The Wuss Who Took Half a Donut: How I Avoid Eating Office Donuts

donut(Trigger Warning: this post could be triggering to those who have had experience with eating disorders.)

Every Wednesday morning, come hell or high water, there are treats beckoning to me at the office, looking all soft and sweet and eatable. In my department, we take turns bringing treats every Wednesday. Ninety-five percent of the time, it’s donuts. Each person has their favorite international chain, grocery store, local shop, or convenience store that they bring donuts from. And most people generously bring enough for each person in the department to have not just one, but two donuts.

I usually eat zero donuts. Sometimes I’ll take half a donut. I did that on my first week working here (almost six years ago!) and one coworker took a look at the box and said “who’s the wuss who took half a donut?”

I love donuts—don’t get me wrong. But I believe they’re unhealthy because of the sugar and refined flour content, and that they shouldn’t be a regular part of my diet. I still eat them, but mainly on special occasions. Besides—there are so many other delicious sweet treats in the world! Scones, cookies, pies, pastries! I’d rather save my sugar allotment for something more interesting than have the same treat week after week.

Still, I mean, they’re donuts. They are tempting. So I have a weapon that I use to fight the temptation.

The Anti-Donut

Keep an anti-donut at your desk at work, or take one with you on treat days (if yours are scheduled like mine are). An anti-donut is something that’s a treat for you, but is still healthy—or at least better than a donut. It works best if you only eat it on days when you would otherwise reach for the donuts, or whatever treat it is that you want to avoid. If you eat your anti-donut whenever you feel like it, then it won’t have as much power to counteract donuts.

My anti-donut has been apple pie Larabars for a while now because they’re tasty but have no added sugar or heavily-processed ingredients.

Eat a Bigger Breakfast

It has occurred to me only recently that another good way to avoid the Wednesday morning donuts is to eat a nice big breakfast so I won’t be hungry when I’m confronted with treats. I need to be better about this all the time (I just don’t feel that hungry first thing in the morning), but especially on Wednesdays.

All Donuts are Not Created Equal

Another strategy for cutting back on your sugar intake is to research the different types of donut and go to the treat box with a game plan. A single butternut donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, is 410 calories and 33 grams of sugar, while their French Kruller is 260 calories and 10 grams of sugar. A simple rule of thumb is: raised is less bad than cake, when it comes to donuts.

Fifty Percent Less Sugar!

If you just can’t resist the donut, maybe you have the willpower to have just half a donut. I do this sometimes, but I’m what Gretchen Rubin calls a “moderator”: I have the ability to allow myself a little bit of something without getting into trouble. On the other hand, some people are “abstainers” who find it easier to write their vices off once and for all instead of making daily decisions about whether or not to indulge. If that sounds like you, better to avoid the donuts altogether.

Anti-Beer

I’ve been using the anti-donut concept to drink less beer lately, too. For a long time, I was in the habit of popping open a beer every day when I got home from work. So when I decided to cut that down to two days per week, it helped to have an anti-beer to reach for on the abstaining days. I found that sparkling water is bubbly and refreshing and feels like a little bit of a treat, and it has virtually nothing in the way of unhealthy ingredients.

Do you use an anti-donut? Do you use this strategy to avoid some other temptation?

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Year In Review: 2013

2013 Juliet beer foil

January
I don’t know why i waited a whole year to talk about last NYE. It’s not even worth mentioning, but i said i would. We had the party with our friends here at our house. People were falling asleep before midnight. And that’s pretty much all i remember about it.

In January i read The Night Circus, and it changed my life. It ignited a passion for fiction that’s carrying on into 2014, and i imagine well beyond.

February
In February we went to Colorado to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday. We visited Celestial Seasonings, Oskar Blues, and a bar that was tapping Pliny The Younger. That’s right, we had PTY on tap. And we also got to have it side-by-side with the Elder. Huge difference. It was amazing.

Hop slam at El Bait
Also, we had a pour of Hop Slam at El Bait Shop.

March
I think it was in March that i quit sleeping in on the weekends. I thought it was pretty great. We got more done on the weekends and getting up in the morning seemed a little easier. I also went to a Barre/Pilates class a few times on Saturday mornings, and it was a kick-butt class that i liked a lot. But sleeping in just feels so good, i eventually went back to that instead. Maybe i’ll try again in 2014…

April
We had some sort of fun party, but i can’t remember why. Later i went out with my friends Emily and Sara to celebrate their golden birthday. Someone mistook us for high school kids, so that was pretty encouraging.

