Yes, this is a real battle and it happens a lot. I often find myself in our executive kitchen at work standing in front of a counter filled with sweet treats and just plain, bad-for-you-but-tastes-oh-so-good food. Ugh, it’s somebody’s birthday. Again. Don’t get me wrong. I love birthdays and birthday presents. Birthday food? As good as it tastes, not so much of a fan. The guilt of eating bad food and expanding my waistline at the same time is too much. Do you really want me to feel that guilty later?
Celebrating the existence of someone I care about is fun when it involves music, presents, laughter and good company. Celebrating the existence of someone I care about with bad food? Here’s my take on it: “Happy birthday! Here’s some sweet treats to spike your and everyone else’s blood sugar. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Trust me. In a couple of hours, we’ll have an office full of cranky people because your and everyone else’s blood sugar will be low, but don’t worry. You’ll be coming back for more. If you don’t, I can promise you that you’ll grab that cup of coffee for the afternoon and you’ll be wondering why you can’t sleep later. You’re welcome!”
Seriously, why can’t we just celebrate with balloons, a fruit bouquet and beautiful flowers? I’d like for that kind of gift to have this message: “Awww, happy birthday! Here’s something healthy that tastes great, helps you live longer and something pretty to look at that smells good that will last for about a week. Happy day of birth to you!”
Let me tell you, moments in the work kitchen is tough. The spreads that are out mocking me as I grab a cup of ice for my Rev3 (healthy energy drink – yes, it exists). “We smell good, Huong. Come over and look.” Then I saw it.
This happened once. A white box a few feet from where I was standing was like a freaking strong magnet. Next thing I knew, I was standing in front of it. My hand reached for the lid and yes, I lifted the lid. ::lowers head in shame:: You can only imagine what was inside. Glazed and chocolate. My body was telling me, “Sweeeeet. Donuts…just get one. Only one.” So what does my mind do? It fought back, “No, you’ll regret it later. Trust me.”
Since I’ve started to become more aware of how I physically feel after eating certain foods, I’ve gotten really good at monitoring my blood sugars and have kept myself from having crashes throughout the day (yes, all without coffee. If you want to know how I do it, just email me), but that doesn’t stop my body from going, “Sweeeeet.” in a voice much like Homer Simpson’s from time to time.
If you want to know what happened, I walked away. I shut the lid and walked away. Fast. As I did a little speed walking down the hall, I kept repeating to myself, “It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.”
In that moment, I won a sugar battle against a box of donuts and it felt good.
Let me tell you people out there, being healthy is NOT easy. Even for “skinny people” like me. Why? Because food is half of the battle. Dare I say it’s two thirds of the battle? The battle with food is never easy no matter what size you are. Most would say it’s about determination and motivation and yes, I agree. But your mindset and willpower to win this ongoing war trumps everything because the mind has to be strong in order to overcome battles with food choices.
I’m not saying I avoid all sweets (and bad food) in its entirety (I have an 80/20 rule and will be changing it to 90/10 soon). I certainly don’t recommend it either just because I don’t think it’s healthy to eat all healthy food all the time.
In my opinion, quitting a food you like cold turkey is a kind of deprivation that could spiral downward if the understanding between a diet and lifestyle is not understood. I mean, I have a Sprinkles Cupcake every now and then. To me, I’d rather look at sweets as a celebration food, not an everyday food. And that’s how I’ve trained myself to see the most beautiful and delicious Instagram posts and Pinterest images. Note: Never go on Pinterest or the grocery store when you’re hungry. That’s just being mean to yourself and your wallet.
Random confession: My pants are a bit tight again and honestly, I don’t feel good about it. And if you’re about to say, “You don’t need to lose any weight! You’re already skinny!”, let me be straight with you: it doesn’t matter how I look. It’s about I physically feel and quite frankly, since I felt sluggish and tired for over a month now and my body has been yearning to do a sugar cleanse again so I’ll be putting in my order soon (if you want to join me, just let me know).
Needless to say, although I don’t currently feel great, I feel awesome about winning today’s battle. It’s all about taking a step, no matter how small it is.
I’ll tell you one thing, thank goodness not all donuts are Krispy Kremes. I mean, with a glass of almond milk, can you imagine the massacre? I’m sure you’re imagining sprinkles and donut crumbs everywhere and me wiping my mouth with a devious smile while standing on a box of crushed donuts in a superhero pose declaring victory. I paint a pretty fun picture don’t I?
Image via The Tia Fox