It's that time of year again. The time that makes me want to hide in a hole and never come out. The time that makes building a moat around my home and filling it with semi-starved piranha and rabid alligators sound enticing. The time in which I will probably spend the day buried in a book, and avoiding social media and the phone at all costs!
That time is my birthday.
I'm not really a birthday person. This is partially because I'm pushing forty and don't really appreciate the reminder, but it's mostly due to my introverted nature. I simply don't care to be the focus of a celebration. It's weird and uncomfortable, and I just don't like it.
As we are all wont to do around our birthdays, I've spent some time thinking on the last year or years; what has gone well, what should I have done differently, etc. and so forth. During those contemplations, I often get sidetracked a little by something we all experience from time to time: Regret.
At this point, you're probably asking yourself, "What the heck does this have to do with keto?" Patience, Grasshopper. I'll get there.
Regret is one of those feelings that everyone has, and for various reasons. Some regret things they did. Others regret things they didn't do. My current regret is that I didn't take the kind of care of myself that I should have when I was younger. I spent over a decade and a half- so pretty much all of my young adulthood- obese, and now that I've lost all this weight and am suddenly a small person, I want to be able to wear all the stuff I couldn't when I was young but obese. Except I still can't, and I have to try really hard to avoid beating myself into a bloody pulp over the state of my fatty upper thighs, all my stretch marks, and my mother's apron on my belly that simply will not flatten out!
I also regret that it took me so long to find what works for me, not just for weight but also for health. I wish I had known when I was young the things I know now about inflammation and food sensitivities. Maybe I wouldn't have spent so much fighting off asthma and allergies and believing that meant I just wasn't cut out for athletics. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have cut out all the crappy foods I had been eating so I could finally breathe well, and jump into running instead of waiting until almost forty to start, and then having to very slowly and painfully work my way up into the kind of endurance and capability amateur athletes have when they're just beginning.
When I look back on all the choices I've made, for good or ill, these are some of the things I think about. So, it kind of pains me when I see other keto peeps talk about how they just "had to" indulge on some local carbage delicacy on vacay, because they don't want to have regrets.
Excuse me? Regrets? Are you serious????
I know I've mentioned this before, but if your trip or vacation is ruined because you didn't try some food, you do not have your mind right. There isn't a gentle way to say this, folks. That's food obsession. That's addiction. That's mentally unhealthy. It's perfectly normal to fret a little about past mistakes. It is absolutely, 1000% abnormal to worry about a food we didn't eat.
Let's put this into some perspective.
People look back on their lives and regret losing people they love, or life-altering mistakes they made, and many, many people spend their twilight years wishing they had taken better care of their bodies and made better choices about their health. Absolutely no one is going to be lying on their deathbed, beating themself up about all the pasta they passed on in Italy fifty years ago.
If you're out somewhere and are telling yourself you should eat this snazzy treat, because hey, YOLO, and you think you will regret passing on it later, I am going to very bluntly tell you right now that you are lying to yourself to justify making a bad choice.
I know that's hard to hear. I know some of you are very mad at me right now. But this is my job, folks. Someone has to tell you the truth, and the truth is that you will not regret skipping that food later on, but you may very well regret eating it.
If it stalls you out, you will regret it.
If it results in a week (or a month, or a year) of bingeing, you will regret it.
If you suffer some health setbacks, or even a health emergency, I can guarantee you will look back and beat yourself up over every single bite of every single cheat.
One of my ultimate goals in life is to live in such a way as to limit the number of regrets I have at the end. No one is completely free of fretting over the past, but we should all do what we can to live a good and fruitful life, and minimize the things we look back on and feel bad about. From this moment on, don't let what you're putting into your mouth be one of those things. Don't let bad health choices be a regret.
You know, I do look back at the time I've had and I regret things I've done. I regret bad health decisions I've made. But you know what else? I absolutely do not regret going keto, and sticking to it like glue. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm proud of the progress I've made, proud of the health and athletic achievements I've had, and proud of the fact that instead of having a whole lifetime of regret over my health, I stopped that one cold in May of 2015, and I'm never going back to that track.
Make the choice to stop those bad health decisions today, and one day you will look back on your life and be thrilled that you didn't just accept your fate, that you made conscious choices to do better, to live better, and to be better.