Will Power

June 8, 2010

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Valley of the Dolls audiobook cover
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I didn’t get the gene for will power. It is a lucky thing for me that I don’t like cigarettes and I’m not addicted to diet pills, or I’d be a lifelong resident of the Valley of the Dolls.

Most examples of my lack of self-control involve food. Here’s one from just yesterday: A neighbor stopped by with some chocolate; he had borrowed a stroller from us and the chocolate was a nice little thank-you gift. We chatted and then, literally, as he was walking away, I tore into the chocolate like a rabid ferret. My neighbor was still on the sidewalk in front of my house! That’s just not cool.

In my usual day-to-day life I can work around my apparent lack of self-control. I don’t buy loads of treats, because I would sit down and eat all of them, but I always keep a dark chocolate bar on hand, so when I need a little sumthin’ I can break off a square (or Trader Joe’s Nutty Bits — love). I am blessed with decent metabolism and, although I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to lose ten pounds for five years, I don’t usually obsess over such things. Because when it comes right down to it, my desire to eat delicious food and drink delicious wine is, almost always, either equal or greater than my desire to lose a little weight.

My lack of will power has become an issue of late, though, because of a new medication I’ve been taking. Without going into my whole medical history, I will just say that after years and years of explaining my symptoms to doctors and allergists and ear/nose/throat specialists and eye doctors, I was recently diagnosed with migraines. It was an oddly emotional moment for me, in the doctor’s office, because I had long ago given up on getting any relief from the ear-popping and headaches and car-sickness-like feeling I’ve had, a lot of the time, for years. And then, unexpectedly, this one doctor connected the dots that no one else had been able to connect. The fact that he is also quite handsome was making me feel uneasy, like I had somehow walked into a soap opera where handsome doctors have all the answers.

In the interest of time let’s just say this: It took me a while but I finally decided to take the medication. I can say without hesitation that I am more focused, I have more energy, I sleep way better, and I feel generally better than I have felt in a long, long time…and I’ve gained five pounds.

I know, I know — five pounds is not a big deal. But if you add it to that other ten pounds I mentioned before, things get a little dicey. And what if I’ve only gained five pounds so far? If it’s five pounds total, that is one thing; five pounds every two months? No. That’s not going to work at all.

My first thought was, Well, I have to stop taking it! Then, I got myself under control (I can do it for a few minutes sometimes) and realized that the medical issue would take precedence over my own vanity. And, perhaps, instead of cutting off my proverbial nose to spite my proverbial face, or shooting myself in my proverbial foot, I could go for some walks? Play tennis? Eat a little bit less? I mean, we finally have lettuce and vegetables growing, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then, a few days ago, I took Caralena to my parent’s house and to run some errands. It was not a particularly fun day for an almost-five-year-old, but she hung in there and was great. So, on the way home, when she saw a Dunkin’ Donuts and asked if she could get a few Munchkins, I said, Yes, yes, you can! I ordered at the drive-thru: one chocolate, one glazed, and one jelly Munchkin. We were both happy; she was about to eat her treat of sugary goodness and — here’s the important part — I didn’t order any Munchkins for myself! I am putting this is both bold and italics, because who the hell could pass up one tiny Munchkin? Someone with serious will power, that’s who!

I was high on my own self-control and it felt good, I tell you. It. Felt. Good.

And then we got to the window. I paid, took the bag, and was about to drive away when the cashier woman smiled at me and winked — winked! — as she said these words: “I put an extra one in there for you.”

She put an extra one in there. For me. What?!? I can think of 8000 other times when I would have been thrilled if someone slipped me a free Munchkin. This wasn’t one of them.

And that is the end of this story. The End.

Wait – what? You want to know whether or not I ate it? Oh, please.

  • I've been thwarted by DD more times than I can count with that extra Munchkin move. Loved this post, it hits close to home!

  • lise

    I had no idea! They must have a bin for the stale ones that they're allowed to give away.

  • Cathy

    Fabulous post. Loved it. Feel for you. My only advice – don't sweat the weight. Guilt will only get in the way. I'm glad to hear you found a solution for your migraines, too. Mine was cutting out caffeine. Being migraine free is worth a little back and forth on the waistline. You rock as a writer, too!! (though that is not news to me, ever since Girls on Film).

  • Rcarrigg

    If it makes you feel better, I just ate 11 Twizzlers.

  • Lcarrigg

    That does make me feel better. Thank you. On the other hand, you will probably go to the gym and play basketball and tennis and golf later today.

  • Lcarrigg

    Ya know, that's what I've been thinking, too. If it gets to ten pounds or more I will reconsider but for now, I am feelin' good. Thanks for reading!

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