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Monday, July 12, 2021

Fighting Complacency

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Searching for healthier options

I admire former addicts who live the rest of their lives in a place of recovery. That takes a special kind of resolve.

You see, I have been struggling lately with my own recovery journey. No, I haven’t fallen off the wagon into a vat of double cheeseburgers and chocolate milkshakes. But frustration, discouragement and flat-out selfishness have slowed my progress.

They say people accomplish incredible things in crisis mode, like lifting Volkswagens off of babies. Back in January, the life that needed saving was mine, and amazing things did happen. I began walking every day. I started weighing my food. I cut way back on bread and fried things. I stopped eating sweets. None of these things compares to rescuing babies, but they were pretty amazing things in my life.

After the crisis subsides, the Herculean effort wanes.

Four months into my journey of healthier living, I got a round of updates from the doctors. My weight was down significantly. My blood pressure and blood sugar levels were way down. My heart was pumping more normally, and I was donating my “fat clothes” to Goodwill. I was breathing sighs of relief.

What I didn’t realize at first was that I also was growing complacent.

I can’t even identify the trigger. It probably wasn’t just one trigger. More likely, it was a series of events that became the catalyst for an imperceptible slide.

There was a landmark birthday my family celebrated with a surprise trip to Los Angeles. I thought I was good.

Heck, we went to a baseball game at Dodgers Stadium, and I didn’t even eat a Dodger Dog.

When we returned from California, I stopped walking for some unknown reason. But the worst part was the cravings. Fried chicken. Ice cream. Potato chips. Bread. Oh, the bread.

Fortunately, I still was doing enough of the right things to keep tabs on myself. I kept weighing myself every day and checking my blood sugar levels.

Those checks were revealing things, too. Before the California trip, my weight was plummeting like a jogger running down Gilbert Street’s “Thrill Hill.” And I began wondering how low was too low for my blood sugar. After the trip, those numbers started bouncing up and down like the balls in the Lotto drawing.

Still, I told myself I would be OK as long as I stayed in a “safe zone.”

It eventually hit me — I had taken my eyes off the true prize of a healthier life and set my sights lower, on “good numbers.” I was counting the quantity of my calorie input and output without considering the quality of those calories. I was getting wins, but I wasn’t claiming victory.

Just as suddenly and silently as complacency fell upon me, I woke up one day to realize that I can be content without being complacent. I can be dissatisfied with where I am now without being dissatisfied with who I am at this moment. Every day I can challenge the notion that the current condition is “good enough.”

To that end, I am walking again. I am endlessly searching for healthier options to satisfy both my sweet and savory taste buds. I am aware every day of what I am living with, but I am more keenly aware of what I am living for.

Scott “Scooter” Anderson is a regular contributor to 318 Forum magazine. This article is part of a series about his recovery from a severe health scare. Read his previous installments in the Health and Family section at theforumnews.com.

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