I don’t like today’s post. I don’t like admitting failure. I don’t like the feeling of having let myself down or that feeling that I may have let you – even though I don’t truly know most of you – down.
But I fell yesterday, and I failed yesterday. Okay, so saying I fell may not be accurate. “Falling” implies that something tripped you, that, due to powers beyond your control, something caused you to stumble. As a result you lost your balance and with gravity conspiring against you, you fell. “Jumping” on the other hand is the result of carefully weighed options and choice; it is premeditated. I didn’t fall; I jumped.
Today, in the aftermath guilt, shame, voices from the past all come rushing in. I am finding some solace in writing this and still more in the lyrics of one of my favorite singers, Rich Mullins. In a particular song, “We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are” he writes these words,
We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
And with these our hells and our heavens
So few inches apart
We must be awfully small
And not as strong as we think we are
full song and lyrics here
That’s it, in sum total for me. I am not as strong as I think I am at times. I am on a journey, and one I am ill-equipped to complete. I am small, frail, and prone to fail.
I have knowledge but not always wisdom; strength but not always courage. I can begin with zeal but fade in a sea of ennui.
Yesterday, I went out with my sweet baby for Valentine’s Day. We did dinner and a movie. I got the tickets while I waited on Nikki to join me. I instinctively went to the snack bar line. I went there with the intent of buying a large bottle of water. The longer i stood in line, the longer the aroma of popcorn bathed over me. When it was said and done I did have my bottle of water, but also a popcorn. I, of course, rationalized it (but remember we have talked about that before rationalize can be broken down into two words, “rational lies” – and they are just that, the rational lies that we tell ourselves). I thought about how hard this journey has been, how many movies I have been to since the journey begin, all of the popcorn that I have “deprived” myself of, all that I had “endured”. I even looked around to see if anyone who knew of my journey was around to “catch me”. Isn’t it silly I cared more about being caught than I did about letting myself down?? Typical. Typical!
I did enjoy the movie (The VOW ironically enough), and if I am being honest, the popcorn. At least at first. Once my stomach starting reacting to it, not so much.
After the movie, we were to go out to eat. My wife is on a journey of her own. She is not juicing, but is calorie counting and is establishing a lifelong plan on 1800 calories a day. Something that is sustainable and is a good lifestyle choice. She is, though, learning from the juicing experience and getting a large percentage of her caloric intake each day from fruits and veg. Anyway, she has more freedom than I. In addition, she has plateaued on her plan recently so to shock her system she has taken three days off. She is not going silly, but is allowing herself some foods that are not part of her new lifestyle.
Because of all of this, since she had the freedom to do so, I did not want to limit her on her choice of where we went to eat. She chose one of our favorite Thai restaurants. I LOVE Thai food. I am not going to be like the biblical ADAM and say “It is that woman you gave me” and try to shift blame here. The choices I gave to her, I gave; the choices I made were mine.
I know that she is uncomfortable “eating” in front of me, especially when it is food that she knows I like. When you are juicing it is not only you that feels awkward drinking while everyone else is eating; they feel awkward, too. She is extremely considerate of me and everyone in her life and like anyone with the gift of hospitality, is always thinking of others. With all of that in play physically and emotionally, I accepted her suggestion of Thai knowing before I went in that I was going to eat.
When you fail, fail gloriously!
With that in mind, I jumped. It has been over a month since eating beef so I went with a beef entrée with jasmine rice. I also had soup and an appetizer of sushi. I can’t say that I did not enjoy it. It was good. However, I did not enjoy it in the same way I had before and realized afterwards that even without the beef, It would have been just as tasty.
This morning, I looked up the calories that I consumed.
First, the worst thing I had all evening, believe it or not, was the popcorn. This is true even though I did not ask them to put the usual extra squirts of butter on it AND even though I got the kiddie size. Normally, I would have ordered “The Bucket” –over 1 gallon of pocorny goodness (or badness as the case may be.)
