I like to think of my home as a safe place in all respects, but safe regarding food in particular. I am a firm believer in “setting yourself up for success”—and I say that all the time. And part of what I am referring to involves stocking your pantry and fridge with good, wholesome, healthy foods.
So you can imagine my struggle when my son had to do a “one hundred day project” at school and informed me that his project of choice was to decorate a picture of a lion (his school mascot) with Reeses Pieces.
You have got to be kidding me? A second grader, a glue gun and a bag full of Reeses Pieces is the equation for disaster. However, me and a bag of Reeses Pieces in any scenario…is also the equation for a disaster! It’s amazing how old feelings about food and indulgences you have deprived yourself of for so long can creep back into your mind and become a temptation.
I must be honest with you, I did enjoy a handful of the little orange, yellow and brown tempters. They seemed to call my name from the bag. But I quickly got it under control. This would not have been my response in the past. And I felt good about my decision. But it came on the heels of a recent reality I experienced when looking on the back of the can of some sort of energy drink. It said something to the effect of, “Treat your calories like hundred dollar bills. Make them count.”
That really got me thinking about that concept and how brilliant it is. In the past, I was always an “all or nothing” person. If I fell off the “diet wagon” in the morning I used that as justification to continue to make bad decisions regarding food all day. I would console myself by saying, “I’ll just start tomorrow.” And then tomorrow would become the next week…then the next month…you get the picture.
So I thought about the money connection. Let’s say you had $1,200 and you went on a vacation and early in the morning on that first day you blew $500 of it right away. Would you say to yourself, “Well, I’ve already blown $500 so I might as well just fritter away the remaining $700?”
Absolutely not. You would pace yourself much more responsibly and budget the remaining money for other things you had to pay for. So it should be the same with our calories. If you slip up and blow your calories on…let’s say…some Reeses Pieces, for example, does that mean you eat whatever you want the rest of the day?
Aboslutely not. You pace yourself much more responsibly and budget the remainder of your calories so that you enjoy nutritious, smart choices the rest of the day. You don’t feel guilty, and you stay on track. And that’s one of the biggest challenges with losing weight initially and then with maintaining your weight loss afterwards.
In these tough economic times we all want to get the most for our money. And that’s the way we should view our calories too. If there’s something you really want—then spend those calories on it. But then budget the rest responsibly.
I really have adapted this new “treat money like calories” mindset into my way of thinking. And at the very least—it’s fun to pretend I have $1,200 to spend everyday.