Monday, April 7, 2014

Self-Control & the Giant Licorice Tub


So, I'm not going to lie.  Last week was a little rough as far as the whole 'eating healthy' thing goes, anyway.

I'd been doing pretty well-- I have my cheat days, of course, as those are still imperative, at least right now.  But, mostly it was one day a week (Saturday), or sometimes two (Saturday and Sunday).  I was even going to the gym-- in a 7 day period, I went 5 times, and went on a 3 mile hike on an additional day.  That had me being active 6 out of 7 days of the week.

I'd even been running on the treadmill at a 6.2 speed, which I hadn't done in forever-- if ever, actually.  I ran a mile in 10 minutes and 6 seconds, which granted, isn't that fabulous, but I hadn't done that since college.

Anyway, things were going well!  Until I twisted my ankle, and it was difficult to walk without pain, let alone run.  So, last week was unfortunately gym free.

Still, I was cooking! 

However, things took a turn for the worse when I walked into work on Monday morning and discovered, to my horror, that a co-worker who sometimes keeps candy on his desk had placed on the corner of his desk a shiny full five and a half pound tub of Red Vines.

Let me tell you a little something about me: I love Red Vines.  So, from the get go, I knew I was going to get my little paws on at least some of those delicious licorice treats.

At first, all was well-- I started out with 4 pieces, as single serving according to the Tub O' Plenty.  But, as the night progressed, things got much, much worse.  It was as though I was trapped on a desert island, and licorice was my way out.

I ate those little pieces.  I would always set out to be good-- to just grab one or two, but then I would go back after I shoved the previous licorice pieces in my mouth and chomped like a madwoman.

It was anarchy!  On Monday, I topped out at about 12 pieces of licorice, 3 times my original goal of 'one serving.'

And, for fear of having to buy my coworker a new tub o' licorice, I will refrain from telling you how many pieces, in all, I consumed. But, the rest of the week didn't see me eating much less licorice, until Thursday/Friday, when I was apparently licoriced out, and only had 2 pieces.

This weekend brought fast food by the fistful into my body, and though it wasn't intentional, I'm doing my best to not beat myself up about this-- or the licorice.

When it comes to two things, I really struggle with self-control. The first is shopping-- which is a different story for a different day.  And the second is, of course, eating.  I have been doing much better lately-- as a result of cooking more and eating out way, way less, I have nearly eliminated my previous intense cravings for junk food.

But, the fact remains: junk food is delicious, and if I make the decision to begin eating it, I have a difficult time stopping.  The licorice could just have easily been McDonald's fries, or something else that I really enjoy that isn't all that healthy for you.

These are things about myself which I am trying to reconcile--and, truthfully, I may never be able to do it.  All I can do is try.  I've grown leaps and bounds with the whole food thing.  In fact, I've eaten more healthy foods and vegetables in the past two months than I have in my entire life.  No, I'm not exaggerating.

As weird things are apt to do, the licorice thing got me thinking about all of this-- about how I have become much less of a slave to my cravings and poor eating habits.  Sure, they sneak in every once in awhile.  They likely always will.  But, for the most part, I am doing my best to silence them--and with weeks like the last one, it is this that I have to remember.

I've written about this before, but I have a tendency to beat myself up a bit a lot.  And when I have these failings, when I eat a significant portion of a 5.5 pound tub of licorice in one week and go on to eat Chinese food, pizza, and a burger & fries on the weekend of that same week, I have to be extra diligent to make sure that I don't allow that to derail me completely.  It's not hyperbole to say that in the past, that is exactly what would have happened.  I would have quit-- I would have said 'Obviously I can't do this,' and I would have gone back to my old ways.

But I didn't.  I woke up today and I broiled Cilantro Lime Chicken Breasts and made a Black Bean Salad from a cookbook dedicated to heart health.  And I'm currently sipping Starbucks Zen Green Tea as I write this.

So, yes, I may have lost the battle with the Giant Tub of Licorice from Hell.  But, I've told myself that I'm not going to lose the war. It's an important lesson for me, and it's one that I have to continue learning--we are bigger and better than our own failings. It is something that I have believed of others most of the time.  But, there's another aspect of it that is more difficult for me.

I am bigger and better than my own failings.  I need to learn and believe that.  I have confidence that I will-- and that I will win this war, that I will lower my blood pressure for the family I someday hope to have-- and for myself.

Sorry, 5.5 tub of Red Vines, but you're not going to get in the way of that.

New Page -- Cash's Corner, and more cooking shenanigans on the 'Food' tab for all those who're interested!

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