Sometimes I Eat Ice Cream for Dinner (and Other Food Confessions)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Earlier this week, I had a funny dream. I dreamed that I was in a 12-hour foot race that included various stations and obstacles throughout. At one, you had to limbo. At another, I had to change my clothes (weird, right?). And later, between more running, I had to eat ice cream. In the end, I won the race. It was one of those nutty, entertaining dreams that I kept thinking about the next day, laughing to myself. How funny that I won! That ice cream was so good! I wonder if a race like this exists (please tell me that it does)!

Ice cream was on my mind that day. But then again, it is from time to time—especially in the summer. I ate a healthful breakfast full of berries and whole-grain cereal. I snacked on crackers, apples, peanut butter and cheese that day. I had a big salad for lunch full of delicious roasted veggies. But later that night, all I could think about was ice cream. Too lazy to cook after Spinning and in the mood to snack, I hopped on my scooter, headed to the grocery and bought one of my favorite ice cream varieties. I returned home, dished it up, and ate ice cream instead of a sensible dinner.

Now, don't get me wrong. Enjoying ice cream as an entrée is not the kind of thing I do very often. But it's still something that I do occasionally. It was exactly what I wanted that night. The next day, it was back to my normal way of eating: lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains and healthful food choices.

I pride myself on eating healthful, natural foods…90% of the time at least. I eat this way because I like to and because I know it's good for me. But I'm not obsessed with avoiding certain foods entirely. Sure, I'll try a few Coconut M&Ms (even if it really doesn't contain any coconuts). Yep, I'll eat foods that contain corn syrup (but rarely buy them myself). Dyes? Not in my breakfast cereal or oatmeal, but if it's in that piece of candy I ate, yeah, OK. Do I like healthy foods? You bet! But will I still eat foods that have little to no redeeming nutritional benefits? Occasionally, yes. I will eat ice cream, sugary kids' cereals, candy and the like—IF I truly want it and IF my diet has been relatively good and balanced in the hours and days preceding.

If I have ice cream in the house (a rare thing, but it happens), I'll have a serving almost every night until it's gone. If I've been craving Twizzlers (a favorite of mine since I was a kid) for several days straight, I'll buy a large bag and sometimes clear it out all by myself within 24-48 hours. If I have a homemade strawberry pie in the fridge, sometimes I'll eat a slice for breakfast. If I'm too lazy to cook at night but not feeling particularly hungry, I may even eat popcorn for dinner--homemade, with real melted butter. And although I prefer to buy and eat whole-grain products, I won't scoff at the Italian bread or white-flour naan served at a restaurant—I'll eat it, quite happily.

I'm not confessing this because I feel guilty about it or feel like I need to change. I'm sharing it as an example of choices we make and of the progress—not perfection—that I believe we can all achieve through a little thing called moderation.

There was a time when I was obsessed with food, calories and ingredients. A time when I would eat a piece of wedding cake and then spend an extra hour on the treadmill to burn it off (if I even allowed myself to eat it). A time when I denied myself foods that I really wanted because they were "unhealthy." A time when it would be impossible for me to eat at any restaurant because the foods didn't meet my high standards of ingredients (no whole-wheat pizza crust, no pizza for me). A time when, if I did "slip-up" and eat a "bad" food, I'd overeat uncontrollably to the point of sickness and then feel guilty about it. But those times are behind me.

I ate ice cream for dinner and felt nothing—no guilt, judgment or remorse. I didn't do it because I was bored, stressed, or angry. I didn't binge uncontrollably until the carton was empty. I didn't do it because I had been depriving myself of fun, flavorful foods and suddenly couldn't take it anymore. I did it because I made the conscious decision to eat it. I didn't feel bad about it. I didn't let it derail my desire to eat sensibly and exercise moderately the next day. It was just something that I did—something that I'm sure I'll do again in the future, if I so choose.

I've come to the conclusion that you don't have to be perfect—in weight loss, eating, cooking, exercising or anything for that matter. Maybe striving for perfection works for others, but it's not for me. I'm just trying to achieve a balance in my life that allows me to stay reasonably fit and healthy without obsessing about it. And if that means I get to eat more ice cream, I'm all for it.

Are you a less-than-perfect eater? Share your food "imperfections" with us below.