- Popcorn – 440 calories for approximately 8 cups
- Spider roll (4 pieces) – 160 calories
- Tom Kha soup – 164.7 calories
- Spicy Garlic Beef – 280.4 calories
- Jasmine rice (1 cup) – 205 calories
You know, I could have stopped with the Sushi and the Soup and I would not have been “that” bad. But when the kid blows it, I blow it with style and I was “all-in” and committed to my night of falling off the wagon. Again, I rationalized it, in part, by saying I’ve already fallen, I might as well get my fill. Boy did I. 1250.1 calories worth! Over half of those calories came from the rice and popcorn.
In the Aftermath
In addition to the feelings of guilt and betrayal to myself and to you I almost immediately felt the impact on my body. I realized that these foods I used to consume on a daily basis instantly made me feel worse, not better. While 1250 calories (and the 1700 calories total for the day) are far better than most Americans and it may not create an instant result on the scale I know that I will have other side effects. Here is what my night off the wagon did, both experienced and anticipated:
- I was sluggish this morning and overslept
- My energy is lower
- I felt bloated within 30 minutes of eating
- I have been gassy and my digestion has been out of whack.
- I reintroduced toxins to my body that I spent 7 long days trying to get rid of.
- My face is puffy this morning, symptom of retained water
Success Amidst the Rubble
Even though I was “bad”, I was not as bad as I could have been. That is not justification, it is reality. Some of the lessons learned along the pathway of this journey have carried forward which gives me how that they are become established patterns. For example,
- I did forego the butter on the popcorn and order a size that was about 1/4th the size of my normal order and I was okay with that.
- I never did order a soft drink, not at the theater not at the restaurant.
- My wife and I split the sushi appetizer, formerly we each would have had our own, we still may have swapped but we each would have had our own plate.
- The restaurant is right across from an ice cream store and formerly I would have swung by for a ice cream “night cap”.
As an MBA student, one of the things we learn is to evaluate our plans upon their completion in order to determine the take-aways so we can improve next time we are in a similar situation. What are the lessons that will buoy me while on the juicing phase? What are the lessons I can take forward once I am in the world of eating “real food” again?
Lessons learned in my night of “debauchery:”
- If I go hungry, I will stumble. Take Juice or alternatives with me.
- If I fail to plan, I am planning to fail. Failures do not happen by accident.
- Lower quality foods make me feel bad physically.
- I can get by on less than I thought
- I need to quit when I am satisfied, not when I am full.
- I should order my entrée only after I have finished my appetizer and soup/salad. If I order it all at once I am ordering with my eyes and my anticipation/expectation not with my sense of hunger. By putting this stop-gap in the process, I can reevaluate if I am satisfied, or if I am truly still in NEED of more. Last night, I believe I would have been quite alright had I stopped with the sushi and soup.
- This journey is long, but is not over.
- This journey is for my good.
- The short term pleasure is not worth the long term sacrifice.
- I can and likely will fall. I need to treat myself with grace when it happens.
- I am not immune or invincible; I am not as strong as I think I am.
- If you fall, start again.
- Failing does not make you a failure; quitting does.
- It is not about being perfect, it is about better choices. That is the way progress is made, change is implemented, and habits form. It is about learning, growing, and becoming not about arriving.
- It takes total commitment, it is an everyday thing not a sometimes thing. I can do this.
I am officially at my midway point today. 37 days completed, 37 days in front of me. A Lifetime of better choices, informed by the success and failures of this journey after that.
If you fell off yesterday or on some other holiday, or just for the heck of it. That’s okay, don’t give up and don’t feel like you can’t do it. together we will make this. we will walk this journey and we will arrive at our destination. When we do we will be better, not only because our goal is a good goal but because of the knowledge and wisdom we acquired along the way.
If I have let you down, I am sorry. I am not a teacher, but a student. I stumbled, and you may, but let’s pick up and walk forward…together. I am getting back on track today with a day full of mean green, we’ll see what the scales say later today. For now…
Juice on; (Re)Join the Journey!