Saturday, October 4, 2014

I can...but choose not to

Happy Saturday Morning!  It is 5 a.m. and I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and spending some quiet time for a short while this morning before getting ready to make the trip to my cousin’s wedding downstate. The wedding reception is being held in a tent at a resort on Lake Michigan in South Haven. Unfortunately, the weather is calling for rain and strong winds all day with temperatures in the 40’s, so it doesn’t sound like that aspect of the day will be too pleasant. Hopefully, though, the forecast will be wrong; if not, then I will have to adapt to it and ‘deal with it.”  After all, the weather is one of those things over which I have no control. Worrying about it, fretting about it, or in any other way allowing it to ruin the celebration planned for today is really just a waste of energy.  Planning for it, on the other hand, is going to be necessary so I’m likely to adjust my wardrobe choice a couple of times before I actually leave the house in a couple of hours!
Planning to keep on track for this weekend celebration is a priority for me. Like the weather, I cannot control what will be served at the reception. I can, however, control my own eating habits, both there and while in the hotel, and any meals I’ll eat on the road.  Planning ahead is critical for my journey. I have already packed a large bag of “keep-on-track” options.  I have a plastic Ziploc with portioned out oatmeal ready to go in the microwave for breakfast tomorrow morning.  I have a package of kettle corn rice cake snacks in case I get the late-night munchies.  I have my sugar-free vanilla creamer and a small container of sugar-free, vinaigrette salad dressing to tuck into my purse in case salad is served tonight. My bag also contains assorted pieces of fruit, a couple of protein/fiber bars….just in case….and oh yes….a small personal size watermelon!  Watermelon season is just about over so I want to enjoy every opportunity I can to enjoy my favorite treat. I’d rather go back to my room and eat watermelon than eat a piece of wedding cake! Knowing that I have that option will make it much easier to make good choices at the reception.

Could I, at this point, simply say, “You’ve come so far, Theresa….you’ve kept the weight off for over a year now….certainly you can take a weekend off plan to celebrate a wedding, right?”  YES…ABSOLUTELY…. I could; BUT, why would I?  Why would I want to take the risk of going completely out of control for a couple of days…and then struggle to try to find my way back next week when I know that I’m going to be traveling again next week?  Why would I want to take that chance….when I have managed to go 3 ½ years without a slip?  I am addicted to food. I am an emotional eater.  I probably could/would control myself….but why risk it?  To me, it would be like a recovering alcoholic saying, “I’ve been sober for 3 years now, so I’m sure I could go to a wedding and just drink for one night. No harm in that, right?”  Or a smoker saying “I haven’t had a cigarette in over a year; I’m just going to smoke one-a-day from now on.”  Could he/she do it?  I don’t know…but why even put oneself in that situation?  I’ve never struggled with drugs/alcohol/nicotine so I really don’t know about that, but I do know that if I ate a French fry or stopped to McDonald’s on the way to the wedding, it would be much easier to do it again on the way home. It’s a slippery slope, one that I can choose NOT to go near. If I were stranded somewhere for several days without food and had no other choice but to eat what was available or starve, that would be a different story; but I’m not…and I have other options…BECAUSE I’M PLANNING AHEAD….so there is no need (at least in MY thinking) to go off track.
I realize that moderation is the key for many.  I know and believe that FOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY; it is merely that fuel our body needs to function.  I know that most people don’t share my mind-set and/or have the stubborn-bullheaded-determination that I have somehow managed to develop, and that is perfectly okay by me. I am NOT, under any circumstances, suggesting that those of you that are on a weight loss journey must think like I do. I have never said that my way is right or the only path to success. Each person must develop his/her own thoughts and find his/her own path to success. I am merely sharing how I’ve managed to lose and keep the weight off  thus far; how I’m planning to stay on track this weekend…and beyond; and how I prepare for those special occasions and holidays that are always going to be a part of our lives. Your journey is just that… YOUR journey…and in order for it to be life-long, it must one in which you can stay on….for life. Whether you eat wedding cake or not is up to you to decide; not me.

Remember, no matter what circumstances we encounter, we ALWAYS have a choice….not about whether it rains on a wedding day; not whether we encounter a traffic a jam on the highway; not about what will be served at a party….BUT….how we REACT to those things over which we have no control. I have the mind-set that, “YES, I certainly CAN eat whatever I want….I just CHOOSE not to!”  That way, I’ll feel in control and not deprived, because you know what, the taste of wedding cake, even if it is decadent, will last only for a short while. The results of being in control and making good choices will be evident forever.  Choose wisely today and have a beautiful weekend.