Monday, November 12, 2012

Zero to cupcake in a New York minute!

Hello!  My name is Leslie and I'm an addict!  My addiction began when I got to New York and was bombarded with constant images of cupcakes!  Cupcakes in cabs, cupcakes in magazines, cupcakes in restrooms, cupcakes in the subway, cupcakes in every deli case in every restaurant in the city.  Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes everywhere!  At first, I was able to resist my urge to devour every flavor in sight but somewhere between hospitalization and being forced to become a Bona Fide couch potato I gave in to my craving!

The first cupcake came from a burger joint down the street and was just "meh".  Completely unimpressed, even to my inexperienced cupcake palate, I thought, "Great!  I've eaten one, it wasn't good, so now I can begin obsessing about what I normally obsess about...what vegetable to eat next."  Then, last night after an early dinner and a weekend full of somewhat healthful eating, it happened again…the completely insatiable desire to have chocolate cake melting in my mouth amidst bites of sweet buttercream frosting.  The temptation overcame me!  I asked Gayland if we had any sweets in the pantry and thankfully, we did not.  I decided instead to pull out the freshly cut fruit from the fridge and devour it.  For some reason, it didn't do the trick!  

As I sat wondering what was going on with this constant OCD like behavior over NEEDING cupcakes, I decided to Google "Obsessive Thinking" and see if the experts had a way of helping me cope!  An article in Psychology Today led me to Dr. Robert London, an expert in taming obsessive thoughts.  The article spoke of a physics professor that had obsessive thoughts for years about being attacked by locusts (if only I were so lucky).  In a last ditch effort to get some relief; this woman went into treatment with Dr. London.  His treatment plan consisted of two cognitive techniques and behavior modification..."FINALLY,” I thought to myself, "Behavior modification.  Perhaps if I change positions on the couch (my current behavior) I can have relief from my obsessive thoughts on cupcakes."  So, I moved from the center cushion one cushion to the right....still obsessing!  Ok, on to the next treatment option..."Thought Stopping".  This treatment encourages the patient to imagine the distressful scene plaguing them on a movie screen playing out (for me, this scene includes devouring the cupcake in 1.2 seconds while watching my hips, butt and thighs grow exponentially at the same time) and in the midst of the scene, Dr. London hits a ruler on a table while screaming "STOP!"  The practice should interrupt the thought pattern and therefore help eliminate the obsessive thought.  What a brilliant idea!  Scream, “STOP” in mid-thought and the thought pattern is disturbed enough to end the obsession.  At this point, I was willing to try anything!  I decided to implement Dr. London’s strategy while watching the Bears play the Texans last night.  In the middle of the game, when the overwhelming thought of cupcakes engulfed my brain at just about 2:00 left in the third quarter, I screamed, "STOP!" at which point I scared the daylights out of Gayland.  Trying to explain this phenomenon, my obsession with cupcakes and how to stop the overwhelming thoughts in my brain, was like trying to explain to an alcoholic why going to the Taste of Denver might be a bad idea.  It didn't work!  If he did not think I was a complete fruitcake before, believe me knows I am now!

Jump ahead to lunch today where I'm feeling strong and refreshed after a night of behavior modification as we walk into the deli in our building!  Low and behold right in front of me sits the biggest, chocolaty, buttercreamiest with chocolate sprinkles on top, cupcake I've ever seen!  And just like a true addict, I order one before my lunch is even cooked!  Obviously, I needed to give cognitive therapy a try as the behavior modification didn’t work!  

With all angst over becoming gluttonous completely obliterated by the sight of this beauty, I hastily rushed back upstairs to eat my healthy Asian Chicken wrap just so I could engorge myself in this little…erm….OK LARGE, piece of deliciousness!  With one bite, I was toast!  It was like the cupcake chef used a special kind of heroine to keep the eater fully engaged the entire cupcake.  There is no way on earth I could have had just one bite!  This cupcake was the devil reincarnate sitting on our kitchen table and no matter how much the angel on my left shoulder was reminding me of my expanding waistline, I kept on eating until every last morsel was down that hatch which literally took less than 3 minutes!

Walking away from the plate being defeated by the sugar fairy yet again, I made Gayland promise that now we know HELL is downstairs in the form of multiple cupcake flavors, he is strictly prohibited from allowing me eat more than two in a seven-day period.  Where is the woman that trained for a half--IRONMAN in 114 degree heat a year ago with will power, guts and health square on her mind at all times???  Well, she's on a temporary leave of absence from all things reality in New York and to prove it, just look at the empty plate above!

The moral of the story is, no matter how much you think you can tame a cupcake craving in the cupcake capital of the world, you're only fooling yourself!

*In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, check out the article Dr. London wrote in Psychology Today from 2010:

**And in no way am I trying to minimize the seriousness of OCD, or any mental illness for that fact, as I know these a horrible medical conditions that are debilitating to those that are afflicted.  Please just take this post as my lame attempt at humor and self-therapy....