I didn’t have a cookie last night. This is to say, I bought grain free cashew cookies (holy crap they were expensive) the other day and gave myself permission to have a cookie in the evening if I feel like it. If you’ve ever read my blog in the past you would know how I feel about sugar. One tiny taste and I’m catapulted down the rabbit hole and it takes weeks or months for me to pull myself together and clean up! Needless to say I was a little tentative when I bought the cookies but I felt that the enjoyment of a small cookie from time to time would be working with my desire to find and maintain balance. From a purely financial point of view I refuse to share these cookies with Ray and I wondered if that would trigger my instinct to guard food. My point is that why would I give him a $1.25 2” cookie when he can and chooses to eat whatever cookies or Halloween candy we have around whenever he feels like it. No, the $15 cookies are mine. The first night I sat down with my coffee and had a cookie. The next night I had another cookie with my coffee while watching television. Last night I didn’t, last night I had an orange with my coffee and then went to bed. I noticed last night that now that I’ve got these little cookies in the fridge and that I am permitting myself to have one (every night if I want), they aren’t controlling me. I don’t dream about them all day long at work and I don’t sneak eat them before Ray gets home.
I wondered this morning, have I never tried this? Have I never given myself permission to have a treat that fits into my life without destroying anything else that I have going? Not cheesecake every night or a handful of chocolates….but a cookie with evening coffee? Really? I’ve never done this? Have I never allowed “healthy”, “gym” and “fitness” to coexist with “treat” and “enjoyment”?? I don’t think I ever have. If I was in “enjoyment” mode then I was eating inappropriate treats too frequently and not doing anything considerable for exercise. If I was in “healthy/fitness” mode then every thought in my head and action in my life somehow was directed towards that.
Honestly? How exhausting! Like stomping on the gas pedal, right to the floor and lurching forward at rocket speed (hopefully without getting injured) and then slamming hard on the brakes to come to a complete standstill (hopefully without putting my head through the windshield) and then putting my foot to the floor again and expecting, no demanding, to be at maximum speed immediately. STOP! GO! STOP! GOOO!
Jesus Murphy, seriously, stop. Just stop.
I went to the gym on Wednesday and then again this morning. This morning was the first weights workout I’ve done since August. I’ve lost muscle. I’ve lost strength. I’ve lost definition. But, considering that I’ve found my balance and my sanity, I was able to remind myself that since there is no more STOP-GO-STOP-GO-STOP anymore, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if I lose 1 pound of my 15 every week. It doesn’t matter if it takes me two months (or three or four) to get back to lifting the weight that I was at previously. And during the time that I’ll be losing that weight and building that muscle I’ll also be eating a cookie and drinking red wine and lying in bed reading a book and putting my head in my dog’s warm, squishy neck and taking a nap. So will it all be slower? You bet. Will my results be different? Maybe. Will it be more enjoyable, less anxiety driven, more liveable? Hell yes.
I don’t really know how I did it before, how I would get myself all ramped up from nothing to everything over and over again. I do know that time and again I would become extremely frustrated because it always felt like I was starting again, like I never got anywhere, like I never could get any further than where I could get. It’s funny now, that I couldn’t see the flaw then. I would stomp on the gas for the same general duration and then hit the brakes. Stay stopped for around the same length of time while doing the same sort of things each time. And then stomp the gas again until I couldn’t anymore. And, surprise, I could never get any further. You’re shocked, right? I was. Often. Eventually the speed at which I was moving and the duration that I could keep going for were dramatically reduced until eventually I just ran out of fuel. I kept trying to stomp on the gas and nothing would happen. No go. Stalled.
Eventually, through much self-reflection and asking for help to a few different people, I’ve been able to put a new kind of fuel in the tank (peace, kindness, realism) and by gently feathering on the gas pedal I’ve gotten moving again. Gently. Slowly. Quietly.
Tonight we’re going to our favourite pub for dinner with Ray’s kids and then they’re coming back to our house to decorate our tree…with some drinks in hand. I thought about what I would eat at the pub. The trap with “balance” is that it’s easy to forget that sometimes you have to take things away to keep the equilibrium. I’ve been adding cookies and couch time to bring back my ability to have enjoyment while still being healthy….but in this case I need to take away some indulgence at dinner time. So….I will have a salmon salad at the pub (it’s so good anyway!) because lunch today was shepherd’s pie which was a bit heavy and we’ll be drinking which is extra intake as well. French fries and a bunless egg & chorizo burger would have been delicious….but this time it just doesn’t fit in. It’ll be there the next time around and when I do have it I’ll know that it’s because it fits. We’re doing our Christmas shopping this weekend and going to one of our favourite salad bars for lunch. We’ll also finish the decorating and I’ll do some cooking….of what I’m not quite sure yet.