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When’s dessert?

Apple Crisp

Two seconds: The amount of time I wish would elapse between eating my last bite of Thanksgiving dinner and starting on Thanksgiving dessert.

Two hours: The amount of time that actually elapses.

Complete hell: The amount of time in between these two events.

Over the years I’ve had varying opinions about whether food addiction exists and if I have it, but the single-minded focus I felt in anticipation of devouring some dirt cake and apple crisp on Thanksgiving presented a strong case for its existence.

Literally the moment I finished eating dinner, I wanted to eat dessert. I love sweets and I knew there was a delicious concoction of crushed Oreos, whipped cream and cream cheese sitting in the fridge. I found myself sitting at the table while other people were still finishing their meals thinking, “Oh my God! Eat faster! Don’t you want dessert?!” Then when we were all done, we helped with the washing up. (I supervised!) And people mingled. And went to the bathroom. And started chatting. And while it really is lovely to catch up with family and friends, OH MY GOD COULD WE PLEASE HAVE DESSERT?!

Of course, I couldn’t just scream that to everyone in the dining room, because it would be totally weird and embarrassing. Instead, I had to sit around pretending I wasn’t thinking about doing horrible things to my blood sugar levels. Secretly, though, I was wishing we could get the dessert plates out already. (I’d be happy to help!) And when I wasn’t thinking about crushed Oreos, I was thinking of how disordered this way of thinking is, and how “normal” people probably don’t feel this way about dessert, and wishing this craving would go away please for the good of both my health and my waistline. But it didn’t. Addiction never goes away. The lil’ fucker.

Eventually we did have dessert and it was very good. Yum. Yum to the yum, yum, yum. I enjoyed it very much, and somehow managed to eat until I was full but not stuffed. Small victories, y’all. Small, small, victories.

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38 Comments

Anna • November 30, 2010 at 8:29 am

Very timely post and (as usual) beautifully said.

I hung around at a bbq the other day for about an hour doing the exact same thing (no Thanksgiving here in Aus – but by coincidence we were at a big gathering of friends with copious amounts of food). In fact I even delayed leaving just so I could have some dessert, even though we had a long drive home ahead of us.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back that is the behaviour of someone with a problem. Darn, just when I thought I was perfect.

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Maz Paz • November 30, 2010 at 8:32 am

I laughed out loud!!

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Lisa • November 30, 2010 at 9:30 am

Hey, how about giving yourself props for not being so stuffed after dinner that you couldn’t even THINK about dessert for another 2 hours….

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RG • November 30, 2010 at 9:55 am

If it makes you feel better, I think that we all have favorite foods and have had occasions of wishing it would get here faster. I go “running for gelato”, which is the summertime version of hot chocolate by the fire after snow sledding. Fresh french fries, though? I can’t let them sit on my plate, ignored, which is why the endless fries at Ruby Tuesday’s are a nightmare. I don’t think of myself as food addicted, just normal.

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Rhonda • November 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

Perfectly normal thinking to me. I have gone to weddings only because there will be cake.

I look at others and think- why are they so calm??? Can’t they see how pertinent it is to get at the FOOD already????????

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AF • November 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

Small victories!

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations • November 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I’d call it a MAJOR VICTORY to eat only until full but not stuffed where sweet treats are involved!!

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Quix • November 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I know what you mean. There’s always that tip about making parties not all about the food/drink. I don’t understand that. I’m always obsessed about what is there to eat, whether I can eat it, how many calories it has, how much I have to work out later, etc etc. I even did great over Thanksgiving – only took one plate, didn’t overeat, felt good. But then it was 2 hours ’til desert because everyone ELSE overate. :P And I was going NUTS. But hey, I didn’t overeat, right? Small victories indeed.

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy • November 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if EVERYONE there was actually thinking the same thing? There is a good chance that if they were completely honest, there would have been at least some thinking the same thing. Wouldn’t you have loved those mind reading powers just for a little bit?

I agree with what was said above, at least you weren’t so stuffed that you didn’t want dessert. Or worse yet, stuffed beyond belief and STILL wanting dessert knowing that there wasn’t an ounce of room. Been there done that in the past. Horrible!

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Natalie • November 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

At my father-in-law’s 60th party last year we had dinner at a function centre (big party, lots of people) and then we had speeches before dessert. The dessert was sitting there on a buffet table, in full view, lots of delicious choices. Fairly short speeches from the sons, then FIL himself got up to speak. For 45 minutes. About his whole life. With accompanying slides. He is actually a great speaker, and has done interesting things in his life. But all I could think about was the dessert, just sitting there, waiting to be eaten. Torture.

