I was talking to a friend recently about my rewards based eating system. Staying home with Ellie all day proves to be pretty challenging at times. And to be standing on two feet at the end of the day, I think is worth having a “reward.” You know, a cookie, or two, or three. Or a bowl of ice cream, a donut, a candy bar, half a jar of peanut butter, or a box of snack cakes. Anything that has sugar in it. And as you may have guessed, my “reward” based eating turned into emotional eating (yes, I said emotional eating. It’s a real thing.) which then got out of hand, again.

There was no way Ellie was that difficult or I was that awesome of a dad to justify my many “rewards” I was getting. I was hiding boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes in my car, again. I was searching for Dairy Queen and Coldstone coupons online to justify an ice cream treat, again. I was picking up cookies three for a dollar (three for a dollar!) frequently at the local bakery, again. This behavior is not new for me at all. I did it before. And then I did it again. And now, well, here we are AGAIN.

What am I going to do about it this time though? Well, my friend suggested we give up sweets for three months. (Gasp!) Three months? Was she crazy? I gave up sweets for Lent one year and survived, but this would be twice as long. That just sounded absolutely crazy. But after a little thinking, I felt I needed to do something drastic. Something to shake things up and get me to be more moderate. To reprogram my inner system that automatically craves sweets to ease my nerves. So I agreed to this challenge on a few conditions.

The No Sweets Challenge would start on Monday January 23rd, the day after Ellie’s birthday (I couldn’t give up sweets on Ellie’s birthday, I was making cakeballs!) and it would extend through until Easter on April 8th. 76 days total of no sweets. And by no sweets, it means no sweets. No cookies, chocolates, ice cream, puddings, cakes, cheesecakes, donuts, pancakes goobered up with syrup, or anything remotely dessertish. (Gulp) Other than the start date, I still had a few exceptions.

One, there would need to be an allowance for Fat Tuesday. Part of me thought I should skip Fat Tuesday, but the more I thought about it, it wouldn’t be right. I had to have a paczki. It was Fat Tuesday!

I could just picture those people who don’t like sweets nibbling on a paczki that was sitting in the kitchen at work. They’d take a few bites, scrape out the delicious filling, complain it was too sweet and then throw the rest of it away. I could picture myself walking through an imaginary office seeing half eaten paczkis on people’s desks and them saying, “It’s too fattening, I can’t finish it.” Ahh, it’s FAT Tuesday people! I couldn’t stand the thought of it. It made my heart hurt.

This was a day when paczkis needed to be drooled over and savored. Not a day for some celery munching runner to have a few bites for the novelty of it. The paczkis needed me. I would participate in Fat Tuesday for their sake, not mine. But instead of going crazy and having six like I have had in years past, there would be a two paczki maximum. I’m just that committed to my cause.

When Aya heard about my No Sweets Challenge, she said, “You’re not going to have dessert with me on Valentine’s Day… My favorite day?” So that’s my second exception, one dessert on Valentine’s Day. I had no choice. Instead of 76 days sweet-less, it’ll be 74 days total. That’s still a lot of days. Especially for me. But with my blood turning into the consistency of chocolate pudding, I was ready and committed to this challenge, right?

My ultimate goal is that this will be a life changing journey. You know, like in those independent inspirational drama movies. Actually, it’ll just be nice to maybe make my “reward” something less addictive for me so I won’t be hiding Hostess cupcakes under the seat of my car like a drug smuggler. Plus, a good challenge is good every now and then.

I’ve made it almost through the first full week so far. I prepped for it though. Trust me; I got it all out of my system last week. Only 70 more days to go! Yay? I even got a few extra people to join the cause, to offer moral support or for their own reasons. One of which I understand already derailed after day one… sticky bun anyone?

Anybody else want to join in?

No? Just us few, huh?

Well, if you change your mind, I’ll be the cranky guy eating carrot sticks staring at you while you’re eating a donut. “Is that custard? Take another bite, slowly.”

Click here to read about Exception One: Valentine’s Day.
Click here to read about Exception Two: Fat Tuesday.
Click here to read the conclusion of the No Sweets Challenge.


  1. hmmmmm… really? only 2 paczkis on fat tues? i must say, i’m a little disappointed. thats YOUR day to shine!!!

  2. I tried to give up Doritos once… I sort of succeeded. I only bought them once in the past two years, but still partake if others make them available. I used tow have at least one bag in the pantry and two on deck in the basement pantry. Just in case I awoke to find myself in a The Road type setting.

  3. Good luck with your challenge, Matt. I am doing a 12-months-no-chocolate-challenge. My exception will be a nice chocolate cake on my b’day =)

  4. I just saw your no-sweets challenge. I’m in. I have a HUGE sweet tooth – the size of Texas! I think a little “detoxing” is in order.

  5. I know a friend that tried this and failed haha so i thought i would read a little about it and im going to try it. So bye bye cookies and cake for now!!

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