My relationship with ice cream

I love ice cream.

I don’t think that puts me in the minority of humans. What’s not to love about ice cream? It’s creamy. It’s sweet. It’s delicious!

I’m including gelato under the “ice cream” label, even though I like it more than ice cream. It’s smoother, and usually not as sweet, which I would imagine is true because it’s retaining its European roots, and it seems to me that Americans prefer their foods too sweet.

My father was in the US Air Force, so I spent more than half of my school years living in Europe. England when I was very young, for first and second grades, and Germany when I was older, junior high (what’s usually called “middle school” now) and high school.

Because of all the time I spent in Europe as a youth, I developed less of a sweet tooth than other people I know, because, when I was a kid, anyway, Europeans made their sweet pastries with a lot less sugar than Americans do. A German cake, for example, was very enjoyable to me, because ingredients other than sugar shone through.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy sweets in the good ol’ USA. I do! Keep me away from Cinnabon! But I am very conscious of how sweet foods are, and often find desserts to be cloyingly so, usually leaving large pieces my plate.

Why am I talking about sweets in general and ice cream/gelato specifically? Because I’m just finishing week two of my Noom program, and, while I’m not struggling much with dining choices — the psychology behind Noom really works for me — my love of ice cream often tries to torpedo my fitness goals.

If I’m in Southtown here in San Antonio, there’s no question I’m stopping by my favorite frozen dessert shop, South Alamode. If I’m at Central Market, which is walking distance from me, so I shop there often, I’m confronted with a gelato shop as I walk into the place. That’s not to mention all the gelato in the freezer section. Oh, and, dammit, I’ve discovered the most amazing ice cream bar, Magnum White, which is white-chocolate covered vanilla bean ice cream. So good! I get those at Target, also walking distance from me.

Side Note: On the plus side, I often walk to those places, so I get some steps in, but don’t forget about the myth of walking off calories!

One of the great things about the Noom program is that there are no food restrictions. I can at whatever I want!

Now, I do have to log everything I eat. And there is a calorie budget. And foods are classified from best to worst as Green, Yellow, and Red.

And if you guessed ice cream and gelato are Red, you’re right.

So it’s really a matter of budgeting calories to get my gelato.

But … I fail. In two weeks on Noom, I’ve busted way through my calorie budget three times. And every time it was because of frozen desserts.

Sure, I could deny myself those treats, as I did for many years earlier in my life.

But, you know, what? I’m 60 years old now, and, goddamit, if I want some gelato, I’m going to have some gelato!

So while I tend to eat it too often, in what I consider a compulsive way, I will continue to eat ice cream and gelato, because I love it, and I don’t have enough time left on this Earth to deny myself the simple pleasure of a scoop or two — okay, never fewer than two — of deliciously creamy gelato.

Plus, even with those overeating failures, I am still down five pounds on Noom,

Yup, I am down from exactly 195 to exactly 190 — have to say “exactly” these days, because these new-fangled digital scales give weight in tenths of a pound — in two weeks. My waist size is shrinking, too!

Five pounds in two weeks is a great pace, so maybe I’m not failing at all, eh?

The fact is, while I may not be curbing my frozen dessert intake as much as I’d like to, I am also eating more Green foods than I have in a quite some time.

A couple days ago I had a sweet potato (Green) with some cooked lentils (Yellow) as a meal. That normally would have been lentils and and some kind of white flour baked good, like naan (Red) or a bagel (Red). And it likely would have had butter (Red) on it.

I’ve dined out and opted for a salad, when I normally would have selected an entree that was more calorically dense. And I enjoyed it!

And I’ve flat out avoided some foods. For example, I have eschewed the delicous (and gluten-free, btw) desserts at my favorite restaurant, 5 Points Local, because they don’t fit into my calorie budget.

I’ll be honest, though. Am I going to go to the best Mexican restaurant in the San Antonio area, El Chaparral, and not have cheese enchiladas? No! But will I eat fewer corn chips? Also, no. But will I go there less often? Yes!

All of these dietary changes are because I’m more conscious of what I’m eating, and I can thank Noom for that.

I’d like to restrict ice cream and gelato consumption more than I do, and I believe the psychological approach Noom is taking with me will allow me to do that at some point, but for right now I’m going to continue my current consumption level and enjoy my frozen desserts!