That Takes the Cake

Created by susan on 2019-04-16 21:08:09

Do you have a favorite cake? Some of the best types of cake also meet the criterion for the best desserts in the world. According to a survey done by Ranker on the best type of cakes done by dessert lovers for 2019 the one that takes the crown is chocolate cake. The lineup in the rank order are as follows: cheesecake, ice cream cake, carrot cake, and coffee cake. My favorite was number eleven on the list, German chocolate cake, which was what my mother made for me on my birthday each year! Seriously, who doesn’t have a favorite type of cake. Think of all the delicious options, a Funfetti birthday cake, my luscious lemon tea cakes made from scratch or strawberry shortcake! 
One of the topics that was so important for me to cover in my new book Body Esteem: Piece of Cake and Peace of Mind is about our love for “cake”. I use cake as a metaphor and not as a “guilty pleasure”, but simply “a pleasure”. It is important to treat yourself without  feeling guilty or shameful to avoid a cascade of eating difficulties. Am I giving us all a license to go “wild and crazy” and not eat in moderation or listen to your natural biological cues such as hunger sensation and satiety? Absolutely not!  I would like to revolutionize how we feel about our food and our bodies by no longer rationalizing why we want a piece of cake or any other food for that matter. I am an advocate for eating balanced nutrition that nourishes our bodies and not omitting any food groups.  
A study at the University of Maryland revealed that 75% of overeating is due to emotions. Learning to utilize your interoceptive awareness (i.e., a cleverly concocted term that identifies your emotions: stress, anxiety, or sadness) that may lead to overeating or undereating. In my book, I offer a hunger rating scale for guidance which assesses your level of hunger and satiety and normalizes your food intake.  
How did we get to a point in our food and diet culture where we need a list of excuses as to why we cannot enjoy our favorite foods or a piece of cake and have peace of mind? Women spend approximately sixty one minutes per day thinking about their food intake. Although I have great compassion for anyone who has ruminating thoughts about what they eat, devoting so much time and mental energy to their caloric intake  truly “takes the cake”! This obsessive-compulsive tendency about food is stressful and often consumes your thought processes to the point it is difficult to focus on more interesting or thought provoking ideas. And, it tends to hijack any pleasure you have from eating. Let’s change the conversation surrounding  our eating habits and behaviors and learn to restructure how we think about what we eat.  Begin to notice when you do this and you’ll be surprised how many times you start to make an excuse for what you are eating. Some of these examples below may be helpful to recognize similar thoughts: 
I had a late breakfast and that is why I am not eating lunch! 
Simply say “I am not hungry” or nothing at all. 

This cheesecake is going straight to my hips and thighs! 
This chocolate chip cheesecake is a delectable and decadent dessert! 

I am only eating more for dinner because I skipped lunch! 
Simply say “I am really hungry” or do not feel the need to explain yourself! 

I feel so fat after eating pizza last night! 
Fat is not a feeling and weight gain does not occur that rapidly. 

I am eating light all day so I can enjoy some carbs later. 
Complex carbohydrates are necessary for brain and organ health and provide many of the anti-oxidants that your body needs. 

It is too late in the day for me to be snacking. 
Your body may require a snack if your meal was low fat and/or minimal protein to sustain you. Frequent feedings such as eating every 3 to 5 hours are one of the best methods for staying in your healthy weight range. The protein, carbohydrate, and fat (PCF) ratio graph in my book will keep you satiated from one meal or snack to the next one. 
Next time you experience guilt or shame or feel compelled to rationalize your eating behaviors, pause and examine the reasons behind this such as you may need to obtain empirical research to dispute a dieting myth (i.e., all fats are unhealthy). Perhaps keep a journal and track your cognitions, emotions, and behavior in relation to your dietary intake and challenge yourself to overcome the counterproductive emotions that you may be experiencing. If you are like me and have a sweet tooth, an occasional simple carbohydrate like a piece of cake may satisfy your cravings and prevent you from feeling deprived since eighty percent of people overeat due to deprivation. Afterall, you deserve to enjoy a piece of cake and have peace of mind!