I’m not stupid, I know how food works. I know about the mix of protein, carbs and fat. I’m well aware of the dangers of sugar. I understand the average calorie requirement for a man…
And I try to eat healthily, I really do. Or at least I wake up every morning intending to. I don’t open my eyes at 6am and reach for the chocolate biscuits, instead I rise full of good intentions and empty of stomach.
And then at some point during the day, almost every day, something ends up on my plate, in my hand, in my mouth, that really shouldn’t be there. Whether it’s a chocolate biscuit or piece of cake (both of which are a constant feature of my working day) or a sandwich from the lunch van replacing the soup I have in the fridge, or even the pizza I accidentally buy on my way home because I can’t face cooking or only have 30 minutes to eat. It’s then that I tell myself the lie which leads to the behaviour that means I am still a stone heavier than I’d like to be…
The damage is done for today.
The earlier in the day it happens, the worse the result. If a colleague throws a croissant at me for breakfast then the rest of the day is a conveyor belt of biscuits and treats…after all the damage has been done already. If I succumb to pizza for tea you can bet it’s followed by the bag of mini eggs I also picked up because… if it’s pizza for tea the damage is done.
Working in charity I am constantly surrounded by my demons. On an average day before lunch I’ll be offered chocolate biscuits twice, a slice of victoria sponge and the opportunity to order from the chip shop. I manage to resist, then someone drops a raspberry shortbread on my desk in the afternoon…and the damage is done.
And once the damage is done, what’s the point in keeping up the pretence that I’m capable of healthy eating? Why not give up on the day, have the pizza, enjoy the mini eggs, take a hot chocolate to bed and plan to start that life changing healthy eating regime again tomorrow?
It’s a constant cycle of error and disappointment, except unlike constantly cycling it adds calories rather than burns them.
How do you avoid temptation? What’s the secret to staying healthy, even if it’s only 90% healthy? Can you enjoy a piece of cake without the day falling apart?!
I know where you’re coming from. I used to feel that way too – the day had to be perfect or, it wouldn’t count. And if the day was already ‘down the drain’, then I’d eat anything I wanted anyway I could always just ‘start again tomorrow’. And it’s a downward spiral.
Fortunately there was this friend who told me she took it one meal at a time. So if, for instance, she failed at lunch, she’d just jump right back on track by the next meal. In short, she wasn’t aiming for perfect. But every time she ate well she would give herself a star, and the goal was to get the most number of stars by the end of the day/week. This has worked for me too.
Actual stars? Hmm, I wonder if I should be thinking about doing something like that… That’s great advice though, taking it a meal at a time. I only write up my marathon training on the calendar a week at a time so why should I look at my food in terms of eternity?! Thanks :o)