Friday, August 10, 2012
There is an important difference between telling yourself that you ‘deserve’ to eat something and making a conscious choice that you can ‘afford’ to eat something.
I have only been on this journey for a month. In that month, I have exercised every day, drank 8 glasses of water every day, and stayed within or darn close to the calorie range every day. I have met every single goal for myself for the month every day. I have read health articles, chatted on boards, written blogs and encouraged others. In short, I feel I have done the work as well as I could at this point in my journey.
Recently, I was faced with a challenge. My hubs and I went on a day trip and he took me to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I found myself faced with a choice. I could choose to try and stay within my calorie range or I could just ‘blow it’. I knew that I had done a great job for an entire month and did not want to undo all the hard work. But something surprising happened. I didn’t find myself thinking, “I deserve it. I’ve been a good girl. Time to celebrate!” Instead, I found myself thinking, “I’ve done well with all my goals. My calories have been on the low end all week and my fitness minutes are up there. This is a journey that will take a long time. One meal will not derail me. I can afford this. It’s ok to enjoy an occasional outing without restricting myself to a specific calorie limit.” So, I made a conscious decision to allow myself to enjoy some foods I haven’t had in a while.
I didn’t go crazy. I had one plate. I took smaller portions than in the past. I had no way of getting all the actual calorie and nutritional info, but instead of skipping the tracking, I used the closest approximates I could find on SP and logged everything when we got home. Everything. I think that was important. I wanted to see how a meal like that could add up. I wanted to be accountable for what I had eaten and not allow myself to ‘hide the facts’.
Sure, I went over on calories. I knew I would. I made that choice. But I was still in control. I was not eating from emotion. I did not binge. I feel like I have made important progress in this unexpected way. I can have occasional meals or treats and not ‘fall off the wagon’. The day after the outing, I was right back on track-eating within the range, exercising a little extra to help offset the outing, drinking water and…not feeling guilty! If you let emotions rule your eating you will always judge yourself as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ depending on what you have eaten and then feel guilty when you have been ‘bad’. When you do the work and then make a conscious decision to ‘allow’ the occasional treat, there is nothing to feel guilty over. Wow. I hadn’t even been aware that I had been doing that to myself.
I am proud of the healthy habits I am forming and the progress I am making physically and emotionally. I will continue to do the work because…quitting is not an option.