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Comments

KOALA_BEAR 10/9/2019
Great article about working for progress not perfection. I have a poster that includes "strive for excellence not perfection " same idea.
Since I'm allergic to dairy I make faux ice cream w/ frozen bananas & other fruit w/ my Dessert Bullett. However I agree we all have foods that aren't the healthiest & we should be able to have them once in a while at whatever time of day we like. I've had spaghetti for breakfast & rice crispy treats or oatmeal cookies as cereal on more than one occasion. I offset that w/ WW vegetable soup, or a few salads that same week.
For me it's about juggling calories so as to not feel deprived yet get my rainbow of produce in 90% of the time. I refuse to feel guilty about food decisions I make. If the journey to goal takes longer, so be it. I've made a lifestyle change. 🐨
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CHERYLHURT 9/20/2019
Sometimes I just have a glass of wine. Report
REDMANCHRONIC 9/1/2019
I wonder if the Nichole Nichols of today still has ice cream for dinner from time to time. Report
PROVERBS31JULIA 7/24/2019
7.24.2019 there are times when I will have ice cream just because I need the calcium and will actually lose some weight over the next day. Obviously that doesn't happen when I've eaten the entire half gallon container (which has also happened)...but if I haven't had any and just enjoy the one legit serving, it seems to help my mental health as well as physical health! Report
SCRAPALICIOUS 5/24/2019
I'm so glad I search for this article. I find myself being the oddball in many conversation with other sparkers because I WILL eat those things. I try to remind myself that I have enjoyed these foods for many years and the only way I will successfully maintain my future 'new' body is to learn how to include a few of my favorite things into my diet. I have to learn how to portionize (is that a word) and to balance my good with my not-so-good. And most important is to not beat myself up IF I stumble. Now I know I'm not alone! Report
JANIMOEN 4/18/2019
Loved this post! I feel like this too, and hate that other people try to make you feel bad for choosing unhealthy food sometimes, like they know what I’ve been doing to get to where I am and it’s their business to tell me it’s not ok to have junk now and then. Report
REDMANCHRONIC 2/11/2019
This is SO me at times. Although I prefer my twizzlers black! Hehehe Report
JANICEBLUE2 11/17/2018
I love ice cream Report
KHALIA2 11/7/2018
I also love ice-cream! Report
JANSAUR 10/25/2018
Thank you for sharing your story. It has given me a lot to think about how I view things. Report
I just finished a eating silly day and beat my self i needed to this story to remind me its alright to eat Ice cream and cookies some times . Report
BONDMANUS2002
Absolutely great Report
One way I’ve been able to maintain weight loss, is to go out to eat and just have dessert, but no meal........no point wasting calories on a meal I don’t want! Report
I have done similar things, and I too no longer feel guilty about them. Report
NASFKAB
Great way to go helps me a lot Report
MISSALYSSA89
This is a fantastic entry and point of view! One of the biggest obstacles I've run into in trying to lose weight is the guilt and binging that comes along with having a super strict diet. Thanks for reminding us that we're all only human. Report
I loved this - that's a great outlook! Report
Since reading so many SP wellness articles, I know not to feel guilty for eating what I want, for not exercising on a particular day because I'm not feeling my best, or for anything else for that matter. I know what my goals are, and I've learned how to reach them. As long as I don't eat the "wrong" stuff or neglect exercising every day or even most days, I can enjoy life. After all, this IS a lifestyle change, right? If I don't enjoy it, I'm not gonna wanna change it.. Report
ROGERSBABE1
I had two pieces of cheesecake for dinner over the holiday season, followed by a slice of pumpkin gingerbread for dessert (low fat). I was ashamed of myself..did it once, and got over it. My weakness is homemade baked goods, and I love to bake over the holidays. As soon as those things were out of the house I was good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I noticed how yucky I felt on the inside (I don't eat much sugar and follow a fairly low carb eating plan regularly). Report
MERPEARL
Since ice cream is probably my favorite food in the world, I can totally identify. Unless it's freezing outside, I have ice cream a couple of times a week. However, I have adjusted; I only buy frozen yogurt or low-fat versions, or Weight Watchers fudge pops. If I am having ice cream for a meal (yes, I have done that also!) instead of having 2 full cups, I'll have 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, and will add strawberries and/or granola; it's more of a meal that way! And since ice cream as a meal will never leave you feeling full for long, when I get hungry I move to baby carrots, red peppers, or an apple. As all of you likely know by now, ignoring a craving will do you in at the end of the day; you'll overindulge when the will power fails. It's all about giving in, but with moderation. You CAN be satisfied with the right portion of a treat; just eat it slowly and savor every bite. Report
CAROLSWAYNE
I could have written the first part of this myself. I'm still at the stage where I overindulge and would swear that it's an addiction. I'm encouraged to know that there is hope. Thank you for sharing. Report
YES! YES! YES! Moderation IS the key, deprivation leads to binge eating and even more guilt. Just ask me...having been on a diet all my life, I found myself obese with 90 extra pounds. Now with SP, I'm slowing learning it is all about moderation. Report
I get cravings for junk that I try not to eat, but sometimes it is hard. I love the honesty as I feel most of us feel the same. Being honest with ourselves is very important. We are not all perfect but, we try. And that is all that matters - is that we try. I do a little more of a work out after I eat the junk as I feel guilt. Slow and steady as we go. Report
GREEKGAL1
What an honest blog. I feel exactly the same way. I try to eat healhty 90% of the time but will not deprive myself of something if I want it. Report
My neighbor is a wonderful pie baker. She invites me over to share. Yesterday I had warm peach pie with ice cream and a glass of milk for dinner. This happens maybe every two months, and it is a great treat! Then I go back to my regular healthy fare. Moderation in all things, including moderation! Report
AMEN on moderation! I don't follow a strict diet. Deprivation could lead to a serious binge. Report
I have ate ice cream for dinner many times. Then I would drink tons of water.

