Falling off the Wagon

I was going to start off by saying “Fat people tend to let anything ruin their diet,” but I realized that would:

  1. Be insensitive
  2. I’d be speaking for a group of people and that’s just generalization.

What I can say is that in my personal experience of trying to diet, lose weight, or make better choices, a single slip-up is enough to derail this train for a whole month. It starts simply and snowballs quickly. Sadly, this is the mentality of an addict, not a fat person. I have a problem with food. Food brings me comfort and consoles me. Food should be used (for me) as sustenance and fuel, not comfort. This has been an extremely hard thing to admit and come to terms with. I’ll share a quick story as to how I realized this.

A few months ago I had been doing relatively well with “clean” eating. I wasn’t counting calories or really keeping track of my intake, I was simply eating better food; nutritiously dense food. After a rough day at work, I ran out to my car to retrieve a piece of automotive equipment for a friend. After digging around my car for a few moments I found the piece of automotive equipment, I also happened upon a shiny-metallic-blue wrapper. I had hit the motherload. Like a squirrel getting ready for winter, I had stashed a Kellogg’s Rice Krispy Treat away in my truck for an emotionally rainy day. This wasn’t a normal sized Rice Krispy Treat, it was a rather large one. It was the perfect storm; chaos at work, no lunch, hunger, stress, and a Rice Krispy Treat. I looked over my shoulder like a little kid who found his first dirty magazine in the woods and shoved it in my back pocket. I headed back indoors and that’s where the downward spiral started.

I had never truly understood the saying “burning a hole in my pocket” until that day. I’ve had money that I’ve wanted to spend, but that day was completely different. It was heavy in my pocket and it was about to be heavy in my stomach. I pulled it out and brandished it as proudly as I would have a sword. I looked around and said aloud to my team “Hey, does anyone want to split this with me?” I was so proud that I was making a “good” choice by splitting the sugary treat with someone. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’m surrounded by health-conscious people and every single one of them turned me down. It was then I realized I should just pass on the treat. Easier said than done. I mulled the idea around and after several minutes of truly having an internal battle, I decided to just get rid of it. Easier said than done. The next idea hit me. *internal dialogue* “Well I’ll just eat half. Hmm, let me look at the serving size. One bar? Well if I only eat half, I can run by the 7-11 and get another one. If the serving size is a WHOLE bar, why just eat half. I’ll just get another one, but I can’t just eat half of that one. So I’ll just eat the whole one after work as well. While I’m there, I can just stop by Jack-in-the-Box and get dinner.” It was then I realized I had to get this metallic-blue devil out of my hands. But not before the final thought that made me realize, unequivocally, I had a problem. As I handed it to a coworker to dispose of it I said aloud, “What if I just open it up to give it a quick smell?” Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Jose J Garcia, the food addict.

It’s with that story that I present to you my great shame. I had been doing so well with getting to the gym, making good choices, and watching my intake. I was then faced with a choice, a test if you will. A coworker from out of town flew in and she wanted to grab dinner. Now, as a sidebar, I believe in taking responsibility, so please know, this is in no way her fault, nor is she culpable in any way for my decisions. I told myself prior to them arriving that I would make it to the gym and could still go to dinner and make sensible choices. I lack…discipline. I did not go to the gym, and I did not make sensible choices. I had a few drinks, and I had dinner well out of the scope of what I should be ingesting. “It’s fine, don’t beat yourself up, count it as a cheat meal and tomorrow do better than you did today.” One day turned into, two, and two turned into three, and three turned into a week and a half, closer to two weeks.

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In comes the addict mentality. At no point did I check on me, at no point did I truly reflect and try to get back on track. I was content with the immediate gratification of food, drinks, and great company. I can tell you right now when this friend comes back into town, I WILL go out with them, they are one of the most wonderful humans I know. I’m not going to miss out on that. However, with that choice comes a challenge. Will I be able to steer away from the easy road, the easy path that is calling to me to just give in to the desire and the short term gratification?

I’ve learned from Jocko Willink to simply say “good” to failure and setback. While I don’t plan to give in, if I do, I won’t beat myself up over it, I won’t let it last two weeks before I get back on track. I’ll simply say “good.” I failed, now I have the opportunity to learn how to dust myself off and get back on the horse. Good, I now have the opportunity to face that challenge again and try to better defeat it. Some may recommend to just stay away from the temptation and I won’t have a problem. I say nay to that. I want to be challenged, I want to learn from my mistakes, I want to get beat down so I can learn how to get back up from it.

Discipline shall set me free. Every damn day is a challenge, and yet…I’m still here.

 

Post Script: Featured image from Paul Pope’s Batman: Year 100. Paul Pope’s Instagram can be found here. Inline image from Batman #20 Rebirth. Written by Tom King, penciled by David Finch

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