My nephew Andy, his wife Natalie and their fifteen-month-old son Caleb came for a one-week visit. They were arriving on Saturday, so I wanted to be a good uncle and stock the house with the food they like. I am a little embarrassed to admit it, but I like shopping at the grocery store. I grew up with food being the center point of great family get togethers, so I guess this is my way of serving guests.
Fat Food Love
I made the decision a couple of weeks before they arrived to start eating right. For me, this includes low carbs, healthy carbs and no sugar. I know when I eat this way on a consistent basis, I have high energy and think clearly and, most importantly, optimistically. In short, I find I have great ideas and the energy to attack them.
But I know what Andy and Natalie like. Tostitos and dip, Pepsi, cookies and ice cream, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, pasta, cheese, frosted flakes. I think you get the picture. It is all the stuff I usually pass by in the grocery store as I celebrate my self-control. Well, I bought it all, and I loved doing it.
I came home and stocked the shelves and refrigerator with everything I love to eat but try to avoid. When I finished putting it away, I looked at my work and admired it. I knew Andy and Natalie would love it, too.
Shortly after they arrived, they thanked me for buying everything they love to eat. I was a super proud uncle. They knew by the groceries in the cupboards just how much I love them. This is very Italian.
Just a Taste
At some point on that shopping spree, I gave myself permission to eat this junk. I said to myself “They are only here for a week. What the heck? How bad can it be? How much weight can I gain in a week?”
I started slowly. A few potato chips here, a yogurt covered pretzel there, then a small bowl of ice cream. But if that stuff is in my house, I am going to eat it.
Low carbs! “Ha!”
Sugar! “Bring it on!”
Pizza! “Where have you been?!”
I also noticed how Andy and Natalie were eating. They picked at some chips. Tasted a few pretzels. Ate one piece of pizza. Everything in moderation. What is wrong with my nephew?
Bad stuff happens to me when I eat this way for a week or so. I don’t know why, but I had to relearn this lesson. Poor nutrition makes me tired and depressed. And it happened. By the time I figured out what was wrong, I had already spent four to five days in a fog. Not motivated. No creativity. No energy.
Make a Resolution Now
Until I learned this about myself, I used to say that I hated the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular. Then I figured it out. Leading up to these holidays, the house fills with junk food.
Candy, cookies, cakes, pies, sugared nuts, you name it. It is in your house during the holidays, too. We even set it out on our kitchen counter in pretty holiday bowls. We make it easy to graze on this stuff.
Last year I didn’t allow myself to eat poorly leading up to and including the holidays. It was a great Thanksgiving and great Christmas. Amazingly, I was energetic, optimistic and engaged.
My focus used to be on exercise and weight while dabbling in sugar consumption and bad carbs which turn into sugar. Weight loss is good, but exercise and eating right to maintain a healthy emotional state is essential.
For me, the fourth quarter is an incredibly rich time. It brings the opportunity to close out the year on a high. I spend time with my family and co-workers, surrounded by the spirit of the holidays and envisioning the wonder of the new year and planning to make it a reality. But to do all this, I must be emotionally stable. To be emotionally stable, I have to eat right and exercise. Sounds simple. Will you join me?