Maybe you’ve heard that I fell off the wagon. Maybe you read my post declaring the end to my journey. If you know me, you know that one bad weekend isn’t going to deter me from reaching my goals. I hope you picked up on my April Fool’s prank before becoming too alarmed. There’s always bad traffic, and as educators we occasionally have some troubling classes. I’m still on track, though, and no Cadbury Creme eggs were harmed (by me) this Easter.
I want to be serious here for a moment. Please, please, please don’t ever give up. In my fantasy meltdown, I started out in a sour mood because it was Monday. Traffic added extra pressure to the situation. A bad day at work put me at my breaking point. A torn pair of pants set me over the edge. Each of these stressors alone would be manageable. Taken together, in one day, they sent me out of control.
Tell me this: How does making poor eating choices “fix” any of the above problems?
“Giving up” only serves to make matters worse. If I stop going to the gym, I’ll be more stressed when Mondays roll around because my body isn’t in good shape. While recovering from my gallbladder removal, I noticed a palpable change in my mood which I attribute to not getting physical exercise.
Will relinquishing control over my diet make my pants fit any better? Hardly! Letting go will require I go buy an entirely new wardrobe in a size that I just donated to Goodwill. That’s not going to happen.
Sometimes when we’re emotionally wiped out, food appeals to us. If there’s one thing that I learned from watching Golden Girls, it’s that cheesecake fixes everything. Except, it doesn’t. Cheesecake makes us temporarily numb to the problem. Solving the problem fixes the problem. Eating cheesecake just makes more problems.
Let me tell you about my friend, Amy. When I was in college, Amy was my “Ambien Friend.” Amy would occasionally get voices in her head that would tell her to do bad things to herself. Her doctor prescribed Ambien, a sleep aid, and told her to take a particular dose, distract herself until the pills kicked in, and sleep it off. The pills didn’t “fix” Amy’s voices, but they did keep her from doing harm to herself. Being Amy’s “Ambien Friend,” I was the person Amy would call when she had taken her Ambien but wasn’t yet asleep. I talked to her, distracted her, and comforted her on the phone until she was out.
I tell you about Amy because she’s a great model. She had compulsions to do things that were not in her best interest. Rather than succumb, Amy had a plan in place for when those compulsions kicked in. Do you have a plan for when your compulsions kick in? Do you have a “Cheesecake Crisis” friend who will talk you off the ledge? You probably don’t, but maybe you should.
Giving up on making healthy food and exercise choices is rarely in your best interest. I encourage you to make contingency plans now for when that bad day happens. Know who you’ll call. Know what you’ll do. Sometimes pulling the car over and shouting out the stress is necessary. For me, I get considerable release from my stressors at the gym. Whatever healthy resolutions work for you, make sure you have plans in place on days when you feel like giving up.