Every Monday seems to bring in a new wave of exhaustion, the impending doom of the work week, and a sweeping declaration that this will be the week I commit to giving up dessert.

Yet, every Friday, I tell myself there’s always next week. Why is my failure so consistent? Eating “healthier” by simply eliminating desserts shouldn’t be so difficult. In my countless attempts to swear off sweets in college, here are some things I’ve had to combat and come to terms with.

1. The dining hall will always put out dessert.


Photo by Irene Kim

Sadly, it is one of the only things I look forward to seeing. Just because I’ve sworn off desserts doesn’t mean the entire school is also forbidden to indulge in them. But it does mean I have to activate willpower to resist the temptation.

When the dining hall serves an unsatisfactory dinner but puts out chocolate torte and lemon bars, it seems like a waste not to at least have one… Or three.

2. Dessert is my go-to reward.


Photo by Irene Kim

I do well on a test. I go on a run. I get through another lecture without falling asleep. I should obviously reward myself by getting ice cream. When anything can be turned into something that deserves a sweet reward, it’s easy to make a habit of rewarding yourself for just getting through the day.

3. Dessert is my go-to condolence. 


Photo by Flickr user lombarke

I often tell myself that I deserve chocolate simply because I’ve had a bad day, and it will make me feel better. Usually the opposite is true. After the fleeting happiness the taste provides, I feel worse because I gave in. I failed to stick to my declaration, yet again.

4. I need to change my mindset.


Photo by Emily Breay

I’ve found that this habit of eliminating and failing each week is not only unsustainable — it’s unhealthy.

Previously, if I gave in by having a square of chocolate, I would consider the entire week “ruined” and eat three more chocolate squares and a cookie. This is not how it has to work. I am the only person making the rules and the only person who can enforce them, so I shouldn’t consider a day lost if I give into one temptation.

Temptations in college are everywhere, especially for someone like me for who thinks dessert is essential part of every meal.  I’ve found it possible, however, to slowly cut back by changing my mindset. I’ve learned to find new rewards and healthier favorites in the dining halls.

I no longer make a sweeping declaration to swear off sweets every Monday. Instead, I make it a goal to pick healthier options at each meal and make my indulgences a scarcity. I enjoy dessert too much to swear it off indefinitely, but I’m learning to live with my sweet tooth as a college student.