A Ham Story

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December 14, 2001

I impulsively bought an eight and a half-pound ham this week at Costco.  Sometimes a ham is just a ham and other times it's all about weight-management. 

It happened after I had made the rounds at the free-food sample tables.  I had gone to the store in the middle of the day to buy Katie a comforter, the last Christmas present on my list.  They were out.  I kept looking in the bin.  Then I asked if there were more and looked in again.  They were still out.  I should have just left the store.  I didn't.

It started at the French bread table.  The woman told me the bread had no fat and no sugar.  It seemed innocent enough.  What it did have was the power to start the wheels rolling toward every sample table in the place.  I tasted cookies, juice, ravioli, chips and salsa, processed chicken tenders and ham. 

I felt pretty much disconnected from my new lifestyle:  the one I have spent the better part of five years implementing; the one that allows me to say no thank-you to random foods that I don't want to count; the one that recognizes the feeling of disappointment at not being finished with my shopping; the one that eats real food during the day to avoid starvation and poor judgement. 

The power of the Season got hold of that new woman and held her hostage for a while.  

During the captivity, I considered opening the ham with a plastic knife and eating it in the car while driving down Sunrise Boulevard.  Fortunately, for the safety of us all, this idea never got past the planning stage.  But by the time I got up this morning, the ham had been opened and eaten, along with a vast number of WOW potato chips and a half bottle of Thai peanut sauce.  It was a salt thing.  My body felt like pork stuffed into a sausage casing.

Now what?

I whined and felt bad for a few minutes and then went to the health club.  Going at 8:00 AM is an established habit.  One of my friends was there and told me she was having an extreme week.  I understood what she meant because I had had an extreme day, and I had lived to tell about it.  I told her today is a new day. It is always about what you do next when you get off course. 

And I truly believed that statement.

I went to the club and added a few extra minutes to my routine.  I ate my full breakfast when I got home.  I put some water bottles in the fridge.  I froze the ham for another time.  I checked the ads for a comforter.  I remembered that for five years I've been moving in the direction of a healthy life that allows me limitless opportunities, even though for a few hours I got distracted.

If you have been feeling the pressure of the season, and it has been showing itself with either food choices that you don't want to count, or lack of exercise, remember, it is about what you do next.  You don't have to continue on that path.  Remember how far you have come, and move forward.  Start right now, this very minute, to follow in the direction of your new healthy life.  Don't wait until January to be on the path. 

Enjoy December, but don't let it hold you hostage.  

I'll see you in the meeting. 

"I Believe in You"