Friday, November 26, 2010

Old Habits

It happens to all of us.  

We're doing so well, feeling so great.  We've made positive changes in our lives, and have seen the results.  In our heads, we know how much better off we are now.  When we think back, we remember how miserable we used to be - the places we didn't go, the things we didn't (or couldn't) do.  We can't even imagine how we used to live like that.  Now, we can do anything we want: it's an amazing and refreshing change, and we know how much better off we are.  In our heads, that is.

For the most part, it's in our hearts, too.  We feel better in our new bodies, in our new mindsets.  We have new energy, new spirit, a new lease on life.  We remember how sick we were, how embarrassed, insecure, and incompetent we felt.  Now, we're invigorated, and this definitely feels better.  We don't know how we ever allowed ourselves to get that bad, and we know we'll never be like that again.

But then life happens.  

It could be when we're celebrating a special moment, or when we're mourning a loss.  It could be for absolutely no reason at all, or for a bunch of little reasons that individually would have no effect, but together they bring us back.  Back to old times, old feelings, and yes ... old habits.  Not just any old habits, but old bad habits.  That includes not just the things we did, but the way we felt about it, and what that made us think about ourselves.

So here's my confession: it's happening now.  I'm sure there were a lot of contributing factors: I've been getting sick, I'm exhausted, I've been working a lot of really long hours, I've got a lot on my mind.  I guess it's been building for a bit.  And then it was Thanksgiving.  I've never liked turkey, so for me, Thanksgiving dinner has always been all about the sides.  And the desserts.  Lots of them.  Years ago, we actually used serving platters for each individual place setting,  and still went back for seconds.  (I used to tell people, "I come from a very large family - there aren't many of us in it, but we're a very large family!")  

In my healthy years, I've often advised people that the problem with Thanksgiving isn't the dinner itself.  The problem comes when "dinner" goes all day long, and continues through the next day, the weekend, and on to the next week (or longer).  I encourage people to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, but to let it be one meal, rather than one month.  If we're really ambitious, we could even make a (mostly) healthy dinner, and just indulge in a few bites of dessert.

But this time around, I just didn't want to do that.  Maybe it's because I didn't feel well.  Maybe it's because I was tired.  Maybe it's because ... I don't know.  And the reason doesn't really matter that much.  The fact remains I didn't want to do that yesterday.  I wanted everything.  And I still do.  I made a conscious decision to go to the store to buy things I knew I shouldn't have.  When my husband and I were looking at various desserts to decide which one to get, I chose to get both (ok, I chose to get all four).  What I said to him was "we can throw the rest out after the weekend, but today I want them."  So we got them.  And we ate them.

Now today is Friday, and I still want them.  I haven't worked out in a week because of the hours and the cough/cold, and I just want a lazy day to do nothing, go nowhere, and eat whatever I want.  But I don't want to go back to my old ways, either.  I don't want to go back to looking, feeling, or thinking the way I used to.  So I've got to find a way to reconcile what I want with what I don't want, and I think I've figured it out. 

If I force myself to throw everything out now and exercise, I know that I'd feel better.  But I also know that I'd still be thinking about what I wanted and didn't get to have today.  I'd feel deprived, and that is never a good thing.  If I keep it around (even just through the weekend, like I originally told my husband), I'll eat more than I want to, and will set the ball rolling in a dangerous direction that will be a lot more difficult to reverse.

So I'm giving myself today.  Yesterday was the day it all came together: the build up, the shopping, the decisions, the thoughts, the expectations, the memories ... so yesterday I had what I wanted but I don't feel like I got to really enjoy it.  Today, I'm going to do that.  I didn't have to get up early to take care of anything, and I don't have anything else that must be done today.  I still have the full weekend after this to do the obligatory things like laundry, food shopping, etc., and I am looking forward to getting back to my workout tomorrow.

But I'm giving myself today.  No restrictions, no obligations, no guilt, and no carryover into tomorrow.  I've been so busy with so much lately, and I need a lazy day.  So I'm taking it.  I'm going to do a whole lot of nothing, and snuggle with my husband when he gets home from work.  I'm not even getting out of my pajamas all day.  I'm going to eat leftover stuffing, potatoes, and pie, and I'm going to like it.  And before I go to bed, I'm going to get rid of the leftovers. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to work out in the morning.  After a nice breakfast, I'll do some healthy food shopping.   When I'm feeling good about getting back to what I know makes me think and feel better, I'll write something else here to let you know it worked.

Thanksgiving was loaded.  I am thankful for today ... and looking forward to tomorrow.

If you like what you read, tell a friend!  Actually, tell me too - post a comment below!!  If not, well ... I'm all for honesty, but please be gentle!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes we just want what we want and shouldn't fight it. I know you want to be healthy and happy and HOT. ;) And I also know you don't want to lead yourself (and Mike) down a path of unhealthy behaviors. So I know you threw that stuff out and you were happy to do it. Here's to a new day and a new attitude!

    Love you,

    Julie :)