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Put priorities in perspective to avoid temptation
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A few weeks ago, I committed to two spring races, and boy, is it a good thing I did.
You see, in my last column I wrote about how I was getting back on the wagon, so to speak, and returning to my disciplined routine.
But I also acknowledged holiday temptations — and boy, did I undermine their power.
I recently attended a lunchtime meeting where I was begged to eat. After hesitating briefly, I gave in to some chips and artichoke dip, pepperoni slices, a heavenly red-velvet cupcake and even a couple pieces of packaged candy.
“I didn’t know you ate junk food,” one of my sources said. (Note: Please forgive me as these quotes are from memory and not verbatim. This conversation was not necessarily on the record.) “Judging from what I read in Living Well, I didn’t think you did that.”
I explained that I’ve been on Weight Watchers, which, to my delight, actually allows indulgences. The success is that it holds us accountable for indulgences so we’re better able to respond to the next temptation. And no, the company is not paying me to say it, and I do not receive any sort of discount for publicly disclosing my secret. In fact, I’m still paying them!
But his comment reminded me that even though I have visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I’m still on a journey. It’s a road that has included lifestyle changes like fewer nights on the town, a more reliable exercise plan, swapping Cheetos for clementines and eating Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream.
Since beginning to train for the Hilton Head Half-Marathon and the Cooler in Pooler 15K, I’ve been much more dedicated to activity. But cookies and treats have had an even stronger lure, and my food points have gone a little out-of-control.
Truth is, I haven’t even gotten to the Christmas Eve mostaccioli, the sweets in my stocking or New Year’s champagne.
To help me conquer these occasions, I’ve reflected on my reasons for making my health a priority:
• Unlike hermit crabs, this is the only body that I’m going to get. Imagine knowing you’re only going to have one car for your entire life — you’d wash it, wax it, maintain it and ensure it is kept in tip-top shape. Apply that thought to yourself.  
• My grandmother recently told me we’ve got diabetes and heart disease in our lineage. While a solid bill of health is no guarantee, research indicates that many of these problems can be averted or delayed with proper nutrition and exercise.
• My after-lunch sluggishness tended to incite sugar and caffeine cravings, but I’ve noticed that with a whole diet and natural sugars, I don’t tend to drag. What I once thought was a “2 p.m.  slump” is really a spike and crash of blood-sugar levels. Since identifying that correlation, I feel much more energized throughout the day and am able to power through my days with more gusto — which means I’m in a better mood overall.
Now, I’m going to cross my fingers and hope these reflections keep me on track and reduce my holiday damage — and I hope they inspire you, too.

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