Thursday, December 4, 2014

Is it worth "undoing" the damage?

HI everybody… It’s hard for me to comprehend how quickly time seems to pass this time of year. A week ago at this time (yes, at 4:00 a.m.), I was in a Meijer store downstate taking advantage of some of the awesome Thanksgiving Day sales that were advertised. I didn’t really want to be out shopping on Thanksgiving Day, but since I am an early riser, I was dressed and in and out of the store before anyone else in my sister’s household even woke up. The discounts were great and I ended up spending more money than I had planned, but managed to get a lot of gifts before returning home and getting back into my pajamas.

After dinner and dishes were done on Thanksgiving, my sister and I went out shopping for Black Friday and again, we both made a lot of purchases. The sales were great, but both Kelly and I readily admit that we came home with things that we weren’t even shopping for……just because……  Because why?  I can’t speak for her, but for me, it was the ‘hype” and advertising that made me believe that I needed to have this and couldn’t possibly live without ‘that.’ It was peer pressure…or really ‘stranger” pressure. When I saw someone else grabbing an item and people going crazy trying to snag something, I fell victim to the… “Well, if THAT person wants it, it MUST be a good deal…”  Because….. the excitement of the crowds, the sounds of the holiday music, the thrill of the tradition of ‘shopping till you drop.’ I succumbed to all of that….and as a result, I ended up with stuff I didn’t need or want.  Essentially, I, like an awful lot of people, fell victim to EMOTIONAL SHOPPING…..very much like I/we do with emotional eating.

This week, I began the process of “undoing” the results of that emotional shopping by returning many of the items that were purchased in the middle of the night, when I was tired, excited, and not thinking very clearly and ended up purchasing things I didn’t want/need/or intend to buy.  Fortunately, I had saved the receipts and Kohl’s is pretty good about returns, but still, it required an hour of my time after a long day at work, a trip to Mt. Pleasant (45 minutes away from where I live), and the hassle of waiting in line, digging through a pile of receipts in my purse, and an unnecessary trip to the store.  I have items to return to Meijer and Macy’s as well, but have yet to go there. I live 1 ½ hours away from Macy’s and need to return items purchased online…what are the odds that those items will make it back to the store? Judging from the lines at Customer Service, and the amount of time I waited on the phone for Macy’s to answer my call yesterday, there are others like me that are ‘undoing the damage” of some emotional Black Friday shopping! I’ll likely end up keeping….and paying for things…I shouldn’t have bought in the first place….very much like those extra pounds that we gained but never got around to losing because it was too much hassle or work.

All week I have been thinking about all the time we spend trying to “do it over” or “undo” things we wish we hadn’t done; take back things we wish we hadn’t said; or make up for things we wish we hadn’t eaten.  Sigh…….Perhaps you are trying to make up for the extra calories you ate this past week that you wish you hadn’t.  Like those things I purchased in the middle of the night, it seemed worth it at the time, but now….well, now, you have to ‘undo” the damage. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy to negate the effects of a late night binge or weekend of partying. Fortunately, though…..IT ISN’T THE END OF THE WORLD…..and every day you get a new change to start all over and start again. It just takes more work and effort.  If I had just been strong and made good choices on Black Friday, I would have avoided the return trip to the store and had an extra couple of hours in the evening to do whatever. I COULD have said NO the first time…..but I didn’t…..and therefore, I have two choices: Keep the ‘stuff” I didn’t want and pay the bill when it arrives OR return the items, recognize that I gave into emotional shopping, and vow to make better choices in the future. You might be in the same situation…. You ate it….perhaps you enjoyed it…and now you have two choices….try to avoid doing it again and work extra hard to get back on track.

We do this ‘dance’ every day, don’t we?  Our weight loss journey (really any life-changing journey) is often a ‘two-step’s forward, one step back” process. We lose a few pounds, we hit a plateau; we lose another few pounds; we give into temptation and have a gain….and so forth.  This time of year is difficult and we might find ourselves doing the ‘up and down dance” because we give in to emotional eating….or simply because we choose to take a break and enjoy the festivities and the treats that often accompany them. I’m certainly not going to judge your choices any more than I would want you to judge my Black Friday purchases. If my sister would have said, “What are you buying THAT for….you don’t NEED another scarf…. That’s ugly; you don’t want that, do you” when we were shopping, I would have likely wanted it even more. I don’t like to be told what to do…do you?  Doesn’t it make it worse when someone takes something from your hand and tells you, “You’re not going to eat THAT are you” or “You can’t HAVE that”?  Even though the person is probably right and is trying to help, it ultimately comes down to me making the decision….FOR MYSELF….about what to eat; what to buy; what to do. Our journey is about each of us making choices….all day long….about what is right for us, but also about paying the consequences for those choices.  Sometimes the consequences are worth it; sometimes the action can be ‘undone” with minimal efforts; but more often than not, we’re left with regret, extra pounds, and stuff we don’t need or want.  Why?  Because we gave in to emotional eating, shopping, drinking….outbursts….WHATEVER.  Sometimes, however, it can’t be undone and we don’t’ get an opportunity to ‘do it over” or take back our words.

This week I am going to try to be more conscious of the choices I make AND the emotions behind them. I’m also going to recognize that there are some things that cannot be undone…words that cannot be taken back; opportunities to help that I have not responded to; and moments that I’ll never have again. More importantly, however, I am going try to be more conscious of my choices so that I don’t have to “undo” the damage or suffer the consequences of a choice I later regret. Mostly, I am going to give thanks to God for the gift of a new day and the opportunity I get each morning to ‘do over” and “do better” today than yesterday.  We can return items to the store that we don’t want and we can ‘work off” or negate the results of a binge….but it certainly is easier to make the right choice the first time around. I’m going to ask myself…. “Do I REALLY want it? Do I REALLY need it” first….instead of later.

Have a good day today!