Don't Let's Call It a Diet

On not buying donuts

I really love a good donut.

There’s something so satisfying about their fatty sweetness.

I haven’t had one in a long time, and I’m not exactly tempted, but as I get "clean" I am realizing what an important role they played in my life.

My now-retired therapist, in a conversation about moderation, said to me, "The problem isn’t one donut, it’s six at a time."

Considering that I can count on the fingers of one finger the only time I ever ate six donuts at a sitting, I knew that while she meant well and might be right in theory, for me she was wrong in practice. I am five feet tall, and little people such as myself simply cannot afford much in the way of donut frequency.

And I believe, looking back on my life over the past few years, that I was fueling myself on donuts. On the way to work, in too much of a hurry to fix breakfast first? Pick up coffee and a glazed stick (which once was known as a glazed cruller) at Dunkin’ Donuts.  Feeling fretful on a Tuesday afternoon or uninspired when it’s time to settle down to the sermon on Saturday morning? Swing by Tony’s and pick up some molasses glazed. Coming home late after a meeting, with a long ride ahead and no dinner in the tummy? Hit the drive-thru for some mind-altering comfort food.

It’s not that I can never have such a thing again. After all, armed with the so-called "nutritional" information, I can determine the Points in a donut and eat it and stay on program.

A glazed stick has 8. I get 22 points per day. Just sayin’. It’s a lot of points. Could it possibly be worth it? I’ve spent 6 on a Chocolate Chip Muffie at Panera. I’ve done it more than once. Maybe thrice. But I doubt I’ll do it again. It just wasn’t worth it in terms of fullness.

Because it’s all about the fullness, I realize. A full enough stomach helps a person forget who they are missing or what they are lacking or how poorly they are really caring for themselves. The right amount of doughy heat in the belly grounds the anxious person like weights on a hot air balloon.

Except that it doesn’t, really.

I still have those times when meals have been postponed by work, when I’m missing my husband, when the sermon awaits, when the daughter disputes my value as a human being, when the world seems impossibly cruel and my belly feels utterly empty. I’ve learned to make other choices, and by that I don’t mean carrot sticks. I’ve figured out substitutes that take off the edge without derailing the changes I am making in my life.

I wish I could simply never feel any of those things again, that the big bed upstairs didn’t seem so empty and that soft words might be spoken rather than typed in a little box. But the solution is not to be impervious. The solution is to be accepting of the feelings, and caring toward myself. And I haven’t had a day in the last four months when the answer appeared to be a donut.

28 thoughts on “On not buying donuts”

  1. wow. excellent…”I haven’t had a day in the last four months when a donut was the answer…” I hope you continue to find all kinds of ways to feed and fill yourself in the most satisfying of ways!

  2. I need to be more self-disciplined, that’s for sure.
    I have been avoiding those custard-filled bismarks though. (they are probably off the scale)

  3. It is all about the fullness. And the donuts lie. They expand us, but they do not fill us.
    (my personal weakness is glazed buttermilk donuts and glazed cake donuts. Haven’t had one in months. Working on losing my 2 year heart attack inducing stress belly. You have been a great inspiration. Thank you.)

  4. Oh, I love this post. Do I say that sort of thing too often?
    I do, mind you, find myself wanting to respond that part of the problem is that donuts are just so damned big. I wish that donut holes were more common.

  5. Alas, you are right, but I am still dreaming of the 4 mini donuts I ate last week, FRESH at the farm where I went apple picking. They were delicious, and very mini. 😀

  6. Those empty feeling holes are just never filled by donuts, are they? It’s a nice temporary fix for sure, but at what cost to our spirits? You hit the nail on the head when you said that a full tummy (full of real nutritional food) helps us handle the desire and need to fill the hole with sugar. I am so proud for you Songbird, so very proud. You SO “get it.”

  7. Ice cream used to be my doughnut. It is amazing, isn’t it, how you just don’t want it all the much after a while. I know what it’s like wanting to fill the space created by missing someone. My sweet husband, with his ADHD, can be right beside me physically but a million miles away mentally sometimes. And ice cream doesn’t fix that.

  8. Confession time. I tried to fill the “my children are away and the house is too quiet” kind of empty with powdered sugar donuts on Saturday night. I started that ‘habit’ years ago when Rosemary was little and first had to have overnight visits with her dad. It was almost a compulsion. I haven’t had any of those donuts in months. They tasted yummy, but you are right, they could not fill the emptiness.

  9. You continue to be one of the smartest people I virtually know. I have been working triple overtime most of my life to Be Impervious. Dammit.

  10. this is so true.
    I have to second the donut hole thing, though. I am perfectly capable of eating just one donut hole, getting the taste of glaze and yeast that I want, and not eating more (especially if I can then give away the rest in the package!). Sadly, I’m less capable of doing that with chocolate. Except sweets are not what I reach for to fill emptiness–it’s mexican food. Sounds bizarre, but was one of my mother’s specialties. Since I’ll never eat hers again, I often try to fill that space with inferior (and not-as-good-for-you) versions. It never works.

  11. “Because it’s all about the fullness, I realize. A full enough stomach helps a person forget who they are missing or what they are lacking or how poorly they are really caring for themselves.”
    once again you’ve got me crying.
    Gonna post this on the fridge.
    thanks.

  12. What a wonderful post! Very insightful. And yes, those of us around the 5.0 mark need to be extra careful. It sucks but its the reality. There just no where for it to go but out and around. 🙂

  13. By the way, I’m with Katharine. Ice cream was my donut. I don’t want it as much as I used to but every once in awhile, its such a treat. I think I replaced all that with warm tea. Its cozy. Not filling, just cozy.

  14. Believe me, I have loved the ice cream, too. I’ve managed to apportion it appropriately with teeny little Weight Watchers desserts, just as I’ve adapted to a 3 point muffin and a 2 point bagel. It’s the donuts that just do not make the transition. And that’s okay. That’s okay.

  15. Wow – the donut gets the comments like armadillos do.
    Really, you don’t get your comments just for the donuts – it’s who you are – and you are so loved.
    My donut? Ice cream……
    When I have overdosed on donuts, they really make me feel sick – ice cream never does that to me.
    It’s really not about the donut is it….

  16. OK, so I read somewhere that a donut has a lot less calories than a bagel so occasonially I allow myself one donut, from the cart outside of my office-on the street- where I get my iced coffee with one sugar and one equal. But I admire you. A lot.

  17. “Because it’s all about the fullness, I realize. A full enough stomach helps a person forget who they are missing or what they are lacking or how poorly they are really caring for themselves. The right amount of doughy heat in the belly grounds the anxious person like weights on a hot air balloon.
    Except that it doesn’t, really.”
    Oh man. That is so dead on. Oh oh oh.

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