The other night Dan expressed his concern for me and his desire to help me. I was taken off guard because I had not been feeling down-trodden or bad about myself. I analyzed the situation and realized that the house was a mess, I hadn't been keeping up with the dishes, our dinners were of the boxed variety for the most part, and I'd been staying up really late reading and doing Pinterest. Normally, these behaviors would signal a sad Potato Girl in need of help. So why did I not feel that way? Why did Dan's concern seem surprising and somewhat unnecessary?
I have actually been feeling like Wonder Woman lately because I'm still following my new diet. Every day I make many small choices to continue this diet. They are not easy choices for me to make, and I've been making them consistently without flubbing up for...well, today is day 25. I'm pretty sure I've never gone this long without sugar, bread, fruit, milk, yogurt, cereal--basically, all of the things I normally eat.
Today is Adam's birthday. For several years now I have made him Rice Crispie treats to take for his class. I asked him the other day if we could please just send in a store-bought treat this year so I wouldn't have to handle all of that yumminess. But this was really, really the only thing he wanted, so this morning I made them. I had the stuff all over my fingers and I did not have a single little lick. That makes me feel good about myself, and I don't often feel that way. One of my diet books says that you need to give yourself credit for all of your little successes. Dan and I thought that was kind of cute, so we have a habit now of saying to each other, "you deserve credit for that!" It makes us laugh because it is such an awkward, unnatural-sounding thing to say, but at the same time it feels good to recognize those little choices. I do think it makes sense to celebrate and acknowledge all of the small choice you make instead of waiting until you've lost 50 pounds to give yourself any praise. I think a difficult lifestyle change is more sustainable if you recognize all of the little daily things that are going into it, like not licking your fingers when you are making a dessert.
One idea that has been helping me has been thinking of carbohydrates as alcohol, coffee, tea, or tobacco--something that I am absolutely prohibited from even having a tiny taste of. Following the Word of Wisdom my whole life is now making this diet easier for me. This is the first time I've had myself treat sugar as a completely off limits item, but that seems to be a lot more sustainable, in the long run, than having little bits of sugar and trying to not go too far. If I think of myself as a recovering addict trying to stay sober, I can see that "one little bit" of my addictive substance is all it will take to get me back to a place where I'm no longer in control of myself. Feeling in control of this aspect of my life gives me a great sense of success and well-being.
So I think this explains why I was not feeling bad about myself or lost or down in the dumps when Dan thought I was. Take home message for me: if I can focus on one small positive change, and really work on it each day, and give myself credit for the efforts I'm making, it can help me feel good all around, in spite of the fact that there are many other changes I want to get to but can't yet.