The month of April came out of nowhere, like….suddenly. We went an entire winter full of rain, sleet, and snow. And just like that, without so much as a warning, Spring arrived with all of its rays of sunshine, birds chirping, and the call for less clothing. Sure, we knew it was coming. But you always feel like you have more time. We’d done fairly well keeping up with our exercise routine all winter long. But we’d also slacked off some with the late night dinners, indulging in treats, and me and this gummy candy fetish had become one. With that and a slight slump in activity comes an additional 10 pounds or so that feel like 20.
Treading very lightly, my husband made a few comments about noticing the added pounds…..”on both of us”, only adding “us” after getting a death glare. So WE came up with the joint commitment to utilize one of the two juicers that we’d invested in. Of course, we’ve always used them, but not as meal replacements, only in conjunction with actual food. WE decided, as in both of us…..together…….he and I………that we would juice for two meals out of the day, and eat a solid dinner at night. This also meant no snacking, sugar, or additives throughout the day. 10 pounds is nothing really. A month or two, and we’d knock this out…..Right?
Well, let me just tell you. I know my husband. Part of being married is instinct by experience. I knew within myself that every time that he said: “Okay Shaunee…..and NO CHEATING!” I knew that was him internalizing how hard it would be for HIM to not cheat. He’d say: “I’m dead serious! I know what you do at work!” That really meant: “I know what I do while you’re at work.” He’d say: “You just sit there snacking all day. I’m serious! No cheating!” That really meant: “I sit here snacking all day. I hope that I don’t cheat.” If there is anything that my husband likes, it’s food……without rules. He is the anti-establishment type of dude. He will not care to do something until you tell him that he can’t. His appetite is 50% what he likes, and 50% what you tell him that he can’t have. I knew the moment that we stood there together committing, that he would not get through the first day without breaking one of these strict, discipline orientated rules that he was establishing. He’d left very little wiggle room, with very little time to prepare for the structure he’d set.
You see, much like anything that requires hard core discipline, the weight loss battle is a battle of the mind. A year ago I went on a 40 day program that was the most strenuous diet that I’d ever indulged in. I lost 30 pounds. But it took me three weeks before actually starting the diet to get my mind in order! I had to take myself through a process of preparing myself to not have. I conditioned my mind day after day to be able to deny, sustain, endure, and focus! It took me three weeks of getting ready to say ‘NO’ to be able to actually say ‘NO’! So as we stood there talking to one another, right after discussing our Sunday night dinner which consisted of steaks, potatoes, and all the fixings, I knew that neither of us had really come to grips with the reality that our lips wouldn’t be able to touch our most favorite foods for a couple of months. In essence, for the time being, it was just good talking. The real work hadn’t started yet. We were going to be attempting something very difficult, COLD TURKEY, with only 8 hours of mental preparation.
The next morning, I pulled out my pre-made juices in their mason jars, packed them in my lunch bag, and prepared for a hard first day. The first week or so is difficult, as you’re facing a lot of firsts. The first time saying ‘no’ to free donuts. The first time saying ‘no’ to sugar and crème in your coffee. The first time turning down the bowl of chips on the counter at work. The first time walking away from the free lunch at work. And the snacking……JESUS….Why has thou forsaken me? Telling myself that I can’t eat 12 cereal bars by noon was hard. But I did it. I engaged in several side talks with myself, reminding myself of the benefit and reward, as I sat there with an indentation in my stomach from the elastic in my stretch pants. It was a gentle reminder of why I needed to stay the course. And I did. I stayed the course all day, happily drinking my juice, and eating fresh fruit and veggies. I wasn’t starving, but I had to fight cravings. Funny thing is, I never used my husband as a source of accountability. I was doing this for me. Even after receiving a “threat call” around lunch time, asking how I was hanging in there. I asked him the same, and with great confidence in his voice, he said: “I’m good!!! Just came from the gym, on my way home to take a fresh swig of juice, and I’m great!” But I knew better……it was still too early. He had another 8 hours until dinner. My lips were curled to the moon in cynicism.
I walked in the house around 4, and immediately noticed that the juicer was still in the dishwasher…..the way that I’d left it the night before. I was immediately suspicious that my suspicions had been confirmed. Then……..I trotted over to the sink. There in the sink, was two plates. One had corn dog residue, which I knew was from my 2-year old. But the other…..the other…..there was no mistaking the remnants of mayo, cheese, bread, and meat crumbles. HOMIE HAD BEEN SMASHING. I picked up the plate, held it eye level, just like a crime scene investigator, and examined the contents to be 100% certain, knowing that he’d try to accuse my imagination of conjuring up things. Yep….there was no mistaking this…….DEFINITELY meat crumbles……And just in case my eyes were mistaken, the veggie burger wrapper on the top of the garbage in the can, was confirmation from the Holy Spirit. Just so you know…….veggie burgers, or any solid foods until dinner were banned substances and contraband, let alone slathering it with mayo, bread, and cheese! I walked upstairs, and immediately laid into him. He smiled, shrugging, and diverting his eyes. It took me 5 minutes of carefully laying out the evidence, along with actually going back to the kitchen to retrieve the plate and wrapper, to FINALLY get a sheepish confession. He said: “I WAS JUST SO HUNGRY!”………Holy heavens…..Aren’t we all?!?!?!
Funny thing is, I wasn’t upset. As I stated before, I definitely expected this 100% knowing my husband’s zeal to bite off more than he can chew….literally. But it wasn’t enough to detour me. My motive to begin with didn’t consist of who was keeping me accountable. I was keeping myself accountable. And when YOU have YOUR mind set, the external is only there to confirm or deny what you have already resolved internally. The truth is, my process and my husband’s process are quite different. What it takes for us to accomplish the same goal is quite different. He was working to hold me accountable to something that I didn’t need the encouragement for. In fact, his wasted efforts could have been spent on making the necessary adjustments for himself.
It’s not just my husband. It’s all of us at times. We become the cheerleader or police for others in areas that we have not yet perfected. We’re so busy watching or coaching the progress or failures of others that we have deceived ourselves into believing that we have arrived, and don’t need to monitor ourselves. It isn’t until we begin the process of setting out on the same journey that we realized we’ve wasted our attention on areas that didn’t need it, and in all actuality, WE needed to pay attention to our own process in order to not fall into the same failures that we expect of others. It’s the mote in our eye while focusing on the speck in others. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but necessary. No matter where you are, or what you’ve set out to do, take a moment to focus on just one thing, YOU. You could be missing everything right in front of you while looking at everything that you think is in front of another. You’ll look up, and they are right where they should be, while you’re still at where they started.