This week has put me to the test. I recently started a new project and there’s much to do which means I’m working remotely, getting home later and have a lot on my brain. My job is largely about using my creative brain, but it also includes managing other creatives, building schedules and overseeing the whole shebang. That means I need to find time to focus, to write, to ponder, in the midst of lots of moving parts. It’s also a time when eating on plan gets challenging.
Over the course of a few nights, I came home and there was no dinner prepared. Typically my husband and I trade off depending on who is busier. My oldest also pitches in and is an amazing cook. But this week, everyone was running in many directions. So there were a couple of nights when dinner wasn’t on plan, or I was so hungry, I ended up “treating” myself to some ice cream for dessert. Those moments are rare now, which is why the alarms went off. The thought patterns that used to ease me off of any weight loss plan in the past began just like this. A little slip here, a little slip there, and before you know it, I’m embracing old bad habits like it’s homecoming week. Perhaps you’ve heard these familiar words ringing in your head late at night as you hit the refrigerator…
“I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”
It wasn’t a loud declaration. More like a guy in a dark hat, under a street lamp, saying “Psst, come here. I got something’ to tell you.” Those words haven’t popped into my head in months, which leads me to another issue: I’ve gotten a bit cocky. Look at me! I’m 80 pounds lighter! Woo Hoo! So my little lizard brain begins to think I don’t have to be so vigilant. I don’t have much more to lose so what’s the big deal with having a little here or there? Yup, that’s how it starts.
I am not like several people I know who can have just a little when it comes to flour and sugar. Ice cream, cake, dessert of any kind? Nope, I cannot just have a little. I cannot be trusted to have just one serving. And with all of the good that has come with eating whole food, and staying off the powders, why would I even THINK of going back?
It all started a month ago when I got a nasty flu. Right after the holidays we had a family trip planned that I’d been looking forward to for months. The morning we were getting ready to leave I woke up miserable. Swollen eyes (a reaction to an antibiotic the doctor gave me the day before) and sinuses that were killing me. I was determined I would not miss this vacation. I was going to get my ass on that plane, and proceeded to take cold medicine to make it through the flight without blowing an ear drum. I ended up feeling better after a couple of days, but it hung on right up through this past week. Throughout, I had no appetite for salads. During our vacation, we were on an island where portions were small and vegetables were somewhat of an afterthought.
When we returned, my flu got worse, probably due to another plane ride and then I had to start on my new gig right after. My defenses were down, stress levels were up, and gradually came the slide into some grey areas. Nothing terrible, just enough for those old thoughts to start creeping in. Just enough to see the weight creep up a pound or two, and just enough to hear that old tune playing in my head, “I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”
I often get emails asking “Will I always have to eat this way in order to keep the weight off? Or will there be a time I can occasionally indulge in sweets?” My answer is “It all depends.” For me, I am pretty sure that all but an occasional indulgence will not be good for me, and even that I’m not so sure about. Once I get to my goal weight, my plan is to add back in starch more often, but in general flour and sugar, along with processed foods, will need to stay off the list. I believe we are all different as far as how sensitive we are and how impulsive we are. In many ways this new way of eating has been so much less stressful, I’d have to question why I’d ever want to go back.
Despite all the evidence that this way of eating works for me, it has quite literally healed me and gotten me to within range of my goal, sugar and flour can call out like an old long lost boyfriend. Normally I’m pretty bullet proof, but with defenses down, and not feeling well, I felt myself give way. And just like that old boyfriend who never treated you very well, when you go back to “just see” how things go, you feel worse after. You should know better, right? Sugar and flour like to make a booty call late in the evening. When has that ever been a good idea? When I do indulge, the stuff never really ever tastes as good, nor does it have magical powers to take the stress away.
So, my fellow BadAsses, there it is. I’m humble pie knowing that even after doing this for as long as I have, it’s still a practice and I’m not bullet proof. I can, however, forgive what happened, understand why it happened and shore up the lines of defense to stay the course. This week, I’m going to bed a little earlier. I vow not to binge watch any more Netflix. I will make time in my busy day to plan for dinner. And I will remember that the present is the only moment that matters right now. Not tomorrow. Right. Now.