If we ate good all day or the weather is so hot... Something cold and yummy sounds so good.

I don't like to eat late so even if it was not perfect I have plenty of time to burn it off.

One of those guilty pleasures. Report
I think I'm just getting out of the count every bite stage. Even then, I occasionally budgeted for ice cream. Report
A treat is good once a week, or once a month! With homemade food. Report
yes i have coffee every morning, I know its bad for me, should i change that habit it gets me going and i usually dont eat breakfast. Report
This is a prime example of why SP is so popular -- the plans, the tools, and most importantly the coaches and "experts" use COMMON SENSE!!

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KMGDEWEY
I'm with you all the way. This is about living - not starving - not waiting until whenever to be able to enjoy the things you love to eat. It's about healthy choices most of the time and "clams and chips" when that's what you really, really want.

Great blog and fantastic perspective!!!!! Report
Great blog! Thanks for posting. I ate one of the individual servings of Skinny Cow Ice Cream for breakfast last week and it was wonderful! At 150 calories and a few grams of fat, it was "healthier" than eating some of my other breakfast choices! Report
TQUILES
I always loved ice cream. Since the weight gain I have tried to stay away from it. Thanks for your blog. I will enjoy my ice cream in moderation.
tquiles Report
love ice cream Report
Great blog!

I love ice cream and I've done so well getting off of sweets altogether. But, I still want my ice cream on occasion, so I let go when we eat at the Eastern Buffet. I love, love, love, the soft serve ice cream there and little "mini coffee cakes". They are very small so I have 2 with some vanilla soft serve. That is the main part of that meal. Prior to that I have my plate of veggies stir-fried fresh without sauce. I look forward to this meal 2 x per month.

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MINNIEKS610
Love this entry, it is right on! We can't deny ourselves because this isn't a diet, it is a LIFESTYLE! This is just another reminder that we are human and life is too short not to eat ice cream! We all have to remember a balance of good food and REALLY good food!!! Thanks for cheering me up! Report
IN2MENOW
This blog is just another reason I'm loving SP! There are so many perspectives to try and while I am all for moderation in just about every other area in my life, this is one I never thought of and it makes so much sense. I think this will assist me in my vicious cycle. Always trying to go cold turkey here or extremely hard there it is difficult to find a comfort zone and I end up teetering off my keel. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful perspective. Report
wow! How different this is from my approach to ice cream - I stay away from it for so long, and then I finally give in and buy it and eat the entire container in secret, and I usually don't get right back on track the next day/meal either. I think your approach is much healthier!! So if it's okay, I'm going to borrow it! Thank you! Report
I love Ice Cream (maybe too much) but I rarely buy it. When I do, I buy a lite, no sugar added something with nuts or fruit and add which ever is missing (nuts or fruit) to make it slightly healthier. I Love Blue Bunny or Edys Slow churn no sugar added light. Report
I love this it's great to see I am not the only one that has done this before I guess the key is to not do this everyday. Once and a while it's nice to just enjoy something that you don't get to have everyday.
Deborah Report
LSHAPPELL
Thank you for sharing! Love your attitude. Report
This was fantastic and I love your whole outlook. I really needed this Thanks ever so much Report
I'm not much for sweets, to begin with, but I love salty, spicy foods. I have been known to skip a meal so that I can drive to the korean chicken place for some salty, spicy hotwings that put the hottest Buffalo, NY variety to shame! Report
AHALL5
Thank you for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!! ps. love some culvers frozen custard, especially as a hot fudge sundae topped with reeses! Report
Thanks for sharing! I loved it. Report
i think everyone needs a little wiggle room as long as we still have discipline in the end :D Report
Such a great blog! I'm still learning how to not obsess about food, but what you wrote is really inspiring. Report
Hi Coach Nicole. Such a great blog. These are all the things I have learned on Spark People. I'm recovering from a rough patch and this article helped me to focus on what I was feeling and doing to be successful. I'm feeling inspired and "sparked". Thanks for the boost! Report
Thanks Coach. I needed this. Although my wife is a big encourager to me, your article really hit home today. I HAVE fallen off the wagon and have put on about 10 pounds (according to my weigh in at the doctor's office and the belt notch on my pants!). Yet I am still learning. Spark People has been so good for me. I'm not going to give up, I'll not quit. I have not put back on all my weight lost. Thank you for stimulating my mind into action and reframing this whole ting about life-style and not food! Thanks for being here. Report