I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Temptation’

The Temptation of Festivus

This girl has been a diehard Seinfeld fanatic for 2/3 of her life. When the episode about Festivus premiered, I was in 8th grade. Jerry Stiller’s Frank Costanza describes his epiphany/creation as such: 

  
I remember hysterically laughing when I first saw this 18 years ago. Part of the brilliance of Seinfeld is that it grows with you; while I still get thigh-slapping laughs from watching this, I now watch this and find myself sympathetic with Frank. Though I’ve not reached the point of raining blows upon someone, I am in total agreement with him – there HAS to be another way to celebrate Christmas. 

As a child, I used to love this time of year. The gifts! The music! The Jesus! I remember caring for them all, and as I’ve grown, my priorities have simply shifted. Sadly, so has my attitude. It is not because I learned Santa isn’t real (although I did just finish watching Miracle on 34th Street), or that I have to buy presents for other people. My Lord, do I wish that was all that Christmas called for – shelling out some cash and calling it a day. Why did Frank rain blows upon the man? He wanted to do right for his family. Who can be mad at those intentions? 

Thus we find ourselves wanting to get into the ‘little c’ christmas spirit, saying things like “It’s not about the presents!” or “Spend time with your loved ones!” These are, indeed, good things all year long. Suddenly, it gets to be after Thanksgiving and everyone remembers how they should have been acting the previous 11 months? Can’t we space out the cheer? Whether it’s preparing a program for work, attending a stupid ass party, or preparing our home for all the family that’s going to converge upon it today, I find myself thinking that this is now my least favorite holiday. 

Don’t get it twisted. I am a Christ-follower. I believe in observing this time of year with special reverence. However, like Frank, I find myself without the peace and reflection that anticipated his coming. I, too, seek another way, but sadly, I have found my heart becoming too much like the Festivus pole…

  
Cold and impenetrable. I, here and now in this post, am airing my grievances! I am sick of all of the things that get in the way of truly observing the miracle of Christmas. It’s not the commercialism; it’s all y’all. Sorry. Running around like a crazy person for four weeks is costly as well. 

As I was putting ornaments on our Christmas tree a few hours ago (just in time!), I noticed that the leaves were starting to shed. I paused and smiled to myself. I hope my heart is always more like a live Christmas tree than a Festivus pole, with evidence of His presents? Presence. Heh. There should be light. The ornaments are like all of the people who make my life better. Yes, sometimes their presence makes some of my leaves shed. I may even feel weighed down at times. Like the tree, I am more beautiful for having them. 

Thank you for being on my tree! Enough with the parties though, okay? Merry Christmas!

  

Just because correlation isn’t causation doesn’t mean I should keep eating these delicious chips

For the record, I am tempted more by salty foods than sweet foods. Just so you know the next time you want to bring me a smile via snack. However, there is a notable exception… 

I do love peanut butter m&ms. 
I was doing pretty well with my eating at the beginning of April, once I had decided that Ironman was off of my itinerary. I ran with my boo and was feeling good about my progress. There was a family party later that evening, but I had planned for the debauchery accordingly. Then I made plans with my mother to start a six-week long contest to get hot for summer. Clearly, that must mean that I can do whatever I want in the three weeks between a 5k and a contest. Right? 

Of course it’s right. Joan is grown, dammit. But I paid for it. I gained 7 pounds in 3 weeks. I told you, I do it big. I was expecting to gain weight, of course. Donuts + pizza + minimal workouts aren’t exactly the best way to sculpt one’s body. What caught me off guard was how messy my room became. 

  
Until a few weeks ago, I had been doing really well with my resolution to clean up my act. When I decided to go buck wild with my eating, I realized I was caring less about how my room looked. I think that food is such a big part of my life that when I throw caution to the wind in my diet, I am simply less disciplined in general. I realize now that eating so poorly also leaves me with little energy to do more than get through my day, so I simply leave a bit of mess here or there. 

Today was day 1 of 42 of our challenge. Frankly, I’m relieved to be eating better. Not just because I will lose the weight again, but because it feels good to be good to my body. I am coping with the fact that life happens and depending on where I am mentally, I’m just not going to fight Teacher Appreciation Week, my birthday, and Mother’s Day. I’m thankful for another chance to do better and am optimistic for positive results from this plan. I sucked at it last year, but hey. I’m older, a *tad* wiser, and am hopeful that I will remember how good eating well makes me feel when I do it consistently. Real talk – I’m left with no choice but to clean up my act inside and out – who can afford a maid service with all this damn organic food? 

Throwback Thursday: Temptation Edition

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So, it’s summer. Not just any summer, but teacher summer. Single, childless, teacher summer. Hard to beat. I prance through the mall, singing to myself, “La, la, I’m not responsible for these children!” Not even kidding. When I’m not prancing, I’m either at the gym or at the piano, of course.

