As I opened my eyes this morning, and rolled over to look at the clock, I thought to myself, “10 more minutes”. That’s how much longer I had until the music would begin playing to wake me up. I closed my eyes and faded off to sleep. When the music finally began to play, I reached over and hit the “snooze” button. “Just a few more minutes,” I thought to myself.
I stayed up late the night before and I was tired. When the alarm went off again, and the music began to play, I reluctantly threw back the covers and sat up. I could not afford to hit the snooze button again. I had to get up.
As I entered the kitchen, and turned on the lights, I saw the leftover birthday cake on the counter. My son had turned eight yesterday and we had celebrated the evening the way he requested. Hot dogs, chips, fruit & pop for dinner, with cake and ice cream for dessert. Not necessarily on my “healthy eating” menu, but it was his day and that was what he wanted. We had spent the evening celebrating his birthday. He was thrilled with his presents and happy to have hot dogs for dinner (it had been a very long time since they had made an appearance at our table).
I walked past the birthday cake three or four times before stopping to look at it. It did look good. I had indulged myself the night before with a small slice and remembered the sweetness this morning. “Should I have a bite?” I walked away and decided to check my email while I was waiting for my older son to get ready. He soon came down and asked if he could check his Facebook account before heading off to school.
I walked back to the kitchen and stood by the cake again. My stomach was growling and I knew I only had a couple minutes before I had to jump in the car and drive my son to school. I opened the drawer and took out a fork. The first bite was heavenly and I savored the taste. By the time I was putting the 4th bite in my mouth, I began to feel the “gag” reflex in my throat activate. It appeared my stomach was not ready for that much sugar first thing in the morning. I put down the fork and walked to the table. I reached for the platter of fruit in the middle and grabbed a banana. It would have to do for now.
I know my first choice, the birthday cake, was not a healthy decision. So why did I do it? Why did I succumb instead of walking away? I did so because it was there, and I was hungry. I did not have a lot of time, it looked delicious, and it was quick and easy. After I had eaten those four bites, I was tempted to throw the rest of the cake in the garbage can, just to get rid of the temptation. If I did so, I knew my son would be sad when he returned from school. It was his cake and I knew he would want another piece.
It can be difficult to eat healthy all the time, especially when there are children in the home. Birthdays and holidays can also be difficult. Yesterday, my Weight Watchers leader talked about indulging ourselves. She actually encouraged it. She said, “Sometimes you need to allow yourself a small indulgence”. The critical part was to make sure we accounted for it and put it on our tracker. By allowing ourselves to participate in the celebrations, or just treating ourselves now and then, life will be much more enjoyable.
I didn’t beat myself up over the cake this morning. Four bites wasn’t going to kill me, or my desire to eat healthy. I got back on track and finished my breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal & Craisins. It provided some sweetness without being overwhelming.
I think the difference I see in my life now is that I am “aware” of everything I put in my mouth. I pay attention to the signals my body gives me. As you begin to make better choices with food, your body adjusts and lets you know when you begin to stray from that path. I believe our bodies want proper nutrition. In fact, they NEED it. When we make better choices and eat healthier, we feel better and have more energy to achieve more.
Take baby steps in the beginning. Start by just adding more fruit and vegetables in your diet. Start tracking what you eat. It helps to make you more aware of what you are putting in your mouth. That alone may help you to make better choices. Start small. Eventually it will become easier. Doing something is better than doing nothing, so remember that every time you make a healthier choice, it is a step in the right direction.