There’s nothing worse than the feeling of regret, guilt and frustration. (Ok- except for maybe blisters, sunburn and being hungry!) How did you wake today? Yesterday in Australia was the Melbourne Cup, the biggest day in horse racing. People all over the country frock up, bet on a horse, watch a 20 second race and usually over eat and drink. I know in my workplace, we all dress up and bring a meal to share for lunch. Roughly 30 women bring copious amounts of food from cakes, chocolates, sliced meats, anti pasto platters, pastries, mini pizzas, hot chips, lollies and the list continues. So you can imagine, this “shared meal” stretches from one lunch time to morning tea, afternoon tea, lunch and snacks the next day- so realistically we’re eating junk for up to a week. Not to mention- over eating to say the least.

 This year I decided not to participate. I took my usual packed lunch and ensured I had enough healthy snacks so that I wouldn’t be tempted. To be honest- I didn’t find it tough. There was nothing that I have been particularly craving lately which meant, snacking on my carrots and cucumber whilst others were consuming cakes, chocolates and other versions of sugar filled bites, was not so difficult. I have always been fairly disciplined like that though. I wouldn’t say that I don’t budge from my eating plan, I certainly allow myself a glass of wine, odd piece of pizza or handful of lollies if I’m craving it- but I certainly don’t eat due to peer pressure or because of an occasion.

 It’s not like I can’t sympathise with those who don’t say no- it’s sometimes tricky and at times completely unavoidable. But I have to question their drive. People are happy enough to talk about their latest recipes, diets they are trialling, new exercise plans etc but not willing to make sacrifices. I don’t even want to call it that because it is in fact the opposite. I don’t “sacrifice” a piece of chocolate or shared lunch because it was never an option for me to give it up. If there is ever any temptations or pressures around me I always ask myself- what do I want more? What do I want badly? To eat this food and feel good for a short amount of time (then later regret it and feel guilty at myself for giving in so easily!? Do I want to be driven by my own determination or become frustrated at my own weaknesses? The piece of cake is not going to make me happy. Yes, it is social. Yes, it will taste good. But is that piece of cake getting me any closer to my ultimate goal? Will it make me happier in life? Will it inspire me to train harder? No.

So as I munched on my chicken salad at lunch- I was happy and content. Was I social? Yes. Did it taste good? Of course! Did I go home feeling guilty, regretful or frustrated? No. I went home feeling on top of the world, both physically and mentally. I’m not going to deny it- I enjoyed a glass of wine that night with ‘The American’ and my parents at our apartment. Sure, it was probably similar in calories to a handful of lollies- but I had packed enough food for my recess and lunch, I didn’t feel the need to consume anything extra just because of a horse race. However, I enjoyed every single one of those calories in my wine. Why? Because I wanted it, I deserved it and I chose to!

My life isn’t all about calorie counting- but it is about balance and control. Most days I probably would have turned down the glass of wine- if I’m not craving it, I’m happy to go without. But life is also limited. It’s about making choices. We weigh up the odds and make decisions based on what we think will have the best outcome in the long run.The choices we make are ours to own and I choose to live my life with the sunny side up. (and a glass of rose!)

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