The Slippery Slope

Several weeks ago, at the beginning of the diet-change process, a sudden craving struck our household. With elevated heart rates and embarrassed glances at each other, we headed to the local ice cream shop, and each got ourselves a sundae. After all, we rationalized, we had better do it now, right? It’s not like we could splurge after our surgeries.

But, after the forbidden ice cream treat I felt…disappointed. Empty, almost. It had not really satisfied my craving at all, and I felt no desire for more. I told Lor, “Well, I guess that does it for ice cream.” I felt not only relief, but a curious sense of pride in myself. These dietary changes must already be working if my cravings were changing, right? I departed from our mutual diet failure with a sense of progress and accomplishment.

Fast forward to last week. Lor got sick – a head cold that left her drained and listless for days. Since she is the person who is in charge of our menu planning, and she had no real interest in eating, this created some confusion in the household. Especially when she demanded her favorite comfort food for getting through a cold – Green Chile Stew. Oddly, the best Green Chile Stew in our neighborhood is available from a chicken and barbecue restaurant, so I was dispatched on a quest to gather up the magical, sinus-clearing elixir. I asked Lor if it was OK if I got a meal as well. She waved her hand in dismissal, not being interested in what I did, as long as the stew arrived quickly. On the way to the restaurant, I lectured myself on good choices, reduced carbs, and eating sensibly.

3 huge pieces of fried chicken, a side of mashed potatoes with gravy AND a side of Mac and Cheese later, I realized that maybe I wasn’t as far along with these dietary changes as I previously thought.

In retrospect, the things I did wrong are pretty easy to spot. I should have agreed on a menu for myself before I left the house (2 pieces of baked chicken, maybe, perhaps some steamed broccoli to go with it.). I should have written it down, so I had something in writing to hold myself to, since my accountability partner would be lying on the couch several miles away, trying to breathe. But, mainly what I should have done is not take her illness as license to cheat on¬†my diet. I should have gotten just the items that she asked for and then returned home, where we have tons of intelligent food choices already in place just waiting for me to prepare and eat them. It would’ve been cheaper, too.

I come out of the experience a little embarrassed and a little wiser. A single diet failure is not the end of the world by any means. But patting myself on the back for no longer wanting ice cream was a false achievement – there is no great accomplishment in giving up something I wasn’t all that crazy about to start with, and I gave myself a false sense of security. I have now identified a true weakness (starchy carbs with rich sauces), and can start to work on making that¬†change in my mental programming.

You don’t give a thief a job guarding your bank, you do not leave the family cat unsupervised while there is food on the kitchen counter, and you don’t send Hawkwind out to the fried chicken joint. It is not the course of wisdom.

Dreading The Weekly Weigh-In,

– Hawkwind

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