Project Revamp: Visions of Ice Cream

How's our Revamper doing now 10 days into her experiment? Just fine—except for those pesky ice cream dreams.

Here’s a question I’ve been mulling over for a few days: Does anyone actually want to live a sugar/dairy/alcohol-free lifestyle? There are countless reasons for doing so: Athletes eat clean to improve their performance, people with allergies avoid what makes them flare up, and others abstain for myriad personal reasons. But when its completely optional—a choice—who would prefer cantaloupe to a cupcake?? If such a person exists, I need a consultation, because last night I dreamed about coconut ice cream.

It wasn’t just that there was ice cream in the periphery, either. The entire dream was a hunt for this creamy delight, knowing fully that it was off-limits, and it ended when I got my hands on a bowl and started chowing down. (What does this mean?!)

All that to say: the revAMp is in full swing! I’m 10 days in now, and when I’m not being visited by the ghost of ice cream past, it’s actually going really well. Strength training is always the first thing to slip when my schedule gets busy and I don’t feel like working out, so recommitting to that has been a great change—and I feel myself getting stronger already. I’m attributing the energy I feel in these workouts to the major bump in protein I’ve been getting from eating more nuts and lean meat, but it could just be that I’m doing them more regularly. Either way, I’m feeling good in that department.

With the increased workouts and less filler in my diet, I’m hungry allllll the time, so I’ve been eating small meals every few hours. This is definitely a situation where being prepared makes a big difference; just cooking a few days’ worth of meals at the beginning of the week means you can grab a few good bites here and there instead of standing in front of the fridge looking for ingredients while eating spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar.

Another lesson learned: stay away from Pinterest food boards. It’s so easy to fall down that rabbit hole and spend 20 minutes oogling decadent treats, and then decide that you’re absolutely starving and have to make those chocolate-chip-cookie-Oreo-hot-fudge-brownie bars immediately. To combat this effect, you’ll want to limit your feed to pins related only to fitness, home décor, and puppies. That seems to solve the problem.

Thus far, being home and able to prepare my own food for the most part, this process has been relatively easy. Next week is when things will get interesting. It will be my first week on the road since I signed the contract, and I’m a little nervous. Hotel food is notoriously unhealthy—even the best options aren’t necessarily good for you. And don’t even get me started on airplane fare. I’m also traveling with someone who loves food even more than I do, and likes to dine rather than just eat. He treats each meal as an experience, and a standard dinner consists of at least three courses. Food has historically been a focus of our travels, looking for good restaurants and trying local specialties when we can, so my new plan is going to have an impact on him to an extent as well.

Keeping this good momentum as I head back out on the road will undoubtedly be a challenge, but I’m committed to seeing it through and making parts of this change permanent. There’s no better way to do that than to figure out how to incorporate it in to real life, right?


Abby McKenna, a management-training consultant living in Bryn Mawr, loves to bake and travels a lot for work. In June she signed a contract to revamp her health, fitness and eating habits in six weeks. She blogs every Thursday about her progress—and all the ups, downs, and in-betweens—right here on Be Well Philly. Catch up on the series here.