Yesterday, my oatmeal exploded in the microwave at work. I make oatmeal every day and I have to keep an eagle eye on it because Mr. Quaker Oats sometimes gets a bad attitude. Well, there were other people in the lunch room
hogging using the space in front of the microwaves to make their coffee, so I was trying to be courteous and give them some room. Next thing I know, I see my oatmeal spilling over the top of my bowl. I leapt forward and grabbed the door, almost bashing my co-worker Lois in the head as I yanked it open, and then stared sadly at the mess.
My first thought was not, “Ew- what a mess” or “Wow, I hope I didn’t kill Lois” but was, “Rats. Now I have less food to eat.” My second thought was, “I wonder if I can salvage any of the stuff that spilled over” followed by my third thought of, “Gross, Sue. You might eat a random M&M off the floor but you will not stoop to eating boiled over oatmeal off the bottom of the work microwave”. For the record, I had to repeat this to myself twice, and thankfully Lois was still in the lunchroom or I may have succumbed to thought #2. Haha! Just kidding! That would be so disgusting! I would never do that! (No, really, I might have. Lois unknowingly saved me, even after I tried to kill her with the microwave door.)
I hate having my food routine disturbed. It just leaves the door open for those irrational rationalizations, where my brain tries to justify eating 10 cookies to make up for the disruption. “You poor dear! You didn’t get a full 1/3 cup of oatmeal today. Have a pan of brownies.” I know what you are all thinking. You are all thinking I should overcook my oatmeal everyday and replace it with cookies because oatmeal is like eating wall paste and good Lord if your going to eat something as bad for you as wall paste you might as well eat cookies. And if I’m going to eat cookies, bring on the chocolate cake, because even Bill Cosby knows chocolate cake is full of nutrition!
Perhaps you are wondering if I grew up as a starving child in China (“There are starving children in China that go hungry every day! Eat your wall paste!”) but no. I grew up in a middle class home and never went to bed hungry – not even as a punishment. My mom was a wizard in the kitchen and could make a pound of hamburger stretch for all 7 of us, including my Dad and my brother. No, I’m just a food addict. No meth or crack for this girl! But whoa! Is that a bakery? I think I’ll stop in and mainline a chocolate donut.
Because I am a food addict, I need to have a strict food plan of no sugar or wheat, and I need to follow it. I have fallen off the wagon these last three years, and really have no desire to get back on it, even though I know the sugar and flour just keep feeding the beast. Before this, I went four years without it passing my lips. I lost 80 pounds. Gained confidence and moved up in my company. Ran my first half marathon. Hit the upper 90’s in my health assessment at work. Felt absolutely fantastic, physically and emotionally. Except when I felt deprived – like at birthdays when others were celebrating with cake or at Christmas when I passed the cookie tray without taking one of my mom’s cut-outs (my favorite), or on vacation with the Daver or at Easter when I passed the rows and rows and ROWS of unbelievably delicious Robin Eggs and other confections (why do we celebrate religious holidays with so much chocolate? A fattening mystery…).
So where am I now? I am somewhere trying to find the balance. I want to have my cake and eat it too (pun totally intended) but I don’t want to give up my health doing it. I have gained back some weight, but not all. I have held on to certain food habits – like lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins – and most certainly my exercise habits have stayed. I don’t run as much – I would like to have fully functioning knees and hips when I am 80 – but I do bike, swim, inline skate, kayak, walk, hike, snowshoe, and hang out in the gym doing burpees and jump squats and dive bombers (oh my!). Since regressing back to sugar, I have done another half marathon, ridden 2500 miles on my bike, taken another position in my company, and performed 10 billion burpees. Yes, you heard me. 10. BILLION. BURPEES.
And you know what? I think I’m okay with where I am. Yes, I still struggle. Yes, I still have food issues. But at the end of the day, I would rather eat a celebratory piece of birthday cake on my dad’s 82nd birthday. I would rather go out with the Daver and have pizza and a couple of beers while we talk and laugh about our week. I would rather bike 100 miles with Kay, eating strawberry shortcake at the rest stops. Or have dessert with the girls at the end of our night out. Or eat a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry in Boston even if it means getting blisters because I am stupidly wearing brand new shoes. Or eating Garrett’s cheesy popcorn while watching my niece run in the Chicago Marathon. And you know why? Because life is meant to be lived, and sometimes living involves eating delicious foods that have no nutritional value.
Some people are blessed with high metabolisms or the ability to eat a single brownie, but I am not one of them. I am a big-boobed, 49-year-old woman, with stretch marks and jiggle, that loves a good laugh and cake with frosting and sprinkles. But I just have to believe there is a balance and come hell or high water, I’m going to find it. And when I do, I will share it with the world. Meanwhile, I’ll be in the gym – doing burpees.
What are your food downfalls? How do you handle feeling food deprived? Have you found balance in your own food plan and if so, what worked for you? I love hearing from you and I love your feedback! Please share in the comments below or on my FB page!
PS – I actually love oatmeal and seriously do eat it every day at work, with two – three hard-boiled eggs. I like it best with almond milk and blueberries or apples and cinnamon. Mmmmm!
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