My family and I just returned from a few nights in Atlantic City to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday. I’ll spare you the gory details of all the martinis and steaks and desserts that I may or may not have consumed…just suffice it to say that most of what I ate was most certainly not POINT-friendly.
But fear not. For I certainly paid the price for my indulgences later on.
Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and re-experience my former 250+ pound body. Even for just a single day. People always tell me I look like a different person now, but what they couldn’t possibly realize is that I truly do feel like an entirely different person. I still suffer from shock when I walk into a clothing store and easily slide into a size 8 or 10, and it amazes me to be able to gaze into a mirror without feeling overwhelmed by a desire to rattle off 15 different things I hate about my body. When I fly to Orlando this summer for 10 days of theme parks, I don’t have to worry about not fitting in the seats on Space Mountain, or sinking the boats on “It’s a Small World.”
It’s hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t schedule my entire day around a 45-minute run, or when I could pull up to a drive-thru at any time of day and devour a bacon cheeseburger and fries without a second thought. It’s troubling to think about how – less than three years ago – my idea of exercise was walking from the couch to the refrigerator, and most summer evenings were spent slurping gargantuan cookies ‘n cream milkshakes from Baskin’ Robbins.
To think of who I was then, to recall the way I abused my own body, and to remember just how unhappy I felt every minute of every day is enough to make my stomach churn. And yet when faced with temptation (i.e. endless opportunities to eat and drink in the casino capital of New Jersey), I often find myself succumbing to some of my former habits.
The good news? Now that I’m no longer in denial about my food addiction, and I accept that I’m going to have to be a Weight Watcher for the rest of my life, I find that I’m able to pick up the pieces and dust myself off when I do slip up. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far from perfect when it comes to sticking to my healthy eating and exercise regimen, and that in times of celebration I typically do allow myself to eat whatever treats happen to come my way.
But after I enjoy that last spoonful of ice cream or sip of margarita, I’m reminded of why I absolutely must return to my healthy habits. Immediately.
All throughout our brief vacation, my body felt as though it had been hit by a truck. I suffered from all-day heartburn, lethargy, and even nausea. I tried to go for a run on our first day home after three days of cuban restaurants, martini bars, and chinese bistros, and found myself struggling just to maintain a brisk walking pace for 30 minutes. It was absolute torture.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop thinking to myself: This is how I ALWAYS used to feel.
When I eat and drink the way I did in Atlantic City, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and sleep. I don’t have the energy or stamina to stroll the length of the boardwalk, let alone subject my body to my usual daily workout. I have trouble buttoning my jeans, and I suddenly become self-conscious in a swimsuit.
And this is all not to mention the ramifications I’ll see on the scale.
I seem to forget that while I may give myself permission to indulge from time to time, my body can physically no longer handle all of the fat and sugar found in the kinds of meals I was ordering and drinks I was imbibing last week.
And that’s because, both mentally and physically, I AM a different person now.
Next time, I need to remember that as much I enjoy drinking myself into oblivion or gorging myself on fish and chips in the moment, it takes roughly six seconds after I’ve completed my meal to realize that it is so not worth it.