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Judy • November 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Being addicted to alcohol is way easier to handle than the addiction to food. You just can’t live without food and I still haven’t figured out how to handle it.

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Kelly • December 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

It is unreal how nearly every post you write relating to food addictions could be me, word for word! This dessert thing hit home for me, hit home closer than I care to admit. You always manage to say what I’m feeling, or have felt at some point, about my dysfunctional relationship with food.

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Lin • December 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

I look forward, plan for and enjoy the anticipation of dessert too! Especially special desserts. Generally I don’t that excited about other foods but dessert, oooh.

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emjay • December 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

I can totally relate. But in my case, I would have come right out and said “How about dessert?”. Easy to say when it was at my house, but if I was with family, I would have said it anyway.

Dessert is always my favorite part of a get-together. Something we rarely had at home with meals. Maybe that’s what makes it special in my eyes.

You’re not alone in fighting the demons. Even though I’m at my lowest weight since high school, I still fight the devil in my mind. The SOB is never asleep, just lurking behind a rock at times.

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Amy • December 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

In my former married life, holiday dinner would drag on and on.
Then everyone would make noises about being too full for dessert.
Let’s have dessert and coffee later.
Then they would all get drunk and forget all about dessert. I was so sad. :(

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Karen • December 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I want dessert right away. There is something about finishing with something sweet to satisfy me, even if I am not the least bit hungry.

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RG • December 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm

For everyone saying that being addicted to alcohol would be better – be careful what you wish for. I managed to move one addiction to the other, on the theory that a shot has far fewer calories than a bag of chips. My justification was a lot like Jeannette’s – it was the only thing that would help me fall asleep when I was under massive stress. I finally realized that an alcohol-induced sleep isn’t exactly refreshing and it doesn’t solve stressful situations.

If the goal is to de-stress or zone out, perhaps there’s a way that doesn’t involve pregnancy (sex), obesity (food), cold/ bad drivers (running), liver damage (alcohol), sleeplessness (video games)? Maybe yoga, meditation, or bad TV?

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Emily • December 1, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I so feel your pain on this one. I am often jealous of the people that aren’t so obsessed with food. But….I have a friend who is just as bad as me… but thin.

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beep • December 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Very well said.

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Jill • December 2, 2010 at 1:12 am

I’m with Lisa. How ’bout that having some room thing!
I’m living for the day that I don’t finish dinner so full that the very thought of dessert makes me sick. Never, ever stand between me and a dish full of stuffing.
Um, what’s dirt cake?

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Suz • December 2, 2010 at 4:52 am

Wah—I was germy sick so alone. No good turkey and mashed potatoes–no, I ate a few bites of a frozen Trader Joe’s turkey w/stuffing frozen thing. It was awful—like a warm salt lick. Even the out door stray kitty ran away from it!
Anyhow, my theory is that fat people are SUPER TASTERS w/many many more taste buds and so food is orgasmic-not just plain ok or good.. No we crave specific textures and tastes. Skinny people who don’t crave, don’t “care”, don’t even think about specific food have way LESS taste buds. My friend Dan doesn’t like desset and has no favorite food. He eats anything-(like on auto pilot )that is set infront of him. He shrugs and sez everything is
“OK”. Looks blankly when I am in heaven over something great.

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RNegade • December 2, 2010 at 8:08 am

Well this makes me feel a LITTLE better. I’ve been so obsessed with food in the past that when watching a movie if the actors just picked at, or didn’t finish, the delicious looking dessert on their plate it would bug me throughout the rest of the movie. Insane, right? The credits would be rolling, the girl got the guy or the killer was brought to justice, and I’m thinking: did anyone actually eat that amazing looking piece of chocolate cake from the restaurant scene? :)

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PastaQueen • December 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

@Jill – Dirt cake is a dessert with alternating layers of crushed oreos and a white mixture of whipped cream, cream cheese, and possibly other stuff. Sometimes people put gummie worms on top as a decoration.

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Cynthia • December 2, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I was the one who called for dessert at our family meal. The others were more intent on washing dishes ??

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Deanna • December 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm

I had a hard time believing in food addiction for a long time as well. Because when you think about it, aren’t all humans addicted to food? We can’t function without it, and it just takes a small amount of time away from it before we experience withdrawals. But it’s true that there are people unlike us who can actual enjoy a meal and company without obsessing over dessert in the fridge… though I’ll be damned if I ever understand them.

