My wife and I were talking yesterday about the Missouri State Fair and the one time I have actually gone. Believe it or not I’m not too big into the whole State Fair scene. I’m more of a city guy, but we took the trek down to Sedalia, MO back in 2004, on a hot, humid, August day and to be honest had a humdinger of a time. I saw some pigs, and cows, and chickens, and flowers, and horses, and a dog show. You know standard State Fair* stuff, right?
* I still don’t get tractor pulls. I mean really who cares? Oh and the carnival. Remind me never to allow my children to ride carnival rides that whip upside down at breakneck speeds that just happened to be constructed (a term I use very loosely here) in less than 4 hours by Lester and his half wit carny brothers.
In addition to the wonderful odor of animal smells there was the classic aroma of “food on a stick.” I think you all know what I’m talking about. State Fair food has to be portable and it has to be deep fried. And what is more convenient than a stick to tote around deep fried food? I mean you have your classic hot dogs on a stick, Twinkies on a stick, pickles on a stick, chicken on a stick, donuts on a stick, meatballs on a stick, biscuits and gravy on a stick, ice cream on a stick, nachos on a stick, and salad on a stick? Ok there is not really salad on a stick but if there was, well that would just be gross. I mean there would be salad dressing all over the place and it just wouldn’t be very good. In addition to all this food on a stick they have smoked turkey legs that weigh roughly 37 pounds and tacos with sour cream and guacamole and quadruple cheeseburgers with bacon, mushrooms, and fried eggs on them. It is a food lover’s paradise. I was in heaven. Oh man oh man was this going to be good.
Except…. I was on a diet. The Atkins diet to boot and I didn’t want to “cheat.”
And that is why I don’t call it a diet. People “cheat” on diets which is ridiculous way to think about losing weight. I told Rachel that I cannot believe that I didn’t eat some of the things that I wanted to back then. How stupid of me to actually believe that I was never, ever going to eat carbs again. Really? No pasta or bread for the rest of my life? Yeah, that’s realistic. In the scope of my entire life that has spanned a glorious or inglorious (whichever way you look at it) 29 years, what difference would it have made if I had indulged in a couple of corn dogs and a cheeseburger and fries that day??? The answer…it would not have a made a bit of difference to me today. Not one. In fact if I went to the State Fair tomorrow I would eat some of those things and not even think twice about it. You see, when you commit to change your lifestyle, it is not a banishment of all foods that are not good for you. What a silly way to try and live, to deprive yourself of some of the pleasures in life.
That is why I know I will be ok in my journey. I can eat that food, and yes enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Dinners. BBQ’s with my family and friends and drinks at happy hour. Sure I am entirely conscience of what I am putting in my body and the effect that it has on the scale. I’m still going to eat the way I should be eating all the other times. I am too far in, to slip back into my old habits. I have way too much time and energy invested in the new version of me to let it go away. But I’m not in prison. Eating still makes me happy, but the difference now is that it is not my hiding place. It is not the shelter that I take cover in whenever life sucks. I have new habits of exercise and a new motivation to be best person I can be. I’m not afraid that eating a piece of cheesecake will make me go back to my old ways. I am confident that will not happen.
Not now or not ever.
In five years I don’t want to look back say that I wish would have eaten that fried Snickers bar on a stick I want to seize the day. I want to say dang! That was freaking delicious, now let’s go run 3 miles!