Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Year Without Poutine

As you’re all well aware, I filled this past year with self-imposed challenges, regarding both my health and fitness.  I gave myself goals to reach on the scales.  I forced myself out of my comfort zone by making myself work out on a daily basis, and even further by teaching myself to run.  I emptied my home of junk food and only treated myself with it occasionally.  I challenged myself to find healthy foods that I loved.

I took part in a squat challenge, an arms & legs challenge, a 20-week TurboFire schedule, the Couch to 5K app which led to running the Army Run 5K, and of course my “30 Before 30 Project” (which eventually became the “50 Before 30 Project”); among many other little challenges throughout the year.  And I’m so proud of what I was able to accomplish with all of them.

But there was one little quest that I gave myself that I’m extremely proud to say I accomplished.

And that is the fact that I went one whole year without even having a bite of poutine.


Truthfully, this was a challenge that I didn’t even realize I was in the middle of until half-way through the summer.  I don’t know when exactly it was that I realized I hadn’t had a poutine since starting my journey on January 7th, 2013, but it was probably when I was standing at one of the local chipstands, trying to decide if I should go the whole 9 yards with treating myself and ordering one.

Golden French fries topped with either shredded mozzarella cheese or plump white cheese curds, and then smothered in rich gravy.   It’s a delicacy that was created in my home province of Quebec and has now become a wide-spread food phenomenon.

Some might call it “Heart Attack on a Plate”. 

I prefer to call it heaven-sent deliciousness.


I really don’t know when my love for poutine was born, because even though I live in The Land of Poutine Lovers, I actually grew up in a no-poutine household.  My parents hated  poutine.  To this day, my mom still curls up her nose at it, and questions why I like it so much.

Don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t mean we were super-healthy-eaters or anything.  Chipstand junk was a treat around here, for sure.  Nothing delighted me more than my dad out-of-the-blue suggesting we order “a mess of stuff from Mae’s”.  Pogos, Egg Rolls, Onion Rings, Pizza Fingers… 

But not poutine.   I definitely wasn’t born and raised on poutine.  I probably wasn’t introduced to it as early as many young Quebecers, just because my parents weren’t fans of it.

Somewhere along the way, though, I discovered it.  And boy oh boy, it was gooood.

I remember saving my baby-sitting money as a young teen and begging my dad to drive me to the chipstand so that I could have one.  I ate poutine every chance I got.  Then I went to work as a waitress at a local restaurant, and thus I literally had poutine at my fingertips, far too often.  I ate it as much as I possibly could, and usually as a side-dish for a cheeseburger or chicken burger or chicken fingers or cheese sticks, or…something else deep-fried and really really not good for me.


Indeed, the poutine, and many many years of its consumption, can largely be blamed for my desperate need to lose weight one year ago.

Really, though, I didn’t set out to go a whole year without it.  At least not at the beginning.  Aside from Lent, when I gave up French fries completely, I didn’t consciously avoid poutine until the year was half-over.  I did make an effort to order salad as a side more often, but I didn’t immediately set out to boycott the poutine entirely.

Like I said, I was probably standing at McCann Chips one warm summer day, deliberating whether or not I should go the whole way and really treat myself, when I realized… Holy crap.  I don’t think I’ve had a taste of poutine since I started trying to eat healthier this year.

And then, it tweaked in my brain.  The idea. 

The Challenge. 

I wonder if I could go a whole year without having even one bite??

So I did it.  I made a pledge to myself that I would stay away from it at all costs.

And I was successful.

I promised myself that if I was successful, I would treat myself to a great big one when the year was up.

But here’s where the even bigger triumph comes in.  See, I was SO good at avoiding poutine, that, wouldn’t ya know it, I kind of ended up forgetting about it altogether.  So much so that I went almost the whole month of January 2014 without even realizing that I had accomplished my goal.

I went one whole year without eating poutine.  And it only dawned on my late last week that I had done it.

Needless to say, while I didn’t exactly have a stellar weekend with food choices, I have yet to treat myself to my “reward” for my whole year without poutine.  I honestly don’t know when I last had one, but I’d say I can now safely say I’ve gone at least 13 months without the gooey, cheesy, deep-fried goodness, and I haven’t yet had my treat.

And that means The Challenge has been sparked even more in me.  How long CAN I take this??  Could I go into the summer without it?  Possibly another whole year??

If I was drooling – literally salivatingdying for a taste, I’m pretty sure I’d be off to the nearest diner and ordering one today.  After all, I did promise myself that reward if I was successful.

But the truth is, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t even really missed it.  Not even one tiny little bit.

If I get a massive urge, I’m not afraid to treat myself to one.  I’m not going to vow to never touch poutine again, because that would just be silly.

That being said, I don’t feel like I was missing out all year long by not having one. 

So maybe, at the end of the day, it really wasn’t something I needed in my life to begin with…?  Who knew.

One whole year without poutine = check!!


Stacie said...

They say it takes 40 days to make or break a habit, you definitely know you can do that now!

VandyJ said...

For an indulgence, poutine is good. We have one restaurant here that serves it, but the rest of the restaurant is not so good. We don't go often.
Good for you for resisting to the point of forgetting.

Nicole said...

I can say I've still never tried it. You may have to give in if I ever make it up that way :)

Sheena said...

Great work Jill. Poutine was never in our household either. I think the first time I tried it was probably sometime at the fair when I was old enough to walk around with my friends and not have to check in every hour. Truthfully it's a nice treat...but I don't ever crave it. No one truly needs poutine lol.

Emmy said...

Woohoo!! They say that as your change your diet to a healthier one that after time your taste buds do change and you don't crave and sometimes don't even like the unhealthy things as much.