile. The old Stephen would have wanted nothing but an ice cold pint of beer at the finish line. The new me heads straight to the freezer in search of frozen dairy products. The endless miles lead to endless smiles at that point. It’s a temptation that I’m happy to succumb to. It’s harmless and I’ve worked hard for it.

The running and the ice cream balance each other out. The key word in that last sentence is balance. For many years I had no concept of the word. I lived a selfish life where all the cards had to be stacked in my favour. I gorged myself on alcohol, junk food and social media. There were no restraints, no curbs, no brakes applied. It was all or nothing. I wanted it all and pushed and pushed until I was left with nothing.

All of us have weaknesses. We are all flawed, imperfect creations. Some of us have Achilles heels whereas for others this vulnerability occupies their entire body. When it comes to addictive behaviour it is vital that we have checks and balances in place to control our baser instincts. We cannot afford to allow our runaway trains to hurtle uncontrollably down the mountain side. It will only end in carnage.

So I’ll continue my love affair with honeycomb ice cream. But I’ll also keep pounding the roads in order to offset the extra calories. We all deserve a treat or two but it’s important we temper our permitted excesses with discipline, transparency and accountability. Failure to do so can only lead to tears and recrimination. Excess kills success. Control your cravings. Before they control you.

What is your Achilles Heel?

Do you struggle with excess and temptation?

86 thoughts on “The Secret Of My Excess

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  1. Honeycomb ice cream sounds amazing. My favorite candy is violet crumble. My universe is feeling everything too strongly. Overthinking, compulsion, Tortured artist much? Or just human nature? I do applaud your healthy outlets and the balance you endeavor to strike.

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  2. I struggle with eating too many potato chips. I buy a family-size bag and then sit down and eat the whole thing. I need to quit buying the chips I know, but continue to give in to temptation.

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  3. Carbs. They boost that serotonin, you know. I literally ate my share of a gigantic 1.5 lb pretzel today – and I will regret it. If I could live on bread and sugar…. I’d look like Violet Beauregard, with less color.

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  4. I love icecream but dairy and me aren’t friends thanks to lactose intolerance. I do enjoy it in small amounts though as I still eat dairy in limited forms. I eat too much chocolate even when I know it will end bad. Also they have dairy free chocolate which isn’t the same but I still will eat it in large amounts too lol. I’ve been trying to lose weight and I weight lift but it’s hard to completely stop eating foods I love.

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          1. I have a really bad knee. I was running but the lady at the gym told me to let it heal for awhile. I couldn’t even do squats. I noticed it’s way better now but I’m scared to reinjure it. I’ve been doing leg presses to try to strengthen it and that seems to help. Whenever I have tried to run, I seem to always hurt myself lol

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  5. Ice cream is my favorite dessert. As a rule, I don’t keep it in the house because it’s far too easy for me to run to the freezer when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I’d rather go for a walk or read a book or drink a cup of tea – because I will use ice cream as a default coping mechanism and I know from past experience that it’s not a healthy coping mechanism. When I do have ice cream, I make sure it’s exactly the flavor I want – I get the flavor and the brand I want. I’ve discovered that if I get exactly what I want, I’m far more liable to eat a scoop in one sitting and savor it, rather than the whole pint because I’m craving Moose Tracks {vanilla ice cream with mini peanut butter cups and fudge swirl – so so good} when I bought low fat vanilla. Sometimes though…a coffee mug with a couple of scoops of ice cream in it is exactly what I need to just sit and be for a minute 🙂

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  6. Ginger nuts, ginger nuts and more ginger nuts. They can now be bought from Asda for 22p a pack. That means that I can buy about 30 packs for the cost of a bottle of wine … it also means that I’d have to hide them in the shed (not dissimilar in that case to hiding wine) but as that is where Betty is locked, I’d be a fool to indulge my extremist behaviours as by opening the door, she’d be ready to pounce.

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        1. Look for gauffrettes when you’re in France. No ginger, but they’re a delicious butter cookie baked in a special waffle iron. They’re surprisingly durable and travel well: I have relatives who make them in huge quantities (the recipe is the same as that for pound cake) and have sent them via post to other members of the family who live out-of-state. When I visited France and saw gauffrettes in a shop, I bought every package they had, so I fully appreciate your feelings about ginger nuts. (I like ginger nuts, too, but they’re so spicy, a few of them at one time are enough for me.)

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  7. Absolutely I struggle. Beware, for my downfall might be yours, in a parallel universe sort of way. I used to have a very high energy job – physical, with long hours – and few meal breaks. Unhealthy food choices were usually the only ones on hand (my average meal break would be about ten minutes). Then I stopped, and moved, with age, to more sedentary work. The instant I stopped, my weight gained – not in pounds but in stones. I’ve never been able to return to a healthy weight.