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Jill • December 3, 2010 at 2:05 am

Thanks PQ. Sounds yum. Except for the worms.

I’d like to confess that on receipt of wedding invitations – which are always beautifully printed, planned, scripted, and oh-so-meaningful to people who are truly dear to me that are committing their lives to each other and are honoring me by asking me to share in the ceremony – my first thought has been, “I wonder what they’ll serve for dinner?” or “Ooooh, I hope it’s real buttercream and not whipped cream.”
Pretty sure that’s food addiction. Pretty. Sure.

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Sheila • December 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I think everyone has an addiction to food in general just as a survival necessity. But some of us have a particular addition to sugar that goes way beyond physical survival. A few days of sugar-induced misery around Thanksgiving convince me of this.

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Lori Grant • December 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I have NEVER related to a blogger’s post more than this one! It’s like we’re cut from the same cloth.

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Dorothy • December 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

This is very interesting. My family always immediately served the desserts. At holidays it was always a variety of pies and some of us took a big hunk and others would take a small slice of more than one pie on their plate. But it was served immediately at the table, so much so that not everyone took a clean plate. Most of us just had our pie on our dinner plate – I guess we were good at practically licking the plates clean!

Now living alone I set my dessert on the table with the rest of my meal and have it right away or if not right away certainly it is there the moment I’m ready for it.

About parties, my food addiction took a dark turn one day at an office party. I guess I’m a slow learner. After years of office parties and my soul crying out CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! COME ON!!! this thing happened. I looked lustfully at the birthday cake sitting there (being ignored by everyone else) and it dawned on me that come Saturday I could buy that same cake or a similar cake at Kroger and I could have all I want. Like magic, my soul quit crying for the cake and I became patient for it. On Saturday I did buy a Kroger cake and did overeat with it. And ever since then be it cake or pizza, etc., at work I just vow I’ll get my own and then it’s almost like I don’t care anymore. Then by Saturday sometimes I get it and sometimes the craving has passed. I hate that this is such a big deal to me.

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Tabitha @ Just Weighing In • December 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

While I’m not quite as “addicted” to dessert as you are :) I will say that I enjoyed it very much this year. I made a pumpkin pie and an apple pecan caramel pie from scratch and they were mighty tasty!

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Elia • December 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Nice post. Your making me very hungry for desserts.

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Elia • December 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Small victories. Enjoy eating without worrying about what you eating, as long as you balance the junk food with healthy foods.

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Bright Angel • December 5, 2010 at 11:01 am

Hi, Re Addiction and Dessert
I’ve never been a low-carb person, but….if you’ve never read Gary Taubes, “Good Calories Bad Calories, you are missing out. It is a “hard read”,
and he has a new book coming out December 28, for those people who need less facts. (By the Way, I’ve already pre-ordered your book.) For an easier and more accessible way to some of those facts.
The amusing, entertaining, and informative documentary, “Fathead” just went free on Hulu.
It is fascinating, and I’d love to know your take on it. The address is:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879/fat-head

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DebraSY • December 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

You say, and I quote: “I was thinking of how disordered this way of thinking is, and how “normal” people probably don’t feel this way about dessert”

Normal!? Normal?! Is that realistic? Is there such a thing as NORMAL in a society in which our magazines feature photoshopped/airbrushed models in low cut jeans (which every year we are promised are going “out of style” but never do) on pages juxtaposed to cheesecake recipes, with illustrations that border on pornographic?

There is no NORMAL. I gave up on it and am much happier.

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victoria • December 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I think you’re totally normal. You can call yourself a “surgar addict” if you find that label helpful, but it’s just a label, and its only purpose would be to help you, so if it doesn’t seem useful don’t use it.

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MB • December 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm

You would be so proud of me. I totally skipped the whole turkey dinner and just went for dessert. Choc. cake, apple pie w/ice cream, peacan pie, a lemon square and 3 cups of coffee. I was buzzing for hours on the sugar and caffeine. Sugar really is my drug and I’m back in detox now. Happy Holidays!

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Lyn • December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

Late to the party on this one, but I would be the same way about dessert. In fact now I am all OH MY GOSH, OREOS and CREAM CHEESE??? omg omg! Must have!

But I won’t… ;)

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ellie • December 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

I don’t really think this is abnormal or disordered. I think that having these feelings at 2am when you aren’t even hungry and waking up to finish off the pie is a problem. Liking dessert and wanting to get right to it? That’s just appetite. Some people have more of one than others.

Just my opinion. Of course, I like dessert : )

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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