Garrett just returned from an 11 day trip out of state. With no kids or pets, it has just been me and the house — the very old, creaky house. I know to many of you that sounds like a piece of cake compared to the juggling you do in your daily life, but trust me when I tell you that I have an active imagination and an addiction to crime-related TV shows, so to say that I have been a bit on edge over the past week is a bit of an understatement. Coupled with some other crap-tastic miscellany, it has been a tough time around these parts.
Garrett doesn’t travel super often, but in the past when he would I’d immediately put my Bachelorette Shoes on and head to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some Single Girl Delicacies — generally a lot of tasty meals-for-one, treats, and pretty much whatever the hell I wanted because I wasn’t answering to anyone! Something about having to be in charge of killing spiders and then having to take the trash out on top of it made me feel like the Universe owed me a reward — a chocolate dipped reward, preferably. But this trip ended up going a bit different.
I am happy to report that I survived, and that I survived without a trip to Trader Joe’s. In fact, there were no food rewards of any kind. Do you know what I did on the nights that I was so stressed out I wanted to punch someone? I went to my favorite kickboxing class. Instead of counting on heating up some easy mac and cheese on the nights where I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for one, I grabbed one of the chicken breasts I grilled on Monday to go with the grab-and-go salads I had made so I would have an easy week of lunches. On the nights when I was missing a little social interaction, I met up with some friends and picked a restaurant where I knew I wouldn’t have problems finding some Paleo options.
(I’m not saying that you can’t find options at any restaurant, but I personally have a super hard time going to my favorite Mexican Restaurant and not ordering their delicious crispy tacos with a double side of Spanish Rice, you know? What can I say, I’m a work in progress.)
So what is the big deal about all of this? Absolutely nothing, really. In fact, it didn’t even dawn on me that I had skipped my Single Gal Shopping Spree at Trader Joe’s until I drove by one last night. It’s not that I think Trader Joe’s as the devil, actually I still love it, but a lot of the things I used to buy there — pre-made things, delicious treats, gelato — are things that don’t have too much of a place in my current lifestyle. And that gives me a small sense of accomplishment, because do you know how many times I have told myself in the past: ”This is a lifestyle, not a diet” as I diligently measured out 6 Points worth of Ben & Jerry’s. Or how many times I grabbed another 100 Calorie Pack of Oreos instead of eating nutritious Real Food justifying my depravation saying “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.”
Last week was ripe with opportunities to “fall off the wagon” — my routine was out of whack, my boyfriend was out of town, our cable went out, our power went out, I had people yelling at me at work — hell, I even woke up one morning to a man with a chainsaw in my backyard. If there was ever a week where I deserved a freakin’ pint of Ben & Jerry’s (for breakfast!) last week was it. But it never even crossed my mind. Like not even once. It was like there was no actual wagon to fall off of!
And last night as I passed Trader Joe’s I was sort of excited to acknowledge all of this. For me? This is progress. What I’m doing now with my exercise and diet, feels natural — my body feels happy, my appetite is satisfied, my health indicators are improving and I’m not counting the minutes for my next excuse to go hog wild. It feels so natural that I didn’t even think to deviate during a tough time. And this, to me, is the definition of a lifestyle – having a diet coke and a cigarette for breakfast so that I can save up for some Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream later, is not. And right now, even though this it sounds silly, I am feeling so happy with this new lifestyle of mine– and sometimes it just feels good to celebrate the small stuff.