Last week, while out for lunch, I did something radical: I chose to eat dessert.
Does that sound like a confession, something blurted out in a moment of guilt with the hope of absolution? It almost seems like it should, because this is how we’re taught to think of dessert and sweets: sinful, guilty pleasure, indulgence.
And since I talk about mindful eating, weight loss, and wellness, then sugar simply doesn’t fit, right? Except that it does, in moderation.
Saying “I chose to eat dessert” is simply a statement of fact, not a confession, and a reminder that choosing sweets can be a viable option.
Admittedly it’s not something I do often, and I hadn’t planned on it before going to lunch. Once at The Green Elephant, though, I remembered how delicious their desserts are. I also couldn’t help noticing how, even after my tasty tofu and vegetable stir-fry, I remained slightly hungry.
If I didn’t have dessert, and I got peckish later, I had plenty of snacks available. Nor was I so hungry that I would be miserable or grouchy if I didn’t eat more. Not ordering was certainly an option.
If I chose dessert, would I regret it later? Would I grow drowsy, have a queasy stomach, or feel overloaded on sugar? Would the taste and momentary enjoyment outweigh any possible negative side effects? How much did I reallywant the chocolate orange mousse cake?
Remembering the taste, and knowing I hadn’t yet reached a satisfied point in eating, I ordered the cake.
As I remembered, it tasted rich and smooth, a generous velvety chocolate slice with a couple of orange segments dipped in chocolate. Only as I neared the end did I begin feeling full, but not uncomfortably so.
In the afternoon, my stomach let me know I’d had more sweetness than normal, but not enough to make me feel physically bad. I also had a later and lighter supper than normal, not out of guilt but simply because it’s what I wanted.
Best of all, not once did I feel the need to punish myself for eating dessert. After all, it wasn’t a mistake. It was something I decided with full knowledge of my options and possible results, and I’m glad for the choice I made.