I fell off the wagon. It involved a talking brick pizza oven.

I fell off the wagon.

And then it fell on me.

And it wasn’t so much a wagon as it was a brick pizza oven.

And it took me two three four days to get it off me.

To make matters worse, somewhere along the second day, the wagon brought in back-up in the form of a brownie, a piece of chocolate cake and maybe curly fries, but by that time I was so delirious, I may have been hallucinating. (I was not.)

What’s the backstory?

On my fit-at forty quest to become the healthiest and best me yet, a few months ago I cut out simple carbs and sugar.  I’m not a dessert person by nature so giving up sugar wasn’t hard. The pasta and the bread though…not so much. But after a few weeks I didn’t miss it.

So we’re clear, I’m not suggesting that the only way to get or stay fit at 40 is to completely give up bread, pasta and dessert. Millions of people eat those things every day and are healthy, in good shape, yadayadayada. I am not one of those people. I never will be. I have come to a place where I’m ok with that.

So last Wednesday when I met some friends at an Italian Restaurant, I went with the best of intentions. Salads are always on the menu, and lucky for me, I love salad.

But the Italian restaurant had an authentic brick oven whose fiery pits roared seductively, “Grace…Grace…andiamo, andiamo!”

Never able to resist anything with an Italian accent, I relented, and ate.

And ate.

And then, in case I had forgotten, ate some more.

The thing I know about me and simple carbs is this: I just can’t do them. We don’t work well together. Not even a little. We’re sorta like this pre-k ballerina throw-down, except the teachers don’t step in in time to break us up. The signal that turns itself on to let me know to STOP EATING, is apparently also easily seduced by an Italian accent.

The wagon and I fought a vicious battle for the next 72 96 hours, with the wagon having a particularly strong Friday night.

But, the battle isn’t always to the swift, or the strong, and victory belongs to the last woman standing, which I was finally able to do on Saturday Sunday morning.

I make light about my battle with compulsive eating and carb-addiction, because frankly, after nearly 30 years of dealing with it, if I don’t make light of it, it will defeat me. If there’s one thing I’d caution anyone involved in the care, treatment and loving of young girls, it would be this – guard intensely, the messages she gets about her self-worth as it relates to her body and beauty. Don’t allow her to define herself by her measurements, her weight, her skin color, her hair length, and on and on and on – and DON’T add to the chorus of voices from the media, other family, society etc. that tell her that that’s exactly how she should define herself. Because as she gets older, it will be very hard for her to quiet those voices in her head, no matter how smart or strong she is. I know because 30 years later I’m still battling those demons.

The beauty of doing all this in my 40s is that while my body is still (relatively) forgiving if I give it time, it remembers. Our bodies forgive, but they no longer forget. Gone are the days that I could plow through the mystery meat at the college food truck at 1:00am, and hop out of bed the next day as if nothing had happened. And that’s a good thing.  My body won’t let me continue to treat it badly. It’s had enough, and so have I.

Fallen off any wagons lately? Share your thoughts in the comment section or email me at grace(@) womenatforty (dot) com.

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Blogger, self-proclaimed-philosopher, voracious eater and opinion sharer.

  • Kalin

    I love this post!  I read that carbs cause everybody’s bodies to react that way.  Experts say when you eat carbs it triggers something in your brain/body to want more carbs, and thus the vicious cycle.  I could be off fries for 6 months and be fine.  Then I’ll eat just 1 small bag of McDonald’s fries (my favorite) and I’m off to the races with pasta, cookies and cake.  Like you, I’m now learning my food triggers.  But I refuse to beat myself up about it anymore. 

  • editor

    Thanks, Kalin

    You are so right about each body reacting differently – I know people who can maintain and lose weight eating carbs day and night. I guess the key is to figure out which one you are and do you!