Monday, April 6, 2009

the dessert challenge

For the past month and a half, I have been following my meal plan very closely. The plan, designed by my nutritionist at the Renfrew Center, dictates the minimum amount of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, fat and starch that I need each day. After throwing away my scale, I was afraid to eat more than the exact minimum my meal plan allowed for. Since I can't weigh myself, I have no way of knowing if I'm eating the "right amount" without these guidelines. The problem is that I have become too comfortable in my eating patterns and am afraid of branching out. Until a week ago, I had been eating the same breakfast, lunch and snack every day. Although there was some variety -- what kind of cereal I had, or what I put on my sandwich -- I was making safe, reliable choices.

Last week, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I made a goal of having at least one dessert over the next 7 days. I'm proud to say that I accomplished this goal, and more, by trying unique desserts and enjoying them.

My first challenge was at David Burke Prime steakhouse, where I ordered a cheesecake lollipop tree. Yes, a tree with cheesecake lollipops on it! It was fun to eat, and since the lollipops were each a bite of cheesecake, I didn't get too full or feel guilty. Then, with the check, the server brought us complimentary green apple cotton candy! I've never been a big fan of cotton candy, but it was light and delicious, and eating it made me feel like a little kid.

The next night, out to dinner at Alta Strada, I challenged myself a second time. My friend and I tried pastry chef P.J. Waters' famous Cinema Paradiso -- caramel popcorn, chocolate-covered golden raisins, chocolate mousse with popcorn ice cream, and a tangerine slushy. Although we didn't even come close to finishing it all, we mixed the remaining chocolate raisins and popcorn and took it to go!

So, all of this is not to say that I've conquered my fear of desserts for good. Dessert is still more challenging for me than most other kinds of foods. But, this experience allowed me to have so much fun with dessert that it was, in both cases, the best and most memorable part of the meal. And that, in itself, is a victory.


  1. The cheesecake lollipop tree looks amazing! I'm so jealous... ;-)

    More seriously, I'm glad you were able to enjoy it. You seem to have a very healthy attitude toward desserts now: good job!

  2. Wow -the cheesecake tree looks incredible! How perfect that each branch holds just a bite - and what fun to eat! Congratulations on your rediscovery of enjoyment and playfulness with food. Love, Mom

  3. The lollipop tree was so much fun to eat that I wasn't even thinking about it as a dessert. I'm trying to have a healthy attitude towards desserts. It's an every day thing, you know? I can't just win once and for all. But I'm winning more than I have before.

  4. What creative and fun desserts! That cheesecake lollipop tree is crazy cool. I want to make one!

  5. Hey,

    I am bulimic, about to go to the renfrew center in Florida. Life is pretty scary and spirially out of control. I just saw your blog when I googled the center looking for pictures for the place. Nice to hear you had a positive expirience from it and are doing well :)


  6. I thought it was an excellent blog, that information has been very helpful in my life, I am a desserts lover, so I really enjoyed this reading, this weekend I want to do one! Thanks for this great moment!