The Sins of Our Past
I was a cheese steak junkie in college. Most nights, around 10PM, I would pick up the phone and within a half hour, the delivery man was knocking on the door to my dorm. I was reminded of this the other night when I was having dinner with an old friend who joked that she could out me to all my clients about all the bad sh*t I did in college. And she most certainly could. Because I did lots of bad sh*t. I drank. Sugary sweet drinks like Boons and Franzia. I got high. (Sorry, Mom!) I ate. A lot. My mini fridge and pantry were filled with instant ramen noodles, chocolate and enough Snapple iced tea to keep the company in business for a long time.
At the same time my friend made her comment, I was out east visiting my family in the Hamptons. My aunt’s house, where I was staying has a pantry filled with foods of my past. Oreo cookies, chips, Milanos, processed American cheese, white bread and my beloved Snapple. All my favorites. And because I was there, surrounded by family, swimming in the pool, playing at the beach, talking late into the night with my teenage cousins, I indulged in all of it. And it was glorious in its badness. Especially after coming off a 31 day movement challenge.
I’m home now and back on track. Back to my green smoothies, plant-based meals, healthy snacks. I couldn’t help but wonder will the sins of our past always be present in our lives? Can I honestly say that if someone offered me an Oreo today I wouldn’t take one? If I said no, I’d probably be lying.
I don’t care how focused you are. Temptation is always going to exist. Our memories are associated with smell and taste. Certain foods make us think of our childhood home, our best friend’s house, our first meal with the person we marry. I don’t see this as a bad thing. For me, an occasional fall off the wagon isn’t going to steer me back to those halcyon college days. If I eat the occasional cheeseburger, I seriously doubt I will begin hankering for cheese steak every night. But I work with a lot of people who feel exactly that way. That if one bit of the forbidden food passes their lips, then it’s over. All their hard work has been for naught.
I disagree with this. If we forbid ourselves of the occasional indulgence, then I think our lives become devoid of something. This does not mean I give you carte blanch to gorge yourself at McDeath. Some things should never be revisited. But I do believe we should have those moments where we pretend to be 18 again, ordering cheese steaks and drinking Snapple. It’s a moment in time; it does not define your future. If you have an off day (or in my case, an off week) then you can always get back on the healthy train because you already know what to do. Your knowledge base outweighs your indulgent side. Your sins of your past won’t become the sins of your future.
Do you have a hard time staying on the healthful track when visiting family or traveling for work or pleasure? What makes you fall off the wagon into the eating sins of your past? What do you do to get back on track? I’d love to hear in the comments.
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About the Author: Courtney Abrams is a Health Coach and Founder of Roslyn Wellness. Trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she helps clients work within the realities of their day to day lives to find ways to make small and manageable changes to their health that can maintained over time. Her clients include people trying to lose weight, beat sugar, increase their energy, cook simple healthful food and reduce stress to name a few. She also shares a passion for food policy and educating people about the foods they are eating and the governmental role behind much of it. You can learn more about Courtney and Roslyn Wellness at http://RoslynWellness.com.