What? You still have dinners to go to today and tomorrow? Leftovers staring you in the face?
Come on. You have 38 days left. Thirty-eight days. Thirty-eight days left of holiday food torment. Did your first day set the tone you wanted for the next 38 days? Mmmm? Or maybe not.
Listen to me. And listen to me good. You have a choice. Each day. Each moment.
That one hard thing
Think hard. Hasn’t there ever been anything hard you’ve done that required effort? Required diligence? Have you run a 5K? Have you painted a bedroom? Have you played in front of a crowd? What have you done that required work?
Because you could have stopped doing it. You could have walked to your car instead of to the 5K finish line where a banana and water was waiting for you. Some fashionable curtains could have tied together a two-tone bedroom. Nobody dragged you kicking and screaming to the stage with your clarinet.
You. Your choices did all these things in your life. YOU.
So, I want you to think hard again. You’ve paved the connections in your brain between neurons for persistence by doing these hard things before in your life. Great job! Now is the moment to capitalize on your earlier successes. When it feels like you can’t say “No” to that food or that latte, remember that one hard thing you did. Feel the shoes on your feet, the concrete under your feet. And say, “I choose me, not food.” And run on.
Feel the paint brush in your hand, see the accidental paint spatters on the carpet, and say, “Sometimes I drop some paint, but I keep painting.” And paint on.
See the audience’s eyes on you, while you play your zombie-stiff clarinet song with racing heart. And say, “I choose to do this in front of the glares and stares of the world.” And play on.
You see, it is your choice. I promise you, nobody is going to grab that roll or those mashed potatoes and stuff them in your mouth. (Visualizing that, are you?)
But YOU might grab that roll and those mashed potatoes or that brownie this holiday season. YOU.
I can quit
Once, when I was having a hard time at pharmacy school personally, my volleyball coach looked at me and said, “Terri, you can go home. [Home and dear family support was six hours away.] Take a break.” I tried to argue with her. I couldn’t go home! I’d lose a whole semester of grades! A whole semester of money! No matter what I said, she told me it didn’t matter. I could go home. Finally, I realized, I could go home. I could quit whenever I wanted. And suddenly, I knew I had the fight in me. I knew I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, get my head wrapped on straight, and I could do this hard thing.
When I had to change the way I ate 4 years and five months ago (I remember the date I dove in to 100% change), I did the same thing. I recognized my choice. MY CHOICE. I thought of all the hard things I’d done in my life, and I knew I could do this one.
I haven’t fought every food and nutrition battle you’ll have to fight. But I’ve fought a lot the last four years. Battles from myself. My tongue. My mom. My kids. My world. The TV. Gluten. Dairy. Eggs.
But I’ve run 5Ks, painted rooms, and I’ve played in piano recitals. I remember those things. When I am faced with food choices I know don’t benefit me, I recall those successes. I feel them. I smile at them. And most of the times, I move on just fine.
Move past the dribbles and play your song
Sometimes I don’t move on just fine. That’s probably most like painting. I never get the drop cloth spread out the way I should. I often think I don’t need the drop cloth. I’m just going to paint this one little touch-up. I won’t dribble. And I always do. Always do dribble. But seriously, who stops painting a whole room because they dribbled?
Today, while you’re shopping, looking at leftovers, visiting family. Next week, when the baked goods and cheap candy start rolling in (Gosh, wasn’t it just Halloween?). Thirty-eight days from now, remember it was YOUR choice.
Did you run? Did you dribble, yet keep painting? Did you play your song?
Eating right isn’t about now. It’s about hiking with your kids when they’re old enough to hike. It’s about that trip to Europe you’ve always dreamed after you retire. It’s about getting down on the floor to change your grandbaby’s diaper. It’s about writing that book with great mental clarity that comes from real food.
It’s about YOU.
And doing the hard thing. Each step of the way.
YOU CAN DO THIS. STARTING NOW.
Run. Paint. Play your song. You’ve done it before, and you can do it in this area too!
Photo attribution: By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons, public domain