Living in the grey. Taking a risk. Letting go of perfectionism. Balance.
These are the things I find myself constantly challenged by. But I don’t mean challenged in a bad way. Though challenging myself can be very, well, challenging, I have learned that the best stuff comes from a challenge. Being challenged can be scary. It makes you face the fear that you are not capable of accomplishing whatever task is at hand. But I have also learned that when something scares me, I’m usually on the right track.
So I am challenging myself to live in the grey.
Already I can hear my black & white brain groaning, “This is a bad idea. This is never going to work. You’re going to get fat.” etc etc. You see, living in the grey does not come naturally to me. I am a very all or nothing kind of girl. Black or white. One day you’re in, and one day you’re out. Once I set my mind to something, then watch out world! That is until, my motivation wains and then my powerful mind fixates on hard it all is, and how tired I am. In my attempt at perfectionism, my resolve eventually fizzles out and then I am done. Motivated, unmotivated. In, out. Black, white. So I’m starting to think grey might be a good color on me.
I’ll give you an example.
Usually I over grocery shop (I know, enough with the grocery store already). I pack my fridge till its spilling over with kale & arugula. Ask my poor husband who can’t find a piece of string cheese because the fridge is stuffed. Stuffed with healthy foods, but stuffed. This is black/white thinking to me. All or nothing. The grocery shopping is the all. Later that night when I munch on popcorn even though I’m not hungry is the nothing. The I’ve-worked-so-hard-today-so-I-deserve-it-eff-it nothing.
Now, I’ve been pretty swamped lately and don’t have my usual half a day to spend perusing the aisles at the G-store rocking out to the sounds of the 80’s, 90’s and today. So my goal is speed, not perfection. Well I made a game-time decision this week that was very interesting. Cottage cheese is one of my b-fast/lunch go-to’s. I like it with fruit in it and I like it plain. It packs 14g of protein so it’s a great way to start the day or keep it going. But I had yogurt at home, so on this trip to the G-store, I left the tub of cottage cheese on the shelf.
This decision immediately made me feel uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, my cart was full of jicama and apples and deli sliced turkey, but walking away from that cottage cheese felt risky. Like I was doing something wrong – breaking all my rules. Rules that I knew to be keys to weight loss and health. And if I broke those rules, then it would all go to hell in a hand basket, right? I mean, that’s the next step, right? Bad decision then fat. Right?
This is me living in the grey. I didn’t shop perfectly. I even taunted the weight-loss-grocery-shopping gods and left the dang tub of healthy protein packed curds on the shelf. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen now that I had no cottage cheese. What would I do? Swap it out for yogurt? Try a new veggie recipe? Eat more apples.
And wouldn’t you know it, I’m craving cottage cheese now? Me, Jen Reiter, lover of voluminous, rich food am now craving cottage friggin’ cheese. You might be thinking “You should have bought the stupid cottage cheese! Why didn’t you buy it? You could have some right now!” But I’m ok with that. Because now instead of craving carbs or sugar or beer (note to self: those are all carbs) I am craving healthy good-for-me-cottage cheese. With blueberries. And banana. Mmmm… And that’s a win.
Here’s the thing about living in the grey – you don’t know where it’s going to take you – you can’t predict it. And that’s the point. Living in the grey means being willing to trust yourself that when the time comes you’ll make the right decision. Obviously its helpful to have practice identifying the right decision, but haven’t I done that for the past 8 years and 80 lbs? Isn’t it time I practice trusting myself? And with each successful moment of grey living, I’m teaching myself that I deserve the trust and am capable of making it through anything.
And that’s a pretty good lesson when all I did is save myself a coupla bucks at the grocery store.
Incidentally, I do look really good in grey.