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You Don't Have to Be a Sinking Ship

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Friday, April 15, 2016

First, allow me to THANK each and every one of you who has sent me such kind remarks, comments, messages, and Spark Goodies after my story was featured on the Success Stories page on Spark today. I am flattered that Spark interviewed me and posted my story, but even beyond that, I am inspired by the inspired, and I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement during the last few weeks and now, as I step into that rocky terrain of maintenance. THANK YOU ALL!

Now, back to the blog at hand. Today is the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in the Atlantic. Just four days after it took off on its maiden voyage, that BBV (big, beautiful vessel) met its fateful end, as did between 1,490 and 1,635 passengers, about 109 of them children. Personally, I find this tragedy one of the worst in human history, though I have to admit I took some sick joy in watching Leo sink in that fictionalized movie, as he's one of those actors I really cannot stand. I do wonder, though, why Rose couldn't scoot her ample and uppity behind over to make room for him on that plank, but that would have rendered Celine's lyrics a bit pointless, I suppose. Maybe she didn't like him any more than I do, or maybe she wasn't impressed with his drawing or his back-seat quickie. In any case, there are many, many lessons we can learn from tragedies, and this one is no different.

In the case of the Titanic, the lessons are not merely maritime ones. For those of us who are or have been on a weight loss journey, one of the biggest lessons is to be keenly aware of the warning signs. Had the captain and crew of that ship paid attention to the countless iceberg warnings they received, they might have fared better, but instead, they insisted on traveling full speed ahead. The result? A very, very costly collision that destroyed the boat and countless lives. Kudos to the special effects, as the movie is one of my favorites, in spite of Leo, but it does not do justice to the losses that were encountered in those icy waters.

I am still recovering from my post-goal and post-divorce celebratory binge, and I won't be weighing in to check my progress till next Wednesday, as I know I am going to be faced with yet a few more caloric onslaughts at a school festival tomorrow. I have mentioned before that one of the most integral parts of my weight loss success has been allowing myself to LIVE in spite of my "DIEt." Life happens around us, and much of it involves food. Tomorrow evening, I will be at my elementary school. I feel a lot taller in there these days, as my head nearly bumps the ceiling, but when I walk into that cafeteria where I went daily from the mid 1970s to 1984, I am taken back on a nostalgic journey, and I simply must have a rectangle of pizza, served to me by a grouchy lady in a hairnet, on an orange plastic tray. How many calories are in that rectangle of sin? I have no idea, and I am scared to consult Spark about it, but I will enjoy it in the moment and make up for it in other moments. This is how I have managed for the past 2+ years: Making choices and making amends when necessary, and it has allowed me to enjoy my life instead of avoiding it just because there are occasionally naughty edibles in it. The trouble doesn't come when we encounter a few small icebergs that we can push through. The trouble comes when there is a giant wall of ice looming, one that we know will prove disastrous, yet we push on anyway, ignoring the impending doom.

This morning with my typical two eggs, yogurt, and boyfriend breakfast (a little too much of the boyfriend, admittedly), I had calories enough to add a Lucky Charms cereal bar to the mix. It was a delicious 100-calorie excursion into crunchy marshmallow sweetness. I bought three boxes of those delicious things when I found them on clearance at Big Lots for an insane price that made it impossible for me not to. The trouble is, the boxes are icebergs. I KNOW that I could EASILY devour an entire box of those babies in one sitting, and that makes them dangerous. I work about 3 yards from the cabinet in which they reside. This means that at any moment, I could sneak in there and gobble them up. There is nothing to stop me from heading at that iceberg full speed ahead. My dieting daughter would likely scold me and roll her eyes (she is basically my Jillian Michaels, especially now that she's 18 and I can't technically ground her anymore). My dogs would snort at me for not sharing with them. Other than that, though, there is no one yelling over a loudspeaker, "Iceberg right ahead!" The ONLY thing to stop me is my own willpower and choice. I have to pull off the accelerator. I have to slow my ship down. I have to choose not to slam into that box of bars, that iceberg, and instead float through the bars one at a time, rationed out day by day, so it won't sink me. This, my friends, is the biggest battle we face - taking heed of those icebergs and avoiding them.

I could have just not bought the bars at all. I could refuse to have one morsel of sugar in my household. I could put crime scene tape across the front of my snack cabinet. I could install an alarm or an electric fence between the living room and the kitchen. The thing is, there will always, always be icebergs to avoid, and learning to do that even in the comfortable confines of our solitary households is where we find the strength we need to avoid buying six rectangles of pizza from the lunch lady.

Am I telling you to go out and eat pizza and ooey, gooey cereal bars? No. What I AM telling you is that if you DO allow yourself treats once in a while, don't let them turn you into a sinking ship. You will encounter small collisions with such things, because it is impossible to avoid food in life, but they don't have to throw you under. You can enjoy your cruise by paying attention and steering clear of the giant bergs. This is a lesson that has been important to me during my weight loss quest, and it will be just as important - if not more so - as I move into maintenance. My heart will go on a lot longer if I allow myself to ENJOY life (like a greasy slice of nostalgia once in a while) without doing it so foolishly that I sink myself into the icy depths of obesity once again.
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