How I successfully tamed the "Naschkatze"

"Naschkatze" is German, the literal translation is "a cat which eats sweets" and it is an expression for people with a sweet tooth - just like my own past-self ;) Since the subject came up in Angelina Pe's recent posting, I thought, I might explain how I got rid of this habit... or rather how I managed to get it into healthy limits.

Like I said, my past-self really was the epitome of a "Naschkatze". I loved (and still love) sweets, I loved to eat alot of them and I loved to eat them quickly, once I got my hands on them. Whenever I went to the supermarket or the gas station, it was very likely that I would buy at least a chocolate bar or two, just to eat them right after leaving the building. When I went back home after work in summer, I got myself a ball of ice cream or two almost every day. I bought some sweets to bring back home several times per week. And whenever something sweet entered our home, it would definitely get eaten and digested withing the next 48 hours at maximum... no matter how much it was. For years and decades I accepted this as part of my character. I was a "Naschkatze", and thus I couldn't do but doing "Naschkatze"-things.

But throughout the last five years, my nutritional habits slowly started to change. The first important milestone was back in 2014. My wife and I were on a short weekend trip at the Northern Sea. Being born in this area, I always liked to eat fresh fish, while almost eating no salad and vegetables at all, apart from few exceptions.... my wife on the other hand loved vegies, but never ate any fish at all - just a matter of taste, as we thought. Well, on that trip we made a deal: She would go to a fish restaurant with me and in exchange I would eat the salad that came with my dish. On this day a little miracle happened: Since we both approached this deal with a uniquely positive mindset, I really enjoyed the salad and my wife enjoyed the fish, thus amplifying our culinary spectrum for all times to come! :D It still took many years untill I finally fixed the "Naschkatze"-issue, but this weekend set the ground for all further changes by showing me that dietary preferences are not set in stone.

I will quickly go over the next milesones, since they are not that important for the specific subject. In August 2018 we got ourselves a new kitchen and decided to make this a restart. From that point on we greatly reduced the amount of fastfood and instead started to make it a habit to cook our lunch together. And in November 2018 I realized that I had to learn more about nutrition and become more conscious of the scientific background, in order to progress on my health and fitness journey, that I decided to focus on two months earlier.

But at this point I was still a "Naschkatze". Whenever I got some delicious sweets into my hands, I ate them right where I stood. To keep this within reasonable limits, I saw just one solution: Since I couldn't controll sweets at all, I completely stopped buying them, so we never had any sweet supplies at home. When my wife told me, she really wanted to eat something in particular, we went and got it, and when we got something as a present, that was also okay, but apart from that, I restricted myself strictly. And when one of these exceptions appeared, the particular sweets did not survive any longer than 48 hours at the maximum, no matter how much it was. In the beginning, this restriction was very hard for me to commit to. Whenever I was at the supermarket, I had to actively surpress the urge to just grab something out of the sweets shelves. But I knew that it was possible to change eating habits and as time went by, I managed to get by with it more easiely, untill I reached a point where I felt like I could keep it up in the long term.

That was still the status quo in early 2019, probably around February or March, when my wife got a package of truely delicious chocolates as a present. Instead of keeping them for herself, she said that she wanted to share them with me... but just one piece per day! To me that sounded pretty horrible, since I was never able to ration sweets and such little portions actually felt very unsatisfactory to me. But I didn't want to refuse her offer, and neither did I want to break the rules under which she was willing to share her present. So for the first time in decades I ate sweets against my accustomed habit and I actually managed to keep it up untill the package was empty, which was three or four weeks all in all. And during these weeks the "Naschkatze" miraculously got tamed! I got used to the smaller portions, and due to the limited amount that was availible, I learned to focus on the taste and the experience more than ever, and I came to a point where I was not just completely satisfied with my one piece of chocolate per day, but didn't even consider bigger portions anymore.

Since I didn't completely trust in the change back then, we repeated the same process a while later with another present from my mother in law. And it worked just as fine again! So from that point on, I ended my old restriction and just bought something sweet, whenever my wife or I felt like it, just to eat it in small daily amounts of maximum enjoyment... sometimes that's a piece of chocolate, sometimes a small bowel of chips, sometimes five or six gummibears. No matter what it is, now it feels absolutely normal to me to eat my small daily ration, which I enjoy much more intensely than the big loads I used to gulp down in the past. And by limiting the amount of these treats, I can eat alot more of the delicious healthy stuff that fuels my body for my fitness journey, my job and all other challenges of the day. :)

Of course that's just an anecdotal story. But at least it is what worked for me and probably it also is a little motivation for others who consider changing their habits. If you want to, just give it a try and see if it works for you, too! And now it's time to show some love to the "Naschkatze"! :D