Sometimes the temperature grazes 80° for the first time this calendar year and your mom offers to buy you an ice-cream cone. Sometimes you go to a gorgeous Southern wedding and you can’t pass up the mounds of barbeque beef brisket vying for space on your plate. Sometimes your little (grown-up) brother doesn’t want to share his box of Cheez-Its, which – in proper sibling fashion – only makes you want them more.
Sometimes all these things happen the same weekend. Or perhaps I should rephrase: Sometimes you return home to New York from an excursion to Maryland to find you’ve gained three pounds in as many days.
In years past, whenever I’d go on a “healthy eating spree,” one weekend of caloric debauchery was enough to see me throw in the towel and revert back to my earlier ways. I’ve already ruined my diet – I’d say – so I might as well test that all 6 burger options at Shake Shack have the same meat-to-bun ratio. You know, for science.
That kind of thinking didn’t get me anywhere (or more accurately, it got me here) because it was fatalistic, short-sighted and – pardon my French – le dumb.
But now that I’ve finally given up on short-term fixes in favor of what I hope will be a lifetime of nutrition and fitness, a weekend off the wagon no longer carries the same weight. I ate both the chocolate and the vanilla wedding cake on Saturday night – I said to my slightly hung-over self the following morning – so I’ll just stick to oatmeal and coffee at the hotel breakfast buffet, even though they have all the free sausage a carnivore could hope for. When you’re thinking long-term, it’s easier to bounce back from a few days of bad habits, Episcopal guilt and all.
That said, I’m still using this weekend’s free-for-all as an opportunity to revisit my goals and recommit to some of the healthy practices that helped me drop 30+ pounds by this time last year. For example, I’m taking a page from my girl Tara’s book and trying to pack my own lunch four out of five days this week. I’m also recording everything I eat over the next few days in a drive for mindfulness. And I’m not sneaking any more rest days than Coach Hal allows as I enter Week 8 before my most important race of the season. I even upped my Monday 3-miler to a 6-miler just for good form. Who knows? If I sneak in one extra, unscheduled mile by Sunday, this may even be my first ever 30+ mile week.
And that kind of accomplish warrants an ice-cream cone.
How do you get back on track nutritiously/fitnessly/navigationally after straying?