May
In May it snowed! That was crazy. I took my mom to see The Great Gatsby on Mother’s day. We both loved it. And i re-read the book and that was also dreamy and great.

June
In June we made the 3.5-hour trek to Decorah to celebrate both our two-year wedding anniversary and the exclusive release of Toppling Goliath’s fabulous Kentucky Brunch stout. We drank beer at 7:30 in the morning. Later, we met up with my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my nephew. A few of the aforementioned may have been there just to be warm bodies, but i also had a lot of fun hanging out with them. Each person present was eligible to buy a bottle of the coveted beer, and Nathan and i had arrived just early enough to also be invited to buy a second bottle apiece. People were passing open bottles of rare beers around the taproom. It was a really fun experience, and i hope the timing will be this good for us again in 2014.

July
In July we went to an Independence Day party at my cousin’s lovely new house out in the west. I played volleyball in my dress and drank Bud Light and watched the kiddies play on many-colored scooters in the street. It was great except for the very big kid trying desperately to sound cool during the fireworks show. Oh well, it was worth enduring his incessant talking for the great view.

80/35 also happened in July. Dancing along with Yeasayer was super fun. I like that band very very much.

Later in the month, Nathan and i went to Chicago and stayed at a friend’s condo, which was great. We went to The Publican for the second time, had some tasty Korean food, hit up some bottle shops, and went to the Pitchfork music festival. We decided to go to the Animal Body Worlds exhibit at the museum before the concert, so we only wound up seeing two acts: Joanna Newsom and Bjork. Those were the only two i really cared about anyhow. And because we’d been to the museum earlier in the day, i recognized the Tesla coil Bjork was using to create some of the booming bass notes in her songs. ROCK.

August
In August we had my ‘90s-themed birthday party. It was wonderful. We had two TVs set up in the living room with N64 on the flat-screen and Super Nintendo on the old CRT. We made Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch cupcakes and ate all manner of nostalgic junk food: Gushers, Cool Ranch Doritos, Frappuccinos, Pop Rocks, Jones Soda, Pizza Rolls, Jell-o shots… Several people got stomach aches. I also found a box of Polly Pockets and Little Mermaid dolls in the basement that i didn’t know i still had. I’m so glad Nathan had the idea for this party. It was perfect.

The '90s party group

We went to the fair on my actual birthday. I don’t know why i’ve never done that before. On my birthday, i mean. It was a great way to spend the day, since it fell in the middle of the week this year. At the end of the month i took a couple of girlfriends to see Geographer with me, and i was gratified that they enjoyed the show almost as much as i did. What a good band.

September
In September Grandpa died, and i already wrote about how much that sucked, and how seeing my siblings at least made it a little better. We managed to still have Nathan’s birthday celebration, though, which was a gastronomic dream featuring delectable cheeses, delicious pork products, and of course many rare and wonderful beers. Stouts, to be precise.

Bodhi feeding a giraffe
At the zoo with Bodhi and Amy

We also went to a cabin in Minnesota with a group of our friends at the end of September. It was a welcome release from the stress that had been building up all summer for me. Nathan and i celebrated five years together over—what else?—a lovely rare cherry stout. I wanted to stay at that cabin indefinitely, even though the plumbing situation was a little sketchy.

Every day i'm puzzlin'
We got really into the puzzles.

October
I don’t think we did a lot in October. Drank pumpkin beers… I carved a pumpkin with my girlfriends… We went to a Halloween party dressed as Washed-Up Batman (Nathan) and the host of the party (me)—who, by the way, was a large redheaded man. They didn’t get what i was at first, but once they were told they enjoyed the little details i’d put into it: his wrist tattoo, a pocket knife, an orange beard, Nathan’s jeans, etc. It was fun.

My jack o' lantern

November
In November i surprised myself by doing NaNoWriMo. And finishing! But i still just feel like what i wrote is very short and very stupid. I hope that some day i’ll come up with a story worth telling. I plan to try again next year.

Nathan cooked Thanksgiving dinner for four with very little help from me. It was a really wonderful meal.

