Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When the dream becomes bigger than the pie.

Oh dear. I sheepishly return after more than a two month absence. My winter months, which I love to spend quietly curled up reading and writing, have been quite the opposite, with travel and a busy schedule.

This is not to say I haven't had some thoughts twirling around in my little pea brain though. Here's one of them, a post I've actually had in the hopper for weeks.

I woke up one January morning with a killer migraine. For weeks I had been bloated, stiff, sluggish, pasty-looking, all that. It wasn't pretty. I knew I had a bad case of sugar overload and post holiday blubbery. And I was clearly sick. Of it!

You see, the previous day I'd noticed a bowl of nice green apples sitting on the kitchen counter which no one was eating ... and whadaya know, a frozen pie crust in the freezer. And wouldn't it just make sense to not allow that perfectly good food to go to waste??? Why don't I just throw together my Mom's famous and fabulous sour cream apple pie recipe? (And yep, there was some sour cream in the fridge ... so handy!) You know, just clean out the cupboards and be resourceful? And oooooh, how I love pies.

But of course, the REAL reason I wanted the pie was because I knew that the holiday goodies were gone and I was grieving the loss of them. The cookies, chocolates, the gingerbread ... gone. And I subconsciously dug in my heels over the idea that it was time to get on the healthy track again. SO not festive!

So I made that scrumptious pie and I had my way with it. My husband was of no help whatsoever ... he was out of town. I did take a slice to my neighbor who shares my passion for pies. But that didn't help much and by day 2 I had consumed nearly half of the pie. Then I began eyeing it warily every time I passed through the kitchen. It seemed it was trying to tell me something.
Funny how our trusty brains spring into action to save our asses when we're in trouble. I was reminded of something I already knew too well. To keep my eye on the prize ... the prize being my dreams and goals and passionate ideas about what I plan to do with life in the second half. And these aren't mediocre dreams, lemme-tell-ya ... these are huge, wonderful, exciting dreams. I know that the only way I will ever realize and enjoy these dreams is to be healthy and stay healthy until the end of the line. The dream is important. The dream is all I think about. The dream is BIG.

And this may seem like a BIG leap ... from apple pie to dreams-come-true. But actually, it's directly connected. When the dream becomes bigger than the pie, well ... that's how you stay on the healthy track.

I learned a long time ago that, given two options, it is simply human nature to lean into the one that is the most enticing and thrilling. The one with the most emotional power. The brain naturally selects the most enticing, powerful thing and the scales are tipped. Obvious, right? Sometimes too obvious for us to see. Here is a very personal example of how that works. I'm happy to share it with you with hopes that it helps you see the power you have in your life.

I gave up drinking many years ago but not without a lot of failed attempts and a tremendous struggle. For a long time alcohol offered me euphoria, escape, avoidance, and yep, good times. But as time wore on that changed and alcohol began to represent misery for me... it became a negative factor in every aspect of my life. So I had two things resting on the scales; a drinking life of misery and a sober, healthy, clear-headed and joyful life. One option beckoned to me and the other sickened me. When one looked like a champion and the other looked like a loser, the scales tipped dramatically. The brain just naturally selects the more powerful and desirable option when it comes down to the wire. The brain helps you find strength in that selection so you can carry on. Really. I finally left the misery behind and never looked back.

So it's like that with weight issues vs. a healthy body. For me anyway, I have this BIG life ahead of me, full of passionate hopes and dreams. Nothing can stand in the way of that. With that in mind, the scales are tipped because the dream becomes so much bigger than the pie, i.e. unhealthy habits. As long as I keep my eye on The Dream, THAT is what works for me. Not counting calories or points or fat grams. Not measuring and weighing my food. Not weighing myself every day, or even every week. All of that simply brings focus to the idea that you believe you are fat, never good enough, always battling the bulge. That kind of focus will actually keep you stuck in the fat rut. You only need to focus on health and the rest will follow. And you need to want health because ....???? Because your life, your dreams, your future is magnificent. Bigger than the pie. Much bigger than what the pie can offer you. It's really just a mind trick.

(And yup ... I threw away the rest of the pie.)

Now, this is not to say that I can snap my fingers and this works like magic. Because trust me, with my appetite, I could easily be as big as Texas. We all have to constantly be mindful of The Big Dream and hold it up against the pie like a crucifix. I takes focus and because we are imperfect human beings (and not the Dali Lama), we can get lazy or forget to focus ... we slip and stumble and sometimes go on, oh ... I dunno, holiday eating binges??? But we know what to do ... get up and remember again that the dream is bigger than the pie.

Keep the most enticing thing forever strong and powerful in your busy little head. (Note to self: and that ain't Mom's sour cream apple pie.)

P.S.  Those of you who followed my previous blog, 128 Sticks of Butter, might remember that I went through a very interesting journey a few years ago, starting off with one idea about weight loss and arriving at quite another by the end of my last blog post a year ago (March 11, 2011). You can probably get the gist of it just by reading the first couple of posts and the last couple of posts. But basically it was a bit of a epiphany. That blog is inactive now but I've left it up because I've found that people are still reading about the unexpected path I took, and some find it helpful. Please visit if you'd like.

1 comment:

Midlife Roadtripper said...

You should have called me. I would have finished that pie for you.