Monday, April 23, 2012

Old habits die hard

An old college buddy visited for a long (though entirely too short) weekend. Even though we did a fair amount of physical activity (a challenging zipline/obstacle course one day, over 8 miles hiked another) we ate out a lot. Even though Kelly is a very health-minded person she was understandably in vacation-mode. Which was hard for me in a couple of ways. Sometimes I made the right choices, but then I felt like I might make her feel guilty for her's by comparison...or in order to not feel like I was acting "better than her" I would make an indulgent choice. Clearly, the answer is to make the right choice. A real friend, which she most certainly is, understands my food choices and is in fact quite proud of me.

It was very enlightening to realize in retrospect how much of our relationship in the past revolved around food...and how easy we find ourselves rationalizing our choices. I remember in the past (and sure enough, again this weekend) we'd both say "Well, we surely walked off so many calories walking around the mall, or hiking (etc) we totally deserve this (insert indulgent food here)."

I grew up having the same conversation with my mother and even just to myself. What I realize now is that my body doesn't "earn" indulgent food. I think, perhaps, I should view it as the opposite. My body earns, or deserves good food. Indulgent food is actually a punishment for it. Now, don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree there is nothing wrong with a little something-something outside your usual caloric/fat/whatever choices. But I need to make sure that that something is something I really want. And it needs to be indulged in really infrequently.

Through Saturday afternoon I had been making really good choices. We were at the mall and she suggested a Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel. I agreed and it was wonderful. I savored every bit of it. And had that been it, there would be nothing to feel guilty about. But of course we ended up going bowling that night, which led to bowling alley fries and the next you thing you know I'm having another burger and more fries for lunch the next day. By yesterday evening I felt like crap mentally and physically. Mostly mentally. I couldn't believe I'd let myself slip into those old habits.

But it's a new day. I'm proud of how many meals I didn't go whole-hog on, and in a bizarre way I am actually glad I feel so guilty about the bad choices I made. Because in the past I would not have felt bad at all. I'd just default to "Oh, I'll just start eating better later." or even worse and most likely, not even realize how very bad the choices even were. Looking up Point Values while out to eat continues to be such an eye opener to me. We played "What's the worse things you can order?" game several times and it never fails to blow my mind.

We went to breakfast this morning before I went to work and she headed for the airport. I made good choices and I'll be running at lunch today, just in case this evening gets too busy. I enjoyed my friend's visit immensely, but  my body and mind are ready to get back to routine.

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