Problem(s).

Often, on nutritional regimens, people will say that during the week they are fine but on the weekend, there is a tendency to go buck wild. I’ve found that as long as I plan for the weekend in a way that I plan for the week, I’m good. But, uh – I kind of have a 70 day weekend. I’m not THAT good. Also, playing the piano as much as I am now hearkens back to my days of college and graduate school, where I relied on food to cope with all the negative emotions I had . Even when as I practice happily I think to myself, ooh, food reward! Damn.

Then, today, I had my piano lesson. The kind where I’m taking it instead of dishing it out. I can’t say that it was bad, as my perspective has changed, but it didn’t go how I would like. Quite frankly, I lost my appetite – for everything. No thought of any food excites me at the moment. Feel a tap on your shoulder? Is it Jesus? Yeah, that’s rare. However, I’m starting to realize that this food battle is here with me to stay, so I’m not too concerned about it as long as I don’t eat like I’m a depressed grad student any longer.

What’s more alarming is how tempted I am to give up despite a setback. I arrived home not wanting to eat, but also not wanting to practice. I feel discouraged because it didn’t go perfectly. The spark I’ve had recently is – not dead, but dimming, for sure. No one can reignite it except me. That’s a lot of freaking responsibility. Especially now, because, whereas in school I had the motivation to NOT FAIL, there is nothing outward that can scare me into getting it back.

Good news, though – I am listening to the inner voice that says it is worth getting it back to see how much I can accomplish. I am not like those annoying people who pretend they are never sad; like they are never let down. I don’t have the energy today to try again. But Lord willing, I will see another day, and I plan on trying again tomorrow – to play with joy, to eat with purpose, and to live in a way that glorifies God. How else would I show Him I’m appreciative of all He’s given me?

Ecclesiastes 11:9 (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 11:9 (KJV)

Too Young For This Kind of Memory Loss: On Nutrition

“Why are you acting like you are going to prison?”

Such was the reaction of my mother last night as she saw me eat a dinner of a raspberry napoleon, two croissants (one with tuna and boursin cheese, the other with grape jelly and butter), and a Ritter Sport Hazelnut and Raisin Chocolate Bar. Indeed, I don’t normally eat like that – anymore, anyhow. Today marked the beginning of a challenge at my boot camp where we’re supposed to tighten up for six weeks. I almost dread challenges like this because I have not yet reached a point of maturity where I am able to not make the upcoming days like bloody Mardi Gras. “Oh, gonna be good starting next week? Imma go buck wild until then!”

As this is not the first time I have challenged myself, it frustrates me that I still face the same temptations. You should see me walk down the fancy candy aisle and look stare LEER at the chocolate. If chocolate and I were co-workers it would have complained to our boss about harassment long ago. As I know not to cross that line, I keep it moving. Why do I act like I am depriving myself when I know that eating chocolate the way I may like to is not good for me?

Because being bad feels good.

Was my dinner from last night really that amazing? No. Well, don’t get it twisted, it was a lot of fun, but the fun was less in the taste and more in the fact that I knew I shouldn’t be doing it and was doing it anyway. Why eat food that I don’t normally eat simply because I can? Paul writes about it more eloquently and succinctly than I could in Romans 7:9-10:

Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life, 10 and I died.

The Law referenced above concerns the Ten Commandments, but in this context it applies to my nutrition plan. My eating wasn’t terrible prior to receiving this plan, but now I get the plan and it’s like, damn, I need to do better. So I’m going to rebel and do the complete opposite until I absolutely have to start. Let me revel in my badness before I have to deal with it. My fear of failure – of not meeting the requirements of the law/meal plan/whatever – has been enough in the past to keep me from trying my best. What could be worse than trying and failing? Womp womp. But clearly, I have met success in this endeavor. Quite a bit. So why the hell was I still acting a fool yesterday? Why, today, was I looking at the lunches of my colleagues with envy when I know what the result will be of my plan?

Memory. Loss.

I know how this works. I lost 50 pounds participating in plans like this one.  In truth, I am looking forward to eating better for the next several weeks. Not only will I feel better from giving my body the fuel it needs and deserves, but I will get to eat food that I enjoy. Nobody has forced me to participate in this challenge, and it’s not prison! Maybe more like rehab 🙂

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You may think that you have a special relationship with food, but this girl? I don’t need a birthday crown to get it with a cupcake like that. Anywhere, anytime, any (good quality!) food – I’m pretty indiscriminate. If you ask me what my favorite food is, you will invariably be met with silence. I haven’t met a cuisine of that cannot delight me. I am not above singing or dancing while I eat because good food just makes me that happy. Even a discussion about food can raise my heart rate.

The only thing that pleases me more than food is knowing that I am making good decisions for myself. ❤

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