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  8. I really love salt and vinegar potato chips. A brand here I really love is Copper Kettle as their potato chips are really crunchy and strongly flavoured. Not having very much money stops me from buying more of them. When I open a packet I find it hard to not consume the entire bag (and these are the 150gm large bags we’re talking about) in one sitting. Sometimes I manage to keep some for the next day.

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  9. I can’t have ice cream in the house. It’s a weakness for sure. Or honey pretzels. Or pretty much anything chocolate, though we do have a stash of dark chocolate 🍫 at all times!

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    1. The cacao in dark chocolate is considered to be a healthy food, but in my house, a pound of chocolate lasts only three days, so it’s reserved for special occasions (my birthday and Mother’s Day, which means I get to splurge about every six months). To regularly get the benefits of cacao into my diet (and keep chocolate cravings under control), I keep baking cocoa on hand, which I use to make a daily mug of hot cocoa breakfast drink (recipe at https://wp.me/p6ktGc-87), or a serving of Mexican atole or champurrado (recipe at https://wp.me/p6ktGc-cF), and other chocolate-flavored treats. I figure the work involved in making chocolate-flavored foods from scratch helps to burn up a few of their calories! 😉

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  10. My favorite ice cream is chocolate (must be lactose-free, which is expensive, when I can find it), although butter pecan would be a close second, except that in recent years I seem to have developed an allergy to pecans. 😦

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  11. It’s definitely not the worst addiction. It also looks fantastic, I have no doubts, I’d have some, too.
    I think addictions come from childhood, early childhood. I never got too much chocolate or ice cream, or any other sweets, so my cravings are usually some regular salty or fresh foods, like tomatoes in winter, tomato and cucumber salad with fresh dill and green onions, salted hearing or quick pickles from the garden, something like that. I used to love some cakes while I lived in Latvia, especially with Latvian natural cottage cheese, but that is totally unavailable in Canada. Everything is so sweet here, I do not know why they do add way too much sweetness to everything, but Canadian pastries and cakes are terrible, really bad, and I cannot imagine craving anything like that.

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    1. Tomatoes fresh from the home garden are fabulous! When they’re dressed with a little salt and pepper, I could eat them by the pound. I even enjoy the the smell of tomato vines! 😀

      I agree that pastries, cakes and cookies here in North America are far too sweet. I much preferred the way such things were made in Germany. I bake my own such treats from recipes in cookbooks, and I always cut the amount of sugar called for by 1/4 to 1/3. They turn out just fine, and taste much better.

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  12. If I was rich instead of stunningly good looking (ahem . . .) I could eat Ben & Jerry’s Fish Food by the gallon. I loved their Cherry Garcia when they did it (chocolate & cherry) but they’ve stopped that now (boo-hoo). That and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk by the slab. Just thinking about it . . .

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  13. Probably a lot! It snows a lot here in Minnesota so it seems like running is only for summer. It’s hard to get the hang of it and then it’s winter! I was doing HIIT so I’d run, walk, run, walk. Now I can’t do it so I’m not losing weight like I want. Oh well.

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  14. My weakness is ice cream too! I love it! My favorite is probably chocolate chip cookie dough. I could eat ice cream every day and probably have at one point. lol

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  15. Ice cream in between two large cookies!! 🙂 My spiritual journey is leading to me find my balance. Your article was spot on – I do everything in excess and then get burnt out. I was told it is a form of OCD – could be. I know I can’t overcome this alone and know I have the power of Jesus and the many friends of support He has placed in my life. Along with you – you are so encouraging and I thank God for your words of wisdom and for sharing your struggles.

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  16. I too have the problem of ‘all or nothing’, so I have to choose ‘nothing’ very often to avoid ‘all’!!

    And by nothing I mean one square of chocolate per day rather than the full (family sized) bar in one sitting.. haha!!

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  17. A great read Stephen. I am petrified of temptation, with my ED recovery I need to eat to feed my body to make it better. However much I want something I make myself steer clear of it for the simple fact that I am scared of going to excess. I am not sure that even makes sense???? But it is my take on your question.

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  18. LOL – what a wonderful and funny post. My Achilles’ Heel: red-velvet cake. At least ice-cream has calcium; r-v cake, I’m pretty sure, has zero nutritional value. But it’s soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.

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  19. Coffee. With my stomach conditions coffee is about the worst thing I can have..but I like me a strong cup of brewed coffee and will indulge when I am not in flare up mode. Sometimes it puts me in flare up mode and it sounds like the dumbest thing that I keep drinking it. I just love it.

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