I thought about that for the next few days after our conversation. Would I really need to go back to the excessive amounts of running, biking, and swimming to be where I wanted to be weight and fitness-wise? What had been the key to me being able to get down to the mid-150s, and how could I replicate that and not kill myself in the process? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't about the extreme measures, it was more about the balance. Anytime I have had a balance between healthy eating and exercise, I am better able to control how I feel and how my clothes fit. Balance was the key.
Along with that balance I know that I need to have a certain amount of control. As my family and I were enjoying our spa time one night, I looked over and realized that my Border Collie was a perfect analogy for the sometimes obsessive need I have for food. Aiden is honestly one of the smartest dogs we have ever owned. Now despite his intelligence, he loves balls with an almost manic obsession and seems to lose all control when a ball is near. If any of our poor neighbor's kids happens to hit a ball over the fence, they know not to even come looking. In no time at all, Aiden will have that reduced to tiny pieces of plastic, fabric, and string. Eventually, my husband found a glow-in-the-dark ball that even Aiden can't destroy. Every night as we enjoy our family time in the jacuzzi, Aiden eventually comes to rest right at the pool's edge where he can peacefully chew on his ball. And every night within about five minutes of resting on the edge, that ball rolls out of his mouth and plops into the pool. It is at that point that he looks bewildered at his precious ball as it bobs up and down in the pool out of his reach. After all these years of the same thing happening, you would think that he would learn that sitting near the pool with his ball is not a good idea, yet every night that ball rests in the pool while Aiden stands over it forlornly.
I feel much the same as Aiden does about his beloved balls. There are times that if there is any junky food within reach, or God forbid it ends up in my house, I must devour that food like Aiden devours balls. And after I have eaten more food than seems humanly possible, I will often wonder what happened as if I didn't know that the outcome would be me feeling like crap.
Thankfully, I have been making mostly good food choices lately (except for the California brittle) and I have also been continuing to exercise on a regular basis. That allowed the chocolate brittle detour to not really affect me too greatly, and has allowed me to get closer to my Ironman body without killing myself. So my answer to my earlier question about how extreme I need to be to get to goal--with balance and control I can exercise at a reasonable level 5-6 days a week, and still occasionally eat the foods I love, only hopefully in more reasonable portions. Eventually I hope that Aiden and I will learn from our past mistakes...until then, I will continue to fish his ball out of the pool and I will continue to try to avoid encounters with large boxes of chocolate