Monday, May 19, 2014

Recalculating.....


I did a keynote address recently in Lansing, MI,  a city I had traveled through literally thousands of times when I was living downstate and coming north each weekend, but I had only been IN a couple of times in my life. Traveling to a new place sometimes causes me some anxiety because I don’t like the feeling of “not knowing where I’m going.” A few years ago a friend gave me a GPS device in the effort to help me navigate around places unknown. I guess now they have them built in to smart phones, but I’m still figuring out how to use the phone to do basic things like make a phone call. I think at this point I make more “butt-dialed” calls than intentional ones! Sigh…….. Technology and Theresa do not make a dynamic duo.  With that being said, however, the GPS helps; that is, when I follow the directions and do what it tells me.

Even with the GPS, I still managed to get off course on more than one occasion. I haven’t quite figured out that when it says, “turn left in 200 feet,” that it typically means the next road. I have trouble figuring out the distance part and often miss my turn. Sometimes I just don’t trust that little piece of equipment to get me where I need to be, and for reasons unknown, I sometimes think I KNOW BETTER, even when it is obvious I don’t. So… I end up heading in the wrong direction and am greeted by those all-too-familiar words: Off Course; make U-turn in 200 feet.  When I don’t immediately respond and turn around, it begins to tell me, “Recalculating, recalculating”, as it proceeds to correct my error and find another way to get to my destination.  What an awesome feature.  If only EVERY situation in life came with a recalculating option, allowing us to fix the wrongs in our life and find another way when we go astray, but that isn’t always the case. I once read a quote that said, “There are three things that cannot be taken back: The moment after it’s missed; the word after it’s said; and the time after it’s wasted. Sometimes we just don’t get a do-over, but I’m grateful that our journey isn’t one of them! Our journey to wellness is one that often requires us to start over….again and again and again.  Thank God we get that opportunity and are gifted with a new day each morning.

I have been quite concerned in recent months because I have been struggling to maintain my weight even though I didn’t think I changed my eating habits in any way since beginning my journey. I still do not allow myself to eat sweets, chips or pretzels, or other treats….not even a single bite; and yet, I discovered yesterday when I got on the scale that I have put on 7 pounds over the winter…..and haven’t strayed off track in any way….or so I thought.  I kept blaming it on the lack of physical activity all winter because of the incredibly harsh conditions and the neuropathy that is causing me such difficulty. That, in and of itself, is a big factor.  I could come up with all kinds of excuses and reasons, but in reality, there must be some logical reason for what is going, and until this weekend when a group member posted a clip about what “200 calories” look likes, I couldn’t quite figure it out. After reading the information there….and doing some serious thinking/evaluating….I discovered that like my GPS reminds me when I went off track, it’s time for some SERIOUS RECALCULATING! 

So....Carrie’s post was a real eye-opener, especially the clip about Splenda artificial sweetener. I readily admit that Splenda can cause a lot of problems and I use WAY TOO MUCH of it, but I didn’t take those warnings as seriously as I should and continue to use it. What came as a big surprise, however, was the calorie count in Splenda.  Apparently, if a product has less than 5 calories in a serving, it can be listed as 0-calories or calorie-free.  This is the case with Splenda. There are 4 calories in a packet….but I don’t use the packets…. I keep it in my sugar canister and use it by the quarter-cup full.  There are close to 100 calories in a cup of Splenda.  WHAT???  YIKES!  I use at LEAST twice that much in the course of the day in my coffee alone, especially this winter when I started getting up at 3 a.m. or earlier each day to write and do homework. I drink twice as much coffee now than I did a year ago at this time; another bad habit that needs to be addressed in the future…but not now because it’s 3:30 a.m. and I just poured myself another cup.   Then, another scoop of Splenda in my oatmeal. I’ve also been eating a lot of butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and strawberries this winter, all sweetened up with Splenda.   A bit of RECALCULATING has revealed that I’m likely consuming a couple of hundred…..maybe more…calories a day that I wasn’t aware of.  That, coupled with my relaxed, “Certainly, at this stage in the game, Theresa, you can eat all the fruit and Greek yogurt you want” attitude, and lack of bike-riding/walking/gardening opportunities has enlightened me and shed light into my situation.  Thank you, GOD, for the RECALCULATING option in life!!!!!  Thank you, Carrie, for your post. 

So, in the coming days, I will be doing some serious recalculating and watching very carefully for the hidden calories in things I’ve been eating. Right off the back, I can see the same situation is likely true about the pack of sugar-free gum that I’ve been chewing each day. Other hidden culprits include the spray butter I used on my vegetables and popcorn and the fiber/calcium gummies I eat before bedtime. From day one of my journey, I had already calculated the calories in my sugar-free creamer for my coffee each day, but as I mentioned, I’m drinking at least twice as much coffee as I was; hence additional calories.  I’m guessing that as I do some reflection, I’ll discover that the 1600 or so calories that I thought I was consuming is probably more like 2000!  SO…..it’s time for Theresa to be a bit more careful…..and fortunately, it’s almost summer and I’ve already been walking and gardening and am much more active.  There is no doubt that those 7 pounds will be gone before 4th of July…with really only a few minor changes in behavior.  As I’ve mentioned many times….it’s a life-long battle!

So…I’ve already made some conscious choices and am cutting back on the Splenda. Will I give it up completely? Not likely at this point, but I did replace the half-cup scoop in the canister with a 1/3rd cup and have been cutting back. I’ll also likely be replacing the oatmeal with eggs or yogurt in the morning as the weather warms up and drinking less coffee, all cutting some calories. You can be assured that each time I use the spray butter, put a piece of sugar-free gum in my mouth, or reach for a pack of Splenda, I’ll be calculating the calories in my mind.

Today I encourage you to do some RECALCULATING in your own life. Have you gone off-track?  Have you missed your turn and need to turn around?  Do you need to re-evaluate your journey, habits, or relationships and make some changes?  If so, don’t be discouraged; don’t despair. God gives us a new opportunity each day and fortunately, we are abundantly blessed to know that even when we stray….or try to do things our own way, we have the opportunity to Recalculate and get back on the right path!


Make it a beautiful Monday today!