As I write this, I’m sitting on my balcony looking at the ocean in the Domincan Republic. I’m staying at an all inclusive resort so, of course, food & alcohol is absolutely everywhere.
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Before I get specific about how I evaluate all temptations around me & decide which indulgences are worth it, how much & when, I have to share something I read yesterday…
Yesterday on the beach I read “How To Write Like Tolstoy” and the book opens up with a quote I loved:
Peter Carey: I was finally a writer.
Interviewer: What was it that was clicking?
Carey: Age, experience, a simpler form, practice, reading, influence, getting beyond influence.
While I could wax poetic about all of those, the three that resonate with me the most when it comes to evaluating indulgences are: a simpler form, practice & getting beyond influence.
A simpler form:
I’m not into meal plans, food lists, rules about food or any complex dieting strategies or procedures. A simpler approach has been a game changer for me.
I eat when I’m hungry, I eat what is really worth it and I constantly consider how I’ll feel in the morning.
I love dessert. A great bowl of ice cream or delicious piece of red velvet cake is almost always worth a bite to me.
However, much of it straight up sucks. I tried a piece of red velvet cake the other day that had almost no flavor. Texture was nice, it looked great, but it wasn’t very flavorful.
So, I put my fork down and simply stated: “not worth it”.
Yes, I indulge. But, I indulge when it’s really worth it.
That makes indulging pretty infrequent because most things, to me, are just average.
I’m looking for the treats that are so good I want to share it. I’m looking for the treats that make me say, “Oh my God you have to try this!!”
If it’s not worth it, I’m done.
A decision to improve my food choices means almost nothing. Every single day I practice. Leaving one bite of something yummy on my plate is practice.
Leaving a pile of bacon on my plate because it isn’t cooked to my personal preference is practice.
Saying “no thank you” to the offer of a snack because I’m not hungry is practice.
Every single day the world offers me up thousands of opportunities to practice and I’m always looking for them.
I’m not a purist or a perfectionist and I don’t have to be.
I am, however, always practicing.
Getting beyond influence:
Oh man – this is magical and really deserves and entire podcast unto itself. I’ll make that happen.
Even when I’m not on vacation, people routinely offer me food, drinks or make choices around me that aren’t choices I want to make for myself.
Yesterday at the pool everyone was doing shots, including my boyfriend. “C’mon!” he said. “Take a shot with me!”
No thanks, I’m good.
It’s not that I have anything against shots (I did a new-to-me shot last night, in fact) but I don’t do it because of influence. I do it by my own choice.
For me, getting beyond influence means making the choices I want to make because I want to make them, not because of the influence of those around me.
I don’t eat french fries because everyone else is – I eat the french fries if I truly want them, I’m hungry and I think they’re worth it.
Similarly, I don’t eat clean because everyone else is & I don’t want to look like a piggy. I eat clean because that’s the choice in the moment that will make me feel my best.
I don’t skip my workouts because no one else is going to the gym on vacation – I decide to work out or not based on what feels right for me.
Just like practice, getting beyond influence is something that takes consistent & deliberate practice.
A simpler form, practice and getting beyond influence. Super powers!
I’m happy to say that I’ve worked out every day that I’ve been here. For me, working out increases my energy. Plus, when I’m drinking more than I usually do (I’m not much of a drinker), I want to make sure that I’m not just laying on the beach or sitting in a pool all day.
Today’s workout is going to be a simple beach run. Running is hard – running in the sand is super hard & I can’t wait!
On the food front:
My food choices have been pretty consistent since arriving on vacation. What varies most is alcohol. On the first two days I hardly drank at all. Last night was probably the most I drank and I’m definitely not feeling so stellar today.
Breakfast has been simple: black coffee, bacon & eggs.
Lunch: ceviche & a salad.
Dinner varies but I know tonight I’ll be having steak & lobster.
The real key for me is only eating when I’m truly hungry & only eating what’s really worth it.
Make it a great Monday!