It’s Friday morning at the office and the gift of doughnuts have arrived yet again. It is our “reward” for another job well done.
Can I just say ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!?
Why is it that we think of food at a reward? Wait, to be more specific, why do we think of unhealthy foods as a reward? I mean, no one ever says congrats or well done or bravo with a big bowl of fresh fruit. Then again, we do occasionally receive an edible arrangement of wonderful fresh fruit….dipped in chocolate. Seriously, what gives?
Here’s My Theory: It All Begins at Birth
Now, of course, I don’t remember my own birth, but I feel certain that someone was celebrating with cake! Ours is a food based celebratory society. We celebrate everything with food. Typically lots, and LOTS of food. Stop for a second and try to remember the last time you participated in a celebration that didn’t have someone wondering, “What are we going to eat?” Heck even the moonlight bike ride event ended with a free slice of pizza and a beer. Food ! Glorious Food!!
Now, growing up my family may not have had a lot, but we always had more than enough food. Our loving parents instilled that being able to provide food was a way of showing how much they loved us.
See if this sounds familiar: we’re back in the time when we’re all cute little tots. We’re out playing and oops! We fall down, skinning tender knees and hands. We come limping and whimpering into the house to have mercurochrome and a band aid applied to the physical wound. Then, holding up our pant leg so the mercurochrome wouldn’t stain our clothes, we follow our mothers into the kitchen to be handed a cookie or two, or a slice of chocolate cake?
Don’t think I don’t know you are reading this and nodding you heads in agreement.
Growing up, food equaled love. Food helped heal our wounds. Food helped mend a broken heart. The list goes on and on, doesn’t it? Heck, being a good Southerner, I can tell you that even the death of a loved one equals bringing on the food.
But I’m a Sophisticated Adult Now!
We grow up and start a life of our own, but those thoughts of food being a cure-all continue to linger in our minds. In addition to bringing our own culinary creations (or purchases) to each birthday, anniversary, promotion, wedding, and other celebratory occasions to myriad to name, we continue to soothe our emotions with food as well.
Skinned knees and hands are a little more complex. A relationship ends, and we feed our pain with food. We feel lonely and unloved, so we have a sleeve of Oreos and cold milk to fill the emptiness. Then we wake up and feel bad about being overweight, feeling unattractive and angry.
We now hate all those Oreos.
And the cycle continues.
Stop the Madness!
Thankfully, I reached a point in my life where I had to say it was time to stop it. Enough was enough! As many of you know, I was contemplating a weight loss surgery when I had my big “ah-ha” moment. I simply knew I had to start taking responsibility for my life, my emotions, and my health.
The first step for me was to find something to replace the foods I would reach for to congratulate myself, or to feed a negative emotion. The best way I knew how to do that was to get my body moving.
Trust me when I say reaching for an extra 10 minutes on a run or bike ride is so much more fulfilling than reaching for a slice of pie. (No, really. I’m not kidding!)
Exercise, focused, positive thoughts and a list of non-negotiables have been a huge source of my success. The biggest example of a non-negotiable is my Tuesday Weight Watcher’s meeting. I attend every single meeting I can, and other things get scheduled around that. I even track down meetings when I’m on vacation. In the past year, I think I have missed 3 meetings total, which is a pretty good record.
Take That, Doughnut
So while the enticing smell of a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut wafts in the air around my office, I have chosen to sit down and put my energy into creating this blog, knowing that my writing will keep me focused on something other than a doughnut.
And next week? That will be me arriving at my office like the good boy scout I am, fully prepared. I’ll be bringing in a bowl of fresh fruit so that, not only do I have a choice, but perhaps my example will help someone else make a better choice for themselves.
Today, I am indeed stronger than a doughnut, and I will continue to make the best choice that I can possibly make. I have worked hard and come so very far on this journey, and as you all know I am not done yet.