The other day on facebook I posted a confession. I was sitting in the airport on my way to Austin and thinking about how travel days *used* to be for me. I binged like crrrraaaaaazy on travel days.
I was almost like a kid who covers their eyes and thinks it makes them invisible. Traveling alone, stuffing my purse with multiple snacks and treats, surreptitiously eating them out of my purse so the person sitting next to me didn’t judge my over-indulgence….it was a total nightmare.
I can honestly say that I did it primarily out of boredom. After all, what could I possibly do with my time if I wasn’t stuffing my face during a layover or while stuck on a plane?
It was my guilty pleasure. I’d get through security and immediately go to Hudson News or the like. I’d buy a soda, some kind of chocolate, some kind of non-chocolate sweet and something crunchy. Duh…I needed options. What if I got bored of the chocolate? What would I do when it was gone? I never left with just one thing. Never. Then I’d go park my butt at the gate and start eating. I never took the packages out of my purse. Like that invisible kid…if they couldn’t see my haul, it didn’t exist.
The mere idea of sitting for hours in an airport and then on a plane without food seemed impossible. What would I do? How could I resist Cinnabon? I’d go crazy! Heck, I might starve!
I looked forward to it. So many options! Frozen yogurt or Cinnabon? How about both? Auntie Annies? Oooh, my fave! Gotta have options, gotta have options. And, of course, I justified the indulgence by saying I’d be extra strict as soon as I got home. This was the “last time”. I was seemingly incapable of seeing that for what it was – the same story I had told a million times before and not followed through on. A convenient lie to allow me to indulge with less guilt. A primary reason I was fat despite wanting desperately to lose weight.
The result? Travel days exhausted me. I felt bloated, disgusted, frustrated and embarrassed. I had no energy. I could hardly keep my eyes open. I was mad at myself. I turned what was left of my energy toward planning for my super-strict diet that would begin in a few days. M.I.S.E.R.Y.
It wasn’t fun but I kept doing it. I didn’t consider how I’d feel when the last bite of food was gone. I only considered the escape I’d feel as I worked through it all. If I had maybe asked myself how I would feel 5 minutes later I might have made a different choice. But for years that was my routine.
Airport = binge. Binge = guilt. Guilt = restriction. Restriction = deprivation. Deprivation = binge. Gaaaahhhhhh. Such a waste of time and energy.
It wasn’t until I began to really question my behavior and my airport process that I was able to change it. I asked myself questions like:
- Is that food even worth it? (No)
- Is it totally delicious and am I savoring each bite? (Not at all)
- What else could I do? (Jussssst about anything)
- Am I hungry? (Rarely. Just bored)
- How does it make me feel afterwards? (Disgusting and embarrassed)
- What would make me feel amazing? (NOT doing any of that…)
- How could I spend that time differently? (Again….so many options)
Know what I realized? It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t like I was going to my favorite ice cream shoppe and slowly savoring my favorite flavor. That would be worth it. This was Cheetos, Twizzlers and peanut butter cups. Cheap thrills. And I wasn’t enjoying each bite. I was mindlessly working my way to the bottom of the package while reading or watching a movie. I didn’t feel good afterwards. In fact, I felt terrible. Emotionally and physically.
I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t need it. And if I was going to indulge, I want it to be an A+ worth-every-bite kinda thing. Not freaking Twizzlers. Ya know?
What else could I do with the time? Anything I want!!! I could call a friend, listen to a podcast, read a book, get work done, clear out my email, walk….you name it! Boredom is a choice and it was one I didn’t have to make.
I realized that if anything, I should probably eat less on travel days because I’m so much less active! And, with the number of restaurants in most airports, I could probably make it through just about any travel day without changing my normal eating routine much at all. Plus, if I could do that, I’d have far more energy, I’d be in a better mood, my clothes would look better and I’d be happier! Duh!
So I did it. Now, I keep my eating pattern on travel days just about the same as any other day. I have plenty of coffee in the morning whether I’m at home or the airport. If I’m at the airport I’ll often ask them to blend butter in it. They look at me weird, but they usually say yes. I’ll order a burger without the bun or a salad with some chicken at an airport restaurant. Or a steak if I’m feeling indulgent. Either way, there are no reasons for me to make excuses unless I choose to.
I don’t want cheap thrills. I’m not going to waste an indulgence on something that isn’t EPIC. Like this weekend in Austin I had salted chocolate & olive oil ice cream. THAT was worth it. Cheetos? Not worth it. Just not worth it.
I value feeling great. I value worthwhile indulgences. I value creativity and productivity. I value self-respect. I value moderation. What do you value?