Opportunity is a State of Mind

brownieYesterday, I took my kids to a birthday party. Since the parents of the birthday girl are also friends of mine, I wasn’t one of the parents just dropping the kids off and heading elsewhere. I stayed for the company and conversation. While the kids rollerskated, I chatted with friends and had a nice time.

Here’s where opportunity crept in, as it usually will on a birthday and most definitely at a birthday party: the brownies had arrived. They had foregone the usual cake in favor of a variety of brownies, including these astoundingly tantalizing brownies fused with cookie dough prior to baking. Sheer brilliance. Sheer, cruel brilliance.

And opportunity for a mouth-watering treat.

Just one bite won’t hurt me. Or one brownie.

Come on. If you have ever been obese in your life, this statement is something you’ve thought, said, or had a zillion people say to you. Whether it’s true or not for some, it is usually a bit more complicated than that for most of us. Our bodies do not function the same way they did when we were a healthy weight. Our brains do not respond the same way. Our stomachs do not respond the same way. The body’s receptors are simply out of whack.

One bite, one brownie…is a slippery slope.

So I told myself, rather than see it as an opportunity for a unplanned sweet, I’d see it as an opportunity to practice Zen Habit’s Leo’s advice regarding becoming comfortable with discomfort.

I said no to the brownie. And the soda. I might’ve been able to fit it into my day, but I KNEW that even if I were to limit myself to one brownie or one brownie and the soda, it would trigger desire for more simple carbohydrates later and my whole day would be difficult. A little determination, a little discomfort, led to making it easier to get through the day without my hunger or false hunger throwing me off.

I’m not saying I won’t have a brownie, or soda, or cheesecake, or whatever. I just think that simply because an opportunity to have anything that is unhealthy arises is not reason enough to have it. I’d rather it was an intentional choice, like having a dessert after a dinner, on a special occasion. PLANNING for it, adjusting for it, and preferably later in the day so that I know it’s not going to derail my efforts.

That was a small success yesterday that I need to practice.


About J. Parrish Lewis

J. Parrish Lewis writes. He is also the author of The Goblin Road, a fantasy novel, and The Rabbit List. He was born and raised in Maryland. In his youth there, he and his brother had many adventures in the dogwood forests near his home. His nostalgia for these adventures has strongly influenced his characters, their relationships, and their perspective on the world they inhabit. He moved to California’s coast to earn his degree in communications and now lives with his family in the San Joaquin Valley. Lewis is profoundly deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate. He enjoys hazelnut coffee, captioned movies, and walking his dog.
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One Response to Opportunity is a State of Mind

  1. Leslie Moore says:

    Even though I’m not considered overweight, I’ve struggled w/ food my whole life, particularly sweets. I liked what you had to say in dealing with this situation. Need to read it a few more times to get it into my brain. thanks, leslie

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