I hate writing this post, and the only reason I am is because I want you to know that we are ALL human, and we ALL do things that take us a little astray from our goals at times – no matter how motivated or disciplined or habitual we are about those goals. AND because I want you to know that building good habits (and knowledge) will help you immensely during those times
In the last 2 weeks we went on a trip to New Orleans, celebrated a 15 year wedding anniversary, celebrated the hubby’s birthday and tried to make the last week of summer fun for the kids – trip to the beach, a little extra ice cream here and there… and while I indulged a little more than normal, each time I did it was planned and on purpose. These plans included fried chicken, beer, pizza, fried shrimp, and more beer…) and I didn’t gain a single pound because I also kept up with my HABITS – my workouts, my other 5 meals each day that were very healthy, the healthy meals on the days we were not celebrating something…
My habits carried me through so that my chosen (and moderate) not so healthy treats would “do no harm”
But yesterday… nothing special… just a Saturday… not extra celebrating, not extra stressful, just another day. I went to the gym, had a great lunch, went to the grocery store where the “healthy living” aisle was 20% off… and I bought a bag of chocolate/toffee covered almonds for the kids and hubby, did some work when I got home… and then…
Something quite disturbing happened – it’s disturbing only because I didn’t seem to have any control over it – but it started innocently enough when I ate some of the almonds. And then I said “ok Debi, you worked hard all week to get to your goal, don’t let this stupid bag of candy ruin that – step away from the bag”… and I did… until an hour later when I ate some more. I shared them with the family hoping to get rid of them (thank goodness I am such a cheapskate and didn’t buy very much). Over the course of the evening though I had eaten the whole bag (minus whatever the rest of the family snuck). In 2.5 years this has not happened – I’ve eaten worse and a lot more of it, but never by anything but choice
WHAT I ate, and how much of it, isn’t the issue… what bothered me about it was the lack of control. I haven’t had a snickers bar in 3 years – by my choosing – but I just ate 2 snicker’s worth of almond candy – not on purpose. This could send me spiraling down a dark path, and I took a few steps in that direction. But then I looked over the habits I’ve built and reviewed my day:
I went to the gym (habit), and ate my normal gym breakfast (habit), had a great lunch (habit), went to the grocery store and bought good healthy ingredients for my meals at the ”healthy living” sale, and bought a bag of chocolate/toffee covered almonds (NOT a habit), adjusted my dinner to mostly chicken and veggies to balance the candy I’d eaten thus far (habit), finished off the bag of almonds (NOT a habit), ate a protein and fiber rich snack (habit) and went to bed.
Having followed MOST of my habits for the day probably saved me from too bad of consequences from that stupid bag of almonds/candy – I adjusted my meals to account for the extra and made sure to eat protein and veggies for extra nutrition. At the end of the day I probably actually stayed in calorie range and got plenty of protein – I know I got plenty of carbs and fat! And I may cut about 100 calories a day for a few days or tone down some treats I might have indulged in later in the week.
But what I did NOT do was starve myself the rest of the day. What I did NOT do was try to eat only 800 calories the next day… or week… What I did NOT do was get on the treadmill for 3 hours to burn it off. I need my regular amount of energy and nutrition so I can do my workouts thru the week. If I can’t get thru my workouts this week I’ll be even further behind – can you say spiral? I just jumped back in to my habits/routine right where I left off.
I am not, by any means, suggesting that you’ll arrive at your goal unscathed if you dive head first into a bag of m&ms… but rather that building your habits, living your habits, not only steers you toward your goals, it might just be the parking brake that keeps you from rolling backwards when life throws a bag of m&ms at you!
And for the record – I seem to be doing fine today – esp now that the candy almonds are all gone