Tuesday, October 7, 2014


A wise man once said, "If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it's lethal."

I disagree. I crave routine. Routine keeps me sane. And happy. And healthy.

Certainly I am capable -- and often really enjoy -- mixing things up. But those are the treats. The chocolate you enjoy once a week. The beer you have on the weekends. Getting a massage. Those aren't things you can do every day.

September, as I've mentioned, was not routine in any way. From having an exchange student, to board meetings, presentations and after-hours work events, to my parents visiting, my routine went right out the window. And with no routine, there was less clean eating, less exercise, less structure to my health.

With all of that also comes less willpower. More mouth hunger.

Mouth hunger is an interesting phenomena. If you've never experienced it, it's kind of like eating out of boredom. But the feeling, the absolute need to eat, is overwhelming. Physically, you're not hungry. Often times you're full, but you still have this strong sensation to eat. I'm able to recognize it. I'm not always able to stop myself, but at least, I recognize it.

Last week when my parents were visiting, I made my dad several batches of cookies. I literally had a carb hangover -- my stomach hurt from the amount of sugar I put in my body -- and yet, every time I went by the Ziploc bags of cookies, I took two of three. Every single time.

I'm sure there are lots of underlying reasons behind these eating disorder triggers -- and I leave that to my therapist to figure out. But just as quickly as the mouth hunger was uncontrollable, once I got back into a routine, my willpower returned.

October started for me on September 29, when I had my house back to myself, when work meetings seemed to go back to normal and when I was able to plan my meals, pack my lunches and find time on the treadmill.

Sunday, I was wanting something sweet. I had a bag of m&m's in the freezer for baking. (Another aside, I can have all sorts of junk food in my house. If it's not opened, I won't eat it. It won't even tempt me. Once opened, all bets are off.) But Sunday, I felt I could handle it.

I opened the m&m's, put a serving size in a small container and sealed up the bag. I enjoyed every m&m, took my time eating them and really tasted them. And while I thought about them once or twice, I have not gone back to the bag. That is a huge win.

And so, apologies to Paulo Coehlo, but I'll stick to my routine. For me, lack of routine is lethal.

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