The Importance of Being Honest

So I had another serious workout today, one that pushed me until I, no joke, thought I was going to drop my dumbbells and cry. I think my trainer up my weights on every exercise that I do, and added some complexity to some of them that I had down solid. So instead of balancing, I was balancing while she threw a ball at me. Instead of just doing my ball bridge raises and lowers, I did them with an elastic band around my knees while holding a 15 pound body bar.

At the end of our session, thisclose to crying, she took pity on me, and let me get away with 10 reps of my last exercise instead of 12. And then she said something awful to me…

“You did a great job.”

Because folks, I did not do a great job, and I knew it. And she knew it. So I manned up (ladied up?) and said, “You know, I actually feel like this was one of my weaker workouts. I know you upped the weights and everything today, but I also didn’t prepare myself for my workout.”

Because Sunday night, I didn’t get enough sleep or enough water. I didn’t drink water or eat anything before my workout, I pushed myself too hard in my warm-up, and I just had a crappy workout. And even though the bad workout felt…well…bad, it felt good that I could be honest with my trainer, tell her that I knew I was having a bad day, and talk through it with her.

She mentioned that she’s going on a cleanse for the next 30 days…no sugar, no booze, no processed foods. She says it helps to center her, and helps her feel like she’s in control during this season of excess.

I’m not quite going that far (with my birthday coming up, and a week planned staying with my family over Christmas, I won’t survive December without a little intoxication), but I am going to do a little giving up of my own.  Starting on Thursday, the fella and I are going to attempt No Dairy December. I’ve seen it written on a lot of blogs and in whole-foods based diet books that giving up dairy is even harder than giving up meat, cheese especially, because there’s something in it that is physically addictive. Your body craves it.

I’m not a doctor, and I won’t pretend like this is sound medical advice. It’s just an experiment, to see if I really do have dairy cravings. I suspect that I do, since I found myself standing in the open door of the refrigerator last week, taking a bite off a hunk of cheese I had in there (ugly but true, friends).

I will do my best to keep you guys updated on my successes and failures, no censoring. I know it’s going to be a long month.

What do you guys think about dairy addiction? Do you think I can go a whole month without cheese, ice cream, and milk? Have you ever made a dietary change in the spirit of experimentation?



  1. Call me a huge skeptic. You probably already knew I was.

    But dairy as addiction? Really? I mean, sure, I crave ice cream or cheese sometimes, but I also crave salt, chocolate, apples, and any number of other things. I believe our bodies are telling us they lack something when we have a craving — not that we should indulge every whim. But your trainer’s comment is spot on — she’s trying to control things because she feels out of control. It’s a psychological thing and it’s the flip side of the eating disorder coin.

    (I am not a psychologist or a doctor or a nutritionist… these are just my observations.)

    Everything in moderation, including moderation. I don’t eat an excessive amount of dairy products, and I see no problem with what I do eat — a little cheese, a little butter, skim milk in my coffee.

    1. I definitely get craving for specific foods too, and I’ve heard that a lot of cravings are for nutrients that people associate with specific foods…like if you’re craving red meat, you’re really looking for protein or iron, and if you eat something to get the nutrient, the craving will go away.

      But all this stuff on casomorphin addiction suggests that it’s more like craving a cigarette than salt.

      And like I said, just an experiment, to see if I do notice that I have specific cravings for it, and to see if I notice any other effects from cutting it out of my diet. If nothing happens positively on the nutrition side, at the very least, I can cut down my pizza ordering habit for a month 🙂

      1. I failed to mention earlier that I did try cutting out added sugar back in January, in the same vein of experimentation. Although I did not cut it out 100% (more like 85-90) and some people would probably say I “did it wrong”.

        Sugar’s never really been a “problem” for me (I don’t really crave sweets most of the time) but even so it didn’t have any real noticeable effects on my taste/craving.

        I *do* believe certain foods make us feel good in various ways. Carbs raise serotonin levels, for instance. I can believe that dairy products have similar effects on the brain. But I think calling this sort of thing an addiction is a stretch.

        (And I hadn’t read the article before, but I would like to note that I like butternut squash and brussels sprouts just fine and rarely cover my vegetables in cheese.)

        Food is political. The dairy industry has an agenda. The meat industries have agendas. And you better believe the vegans have a political agenda too.

        TL;DR: more power to you, really, I don’t mean to sound discouraging. But I’m gonna maintain some skepticism. 🙂

  2. Oh d-d-d-dear dear · · Reply

    The link referenced the HSUS. Credibility…DENIED.

    1. Yeah, the research seems to be a little spotty on it. And it’s definitely hard to find vegan and vegetarian sites that don’t have a soft spot for the fuzzy creatures in our world 🙂

      You know a little bit about dairy…any truth to the addictive properties of casomorphin?

  3. I don’t know about addiction either . . . I think ALL dairy’s received a bad rap in some circles. Certainly, both the mainstream and alternative health gurus agree that cheese has more negatives than positives. One of the issues I’m dealing w/ is that there’s two camps about the role of dairy in bone strength/health. But after much reflection, I can’t see the harm in moderate consumption (1-2 servings/day) of *skim* milk UNLESS you’re lactose intolerant or have other digestive issues w/ dairy. That said, I’ve become much more interested in vegan cooking and products because I’m trying to avoid the cheese as well as excess meat consumption. (And back to cheese: I agree that it’s the hardest food to give up . . . I found it much easier to drastically cut back on CHOCOLATE than on cheese when my cholesterol spiked!)

    1. Yeah, there’s definitely something about cheese that makes it difficult to cut out…it calls to me!

      One of the problems I have with milk is all of the conflicting information out there about it. I’ve heard all my life, basically, that skim milk was the way to go after about age 3, but now I’m hearing that in addition to the fat being taken out, a lot of the positive nutrients that milk has to offer are also removed when it’s processed down to skim or low-fat versions. I’m pretty much over to organic soymilk completely at this point. I don’t drink it straight and can’t taste the difference in cooking.

      I agree that with all the information out there, it doesn’t seem to be harmful to consume milk or other dairy products; I’m just not convinced that it’s helpful, either.

      1. I’m resisting the urge to quote Lewis Black extensively here, mostly because it’s profanity-laden 🙂

  4. […] I told you,I didn’t have a very good workout. I also told you I was doing a no-dairy experiment, and I’m getting some interesting feedback […]

  5. […] Just wanted to give you a quick update on how I’m doing dairy-free, a week in to my experiment. […]

  6. I wish you the best of luck as you try to keep dairy out of your diet this month. With my own diet experiment going on through the holidays, I can completely relate to how difficult it may be to do. While, I technically can have dairy if its from ethical sources – meaning not factory farmed – I will probably be mostly non-dairy this month also.

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