May 24, 2020

Is a Free Donut Really Free?

“If it’s free it’s for me.” I heard one of my friends say this once—she was joking (OK, not really) about her rationale for eating a sugary donut at work. She’d been struggling with losing weight, but she justified eating it because someone else bought it so, no cost to her. Again, not really.

How many times do we do something just like this? It could be in the break room at work, a picnic, a birthday party—you know all those special occasions where we justify eating a special treat of just a little bit more (and it’s usually more than we realize). And then we wonder why we’re not only NOT losing weight, but somehow, we’ve gained a few extra pounds. We want so much to be healthier, but we get derailed by someone’s generosity.

Sometimes it’s not even free food. How many times have you gone out to dinner and ordered what you thought was a “sensible” meal only to find that you received enough food to feed you and two other people? In this case, we’re paying for the food, so it’s not free—but maybe we feel like we’re getting our money’s worth. I don’t know about you, but I can still hear my grandmother saying, “Waste not, want not.” Besides most of us were raised to clean our plates, and we’ve all heard about the starving children in fill-in-whatever-country you’d like here. Whether you eat what’s on your plate or not, it’s not going to impact anyone else who’s starving—unless you get a doggy bag and drop it off for someone in need.

So, whether you’re going for the food because it’s free or because you figure you paid for it so you might as well eat it, the problem comes later, especially if you do either—or both—of these things enough times. You end up with that extra little bit of fat around your middle, or your hips, or maybe all over your body. You end up feeling sluggish and tired, unhappy, and wondering where the heck this extra weight came from because you thought you were eating “in moderation.”

So, you remember that free donut that my friend was so excited to have? She doesn’t realize it yet, but it’s really not free. It comes with guilt, negative self-talk, extra sugar, fat, and calories. Too many of these “free donuts” and cleaning her plate add up over time and lead to extra inches and pounds. And we all know that those pounds and inches don’t come off as easily as they go on. So, what’s a girl—or a guy—to do? Time to figure out a way to take of the excess, but it’s not always as easy as we’d like it to be. It takes work. It takes making yourself a priority.

So, my question is what is so great about “saving” a buck or two and getting a free donut or a super-sized meal if you then need to find a way to undo what you did by putting that extra food in your mouth in the first place?

The flip side of all this money-saving for extra calories is investing in yourself—investing your time and your money. Many of us have a hard time doing this. We fill our days with work, TV, and social media, but we can’t find the time to workout or cook a healthy meal. We can justify spending money on new clothes, cool gadgets, and the latest iPhone, but we find it hard to validate making an equal investment in ourselves especially when it comes to our health. We figure that we should be able to harness our will power and make the change. Sometimes, will power just isn’t enough. It’s not enough to know that we should “eat better” and “exercise more.” We need to get more specific in what those things mean and the action steps to take on that path. Many of us need a little bit of help, some direction, and accountability.

If that sounds like you, schedule your free wellness conversation today and get on your path to a healthier, happier, more vibrant you.