Last month I tipped the scale at a number I didn’t think I would ever see again, so I made a decision to go hard core in February paying attention to what I ate. For ten days, I had nothing but fruit, vegetables, water, tofu, coffee, and tea. No bread. No rice. No added sugar. No sweets. And while it was hard from a planning standpoint, it wasn’t actually all that hard. And I felt great. Then the last twenty-four hours happened.
Yesterday morning, I ran a trail race. Then I had about an hour at home before I went to spend a little time with my goddaughter. Then Dave and I went to a gospel performance with our Sunday school class. Then we went to game night with dear friends.
I ate nothing before I ran. After the run, while still at the race, I had post-race pancakes that I knew were off the plan, but I was hungry. At home, I was no longer hungry, but I made myself eat an avocado. Then I ran out the door with nothing planned for my meals. By the time I got to the concert, I was starving, so I had two bags of nuts that I bought at the concession stand. Then at game night, I had strawberries at first, but as the night went on, I relented and inhaled at least half a dozen donut holes. After midnight, when we finally got home, I heated up some vegetables so I could eat something that looked like a meal. Then I went to bed.
This morning, I ate nothing before church. After church, we went to try a new restaurant that opened in our area. Looking at the menu, I realized I wouldn’t be able to eat cleanly as I had been until yesterday, so I decided to splurge on biscuits and gravy and a beet salad – sort of a last meal before I got back on track. It was incredibly good.
But now? Now I feel terrible. We got home from lunch, and I feel dizzy and off-kilter somehow. It took me just a minute to realize that how I feel is directly related to what I’ve eaten for the last twenty-four hours.
Why am I even a little bit surprised that what I put in my body matters? Of course it matters. I know that. I just wasn’t fully aware of just how much it matters. After ten days of nothing but good, clean food, my body is rejecting the garbage I’ve suddenly reverted to. I don’t like this feeling. I don’t want to forget this feeling. And I don’t want this feeling to happen again.
When I started this thing eleven days ago, I was mostly thinking about getting leaner and that was happening. But now, I am shifting my focus to doing what makes me feel the best. Until yesterday, I was largely cooking my own food and actually enjoying being in the kitchen. I was eating lots of good food. In fact, I was struggling to get enough calories given how well I was eating. I was sleeping better. And I felt both alert and well throughout the day.
That’s what I want to choose all the time. I want to choose to feel well. And that starts with what I eat. It’s not just about what I eat, but it starts there.
Last night, as I bit into the first donut hole, Dave, who knew how hard I’d been working to eat well, gave me a questioning look. I said to him something like, “It’s okay. I can start again tomorrow. It’s not the end of the world.” And it’s not. But the choices I made yesterday were the end of the world that I’d created in which I was making good decisions and feeling great. That’s the world I want to live in, so I’m going back. Starting right now.