Updated: Dec 16, 2021
I am sitting on the tarmac heading back to Toronto and my home as I write this. This trip has had me thinking a lot. It has me thinking about my journey as a whole.
Often we head out into adventure without any thought. There is excitement heading into the unknown. But there is also hesitancy. Letting things happen that you have limited control over is hard for most.
I arrived at the airport to go home 2 hours in advance as suggested by the airline. I spent an hour in line to drop off the bag I pre-checked. Then it was about 20 minutes in security. Around me, people were freaking out, mad, and getting more and more stressed about making flights. People's energy was crappy, but I understood nothing I could do would change the outcome. Either I make my flight or I go on another one. By stressing at that moment, I wasn't going to change the situation, and in fact, freaking out could cause me more harm than good from a psychological perspective.
Often in times of stress, we revert to our old ways. It's human nature. We seek comfort in things such as food. I have said that I am an anxious person. So my biggest fear was that I would revert to my old habits and eat until I was uncomfortable while travelling. Then all of the work I have done on myself would be ruined.
I ate baked goods, French fries, veggie burgers and movie popcorn. But here's the thing, I knew I would be eating this stuff. I may not have known what I would eat, but I was sure I was going to eat it. I refused to hold my mental health hostage because I was scared to eat fries or cookies. One day I ate a gluten-free muffin that had so many fantastic and fibrous things in it, I didn't need to eat for hours. I didn't want to eat for hours. In the past, I would have had two muffins, cookies and maybe then gone for a substantially uncomfortable meal.
I don't want to think about food all the time. It is most definitely an issue that is a struggle. That's why I cook a bunch of stuff at once and have it ready for the week. I don't have to use my emotional brainpower to figure out what I should be eating. It's there, ready to go. There is nothing wrong with that approach on day to day basis. But when it gets to the point that we feel like we can't function in other situations, there is a problem.
It's so easy to keep yourself in the bubble. But if you can't let go and understand that you have no control, you are setting yourself up for potential disaster. Things get thrown at you that you can't control, and you have to make the decision how you deal with that moment at the moment you're in right then and there. All the planning in the world can't always prepare you because you won't always know what will happen. For me, overindulging in food is how I would usually deal with those moments of stress and chaos.
I did mentally prepare for this trip and work through all of these issues, but just because you can play those scenarios in your head, it doesn't mean that when faced with the problems, you won't go "off the rails." Did I question my choices? On occasion, I did. But every choice was thoughtful, even the movie popcorn. I have to give up all the stress and worry about food and enjoy myself at some point in my life. The experience of eating without feeling like a huge disaster waiting at the end of that choice is freeing. I'm tired of living in guilt and regret. Because life shouldn't be that way, what I eat shouldn't dictate how good my day will be.
As I said last week, it's okay to be imperfect. I love imperfection. I am a spectacular work in progress and spend a lot of time thinking about how I fit into my little slice of life. Life isn't about focusing on the negative crap; it's being the dog who sticks its head out the window of the car when it's moving to take in everything around you.
Getting away from the routine has made me more aware of how I react in certain situations. I also know that there are moments where this will be harder than others. From now on, I know that I need to continue working to make my relationship with food in those unusual moments not take over my psyche and become counterproductive.
At the beginning of my trip, I made a decision that I also made at the beginning of my journey: I don't want to think of food constantly, and I don't want to feel guilty for eating anything.
I am mentally prepared for this, but it isn't always a straight line. I had to choose what to stress about and when to let go. There were moments of guilt. Then I threw that guilt out the window and understood that there are things you can't control. That's the magic word; control. I also decided to say to myself: It's not the last time you will ever eat it. If you want it, go for it. There is no point in being miserable and feeling guilty for eating and enjoying it.
I talk a lot about that scale being just a number. And for the most part, I do believe that. Not stepping on a scale for three weeks is a mix of freeing and scary. But it's just a data point in time, and if I genuinely believe that, I should chill and let it go. Regardless of the number, when I get there, I know I have done my best, enjoyed my life and that my world won't end because I went away for 12 days. Something so freeing about this feeling.
I decided to base how I was doing not only based on my level of physical comfort but also on how my clothes fit. I brought a pair of pants last year I felt uncomfortable wearing at the time. But they were never uncomfortable the whole time on th