Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Celebrating the small

Please share with me a moment of silence for my shiny white laptop computer - something about RAM, PMUs, and a logic board. All I know is that it involves major inconvenience, excessive expense, and a whole heap of swearing (um, from me, not the computer). This, as they say, is life.

To alleviate such emotional turmoil, I scout the kitchen in search of rations to a) make me feel better and b) heal my computer. Vegetables accomplish neither. Ice cream scores one; that’s better than zero. Decision made, diet jettisoned. (A Nobel Prize is mine I’m sure, if I can figure out the nexus between silicon chips and potato chips.)

We label foods “good” and “bad” as if nutrients had moral degrees, and in swallowing the ingredients, we assume their value. “I am bad for eating the chocolate,” screams my inner critical parent. I should know better than that by my age.

I seek to calm the emotional storm by ingesting more, as if the crunching and chewing can drown the thoughts. It is to no avail; the gale rages unappeased, safe harbor is lost. Tonight is lost tonight; I must wait until tomorrow for repairs. Where’s that cake?

If guilt and shame were motivational, we’d all be skinny. To the contrary, it is vital that humiliation be banished. We all slide. We fall. The climb to Wisdom is gradual.

To improve I must achieve satisfaction in the knowledge that I now recover faster and harm my efforts less often. When compared to an unrealistic expectation of the perfect dieter, I am doomed to fall short. Without change, I will again eat to medicate that sadness. Overeating leads to guilt that withers into sadness. Such are the fascinating these cycles that drive our lives.

No matter how one spins it, a box of cereal and a pound of Swiss cheese at 10PM is not a healthy way to eat. Yet, reminding myself that what I used to do weekly, I now do monthly, generates a faint beacon of encouragement. A leaky raft still saves more dreams than a rusty weight.

Celebrating miniscule successes can be a slow path to health. But it is assured that beating oneself up doesn’t work at all.

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