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Price Check Please

Is it O.K. to take a free food day?

My first question in reply, “Are you seeing the numbers you want at the scale?”

I’ve kept a regular food journal since I began this journey, and I am the first to admit that I experience times when I play with it more than I actually use it as a tool. I get tired sometimes of keeping track of what I eat.

I thought food journaling would be a short term behavior, but I discovered that I have a terminal case of eating amnesia. The moment I cram something into my mouth I forget it, unless I write it down. It simply no longer exists. It’s kind of like the calories consumed while standing up – they don’t count either do they?

Since I can’t remember indiscretions, I get irritated that the numbers don’t reflect how I THINK I’ve been behaving since the last time I hopped on the scale, which presents me with the perfectly logical thought, “Hell, if this isn’t working, I might as well eat that sheet cake.”

Keeping a food diary also helps me plan for my week. I sit down over the weekend and think about what the rest of my week will hold. If we have a soccer game after school, it will not be feasible to come home and make a huge dinner at 7:30 or 8:00. I’m going to need to throw something in the Crock Pot, reheat leftovers or grab something while we are out. And, a hefty snack will be needed to tide me over so I don’t gnaw my arm off in the car on my way to the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Planning works. It may be slightly inconvenient, but it helps me meet my weight loss objectives in the time frame that is realistic, which means I don’t have to keep pushing back the deadline.

I don’t think that having one “free” meal is really going to do irreparable damage to any eating plan, but I was never very good at taking just one splurge. One meal turns into two, evolves into the entire day, which morphs into the weekend. The next thing you know, my skin feels swollen and tender from all the sugar consumption. To reduce the chances for collateral damage, I have to eat carrot sticks and celery for the next three days. It isn’t a pretty place to hang out, and it reinforces negative behavior.

While I’m smart enough to know one that one day doesn’t undo a week, a month, a year or more, it does have the potential to set mind games in place that affect long term success. So if you must eat the egg rolls, just know that nothing in life is really free, and what price are you willing to pay?

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