Nathan's thanksgiving dinner

December
This month we’ve been spending a lot of time with friends and family, which is what the holidays are all about. We went to California early in the month to see my grandparents. I got them to tell me some stories about how they met and what their first jobs were like and about my great grandfather, who shares a few pretty prominent traits with Katniss’s dad. He had two daughters, he worked as a coal miner, he liked to practice archery, and he had a vegetable garden. Makes me want to try archery even more than i (and every other female in the country) already wanted to.

We also hit a few breweries while we were in California, and i had one of the best meals of my life in a place that didn’t even have chairs (The Lost Abbey). The beer, called Duck Duck Gooze, was expensive, and the food, from a truck called Devilicious, was cheap, and everything was fantastically delicious. I had a pork belly sandwich and parmesan truffle fries that blew my mind.


Here’s to another great year. Cheers!

Playing Catchup

I got sick of that WordPress theme, so i switched to the most generic default one available. That ought to motivate me to get off my butt (or on it, really) and design a new one. Ugh, maybe.

I really need to write more often. I feel like nothing much happens in my life and yet there’s so much that i find i ought to have written about when i take a long break.

I saw The Great Gatsby. And then i read it for the second time.
I took my mom to see the movie for Mother’s Day. I read the book in high school but i couldn’t really remember much of anything about it. I think we powered through it in just a few days and i vaguely recall being left scratching my head.

Great Gatsby poster

I really like Baz Luhrman’s movies and his style, and i thought The Great Gatsby was a perfect story for him to tell. Nobody could’ve done a better movie rendition of it, if you ask me. It was spectacular, romantic, tragic, well-cast for the most part (i could’ve done without Toby Maguire, but i just don’t like him much in general), and possibly the most enjoyable movie i’ve seen since The Hobbit (Part 1 of Eleventyhundred). It inspired me to re-read the book, and this time i loved it. Fitzgerald truly was an artist, and it’s such a pleasure to read a book that’s written with so much skill and passion. It’s not the most epic story ever told but it’s just told so well. Truly an American classic.

We went to Decorah for a weekend.
To celebrate our second anniversary and to procure a particularly excellent and rare beer, we drove 3.5 hours each way up to Decorah, Iowa, and spent two nights at a charming bed & breakfast there. Decorah, by the way, is a perfectly beautiful little place. My brother drove an even longer way for the aforementioned beer; he met us at Toppling Goliath on Saturday for the event, which was crowded but well organized and turned out really well for us because Nathan and i got our numbers early enough in the morning (7:20 a.m.!!) that we were able to garner a second bottle each. People were passing around rare beers to sample just for fun, and i had a good time visiting with my family and discovering lovely new beers. After lunch that day we walked out to what is probably Iowa’s only waterfall, and it was a very pretty sight to see. (Photos courtesy of Nathan.)

Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout by Toppling Goliath
Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout by Toppling Goliath

Did you know that Iowa has a waterfall?!
Did you know that Iowa has a waterfall?!

Nathan went to Seattle for a long weekend
And i was kind of lonely i missed the poop out of him. This was the longest we’d been apart since probably our second date, and being without him was totally alien and wrong to me. I went out Friday evening with a couple of girlfriends and then i was mostly at home working on a logo for a family member the rest of the weekend, but i went to my grandpa’s house for a couple hours of people time both evenings. I do not like living alone one bit, even with a dog. Does that mean i’m actually an extrovert? I prefer to be around people for at least 2/3 of every day (working alone at home wasn’t so bad).

I got stressed out about food and then remembered Michael Pollan.
All the low-fat / gluten-free / low-calorie / paleo / clean / vegan / sugarphobic / locavore / sustainable / organic / good calories, bad calories / moderation / best-body / health-obsessed food talk that pops up seemingly everywhere was starting to make me feel guilty every time i put something in my mouth, and so i bought In Defense of Food and have started reading that to try to get back to a place where food is not a tool or an enemy or a sin but above all things a pleasure. And even reading this is kind of wearying, because it says a lot of the same stuff that Nourishing Traditions and Why We Get Fat say about how the Western diet is terrible for people’s health (yeah, duh), but i think the difference will come in the latter half of the book where Pollan presents an eater’s manifesto. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. And as long as you can tell the difference between actual food and laboratory-created foodlike substances, that’s all he says you really need to do. No worrying. I’ve hardly ever worried about food in my life except for when i was a vegetarian, and i don’t plan to allow it to become a habit.