On Saturdays, I get to sleep in.
It’s a glorious feeling to not set my alarm at 5:30 AM. My eyes close at around 10 PM on Friday night, and I sleep the deep, uninterrupted sleep of a man with a zillion responsibilities……………and 6 mg of melatonin flowing through his veins.
Each Saturday morning, as the sun rises, my eyes pop open as I hear a meek voice from outside the hallway gently inquire,
Daddy, is it morning yet?
Although the sun is still barely over the horizon, it makes no sense to fight the inevitable. I spent months answering with a “No, honey, go back to bed,” only to be awakened 5 minutes later with the same question.
Sure honey, come on in and hop in bed with us.
Almost instantaneously, another little pitter-patter of feet becomes audible in the hallway (do they have a “my sister is awake radar” or something?) and daughter number two climbs up onto the bed with the 3 of us.
We flip on the latest DVR’d show and try to squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of “sleep”.
As we lay there, coming to grips with the day in front of us, the air is permeated by the gurgling sounds of the coffee machine and the intoxicating aroma of the finest java Kroger has to offer.
The television show finishes up, I hop out of bed, and downstairs the three of us trek to fill up two bowls of cereal and milk. (Mom gets to rest for a little while longer – you’re welcome honey.)
As the girls munch on their Kix, I begin to make my Saturday morning staple. I take out 6 thick-cut strips of bacon, and fry them in a pan. I take two pieces of bread and two slices of cheese, and place the pan-fried bacon in between. I then take the entire sandwich, and place it directly into the frying pan, sealing this culinary delight with the bacon drippings.
The sandwich cools, and I join my girls at the table, steaming coffee in hand.
We sit. We chat. And we eat.
The crunch of the grease-fried crust is a momentary delight. Soon, the squishiness of the bread and the crispiness of the bacon take over. Hot, melted American cheese mixes with the entire mouthful, and the sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy goodness gets washed down with a sip of joe.
“If this is dieting done right,” I think to myself, “then I don’t ever want to be wrong.”
The Abundance Mindset
The above story replays itself every Saturday I am dieting. It’s almost a ritual – the wake up time, the television show, the coffee, the cereal (for the girls), and of course, the bacon and cheese sandwich.
I am a creature of habit. There is no way I could ever tire of such an amazing breakfast when I have the time to properly cook it and enjoy it with my daughters.
The reason I choose a bacon and cheese sandwich is simple. Although the calories and fat might be a bit high, and I will need to compensate for the breakfast splurge by moderating my intake later in the day, the enjoyment I receive far surpasses the sacrifice I must make later.
For those 5 minutes, as I eat my sandwich, savoring every bite, I am free.
I am not dieting. I am just a regular guy eating the most delicious menu item I could come up with.
After all, the man (or woman) who enjoys a fried bacon and cheese sandwich can’t possibly be on a diet.
I prefer to live with an “abundance mindset”.
An abundance mindset is a philosophy where one looks at what they have available and makes the best decision they can make. There is no dwelling on what they cannot have – only a positive look at what they can have.
When I look at my macro numbers for the day, I see a world of opportunity. My 3 numbers become alive with possibilities. I see T-bone steaks, grilled pork chops, marinated vegetables, crisp Granny Smith apples, and yes – bacon and cheese sandwiches.
I tinker with my numbers and play around a bit, and see what I can fit into my diet – strategically – to keep hunger at bay and keep my tastebuds alive with pleasure.
For the brief moments I eat the foods I choose, I am free. I am not dieting. I am enjoying everything life has presented to me.
I am grateful.
This is my choice – this is how I have chosen to view my fitness. I am blessed – with a family, with a house, with everything I need – and I keep those blessings in the front of my mind as a constant reminder of everything I have.
But not everyone has this sort of a mindset.
I could wake up with a “scarcity mindset”.
I could grumpily tell my daughters to go back to bed – as 6:30 on a Saturday morning seems insanely early.
I could walk downstairs and open the pantry, fantasizing about Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, pancakes, and all of the carby treats which are not on my menu.
I could restrict my options and choose to eat a few egg whites and veggies, all in the name of “clean eating” and “good health”.
I could stew in my own misery as I sip my coffee, checking my calendar to see how many more days of this awfulness I must endure.
But I don’t.
Which isn’t to say I’ve never had a “scarcity mindset”. In fact, I have. Over the years, I have learned a key component to being able to carry out an effective (and long) cut lies in your self-consciousness. You must re-frame your thoughts and check-in with your emotions. You must think rationally and be able to carry on without tapping into your motivation, which is finite. You must see the positives in what you are doing. You must be grateful and thankful for what you DO have – instead of dwelling on what you don’t have.
If you do this, then you, too, will be free.
Everyone has their own feeling of freedom.
For some, it manifests itself in bacon and cheese sandwiches. Your definition of freedom may differ.
The most vivid feeling of freedom I have had was when I was 16-years old. A good friend of mine had gotten his drivers’ license early – in the summer before our sophomore year of high school. Unbelievably, his parents gave him access to a rag-top Chrysler LeBaron.
I’ll never forget when he rolled up to my house for the first time, and I jumped in.
My parents must have been shitting their pants.
But not me. I was the happiest kid on the planet.
The feeling of the warm, August, Cincinnati wind flowing through my mop-top (yes, mop-top) and Master P playing in the cassette player gave me an internal swelling of a feeling I hadn’t experienced yet:
No longer was I shackled by my parents’ arbitrary rules. No longer did I have to bum a ride with Mom to go meet a girl at the mall. No longer did I need to orchestrate transportation to and from places. No longer did my Dad tell me, “I’ll pick you up at 10, Jason. I go to bed at 10:30.”
I felt alive – finally.
It’s this feeling – the feeling of doing as you wish – which is so difficult to bottle. To grasp onto the feeling of freedom – even momentarily – is to free the mind of the constraints of our lives.
I feel that feeling of freedom on Saturday mornings, with the simple bacon and cheese sandwich, accompanied by toddler-talk and coffee.
It’s not dieting to me when I get to eat that sandwich – it’s living life to its fullest, no matter the hand I’ve been dealt.
It’s a feeling you, too, can experience – with a little bit of reflection and mindfulness.
Find Your Freedom
So, what is your freedom when on a diet?
Do you like to make room in your macros for two glasses of red wine while in front of a crackling, smoky bonfire?
Do you shave a few macros off your meals each day to enjoy a slice of cheesecake on a Friday night?
Does your freedom lie in a nice cigar while sitting on your back porch, enjoying the sunset?
You’re reading this article right now.
No matter who you are and what you do………………YOU ARE BLESSED.
You have the internet – you have a smartphone, tablet, or a computer. You very likely have clothes on your back and shelter over your head at night.
You live in abundance.
Not 150 years ago, you didn’t have electricity, modern medicine, and grocery stores to fill your shopping carts with food.
We live in the most prosperous generation we have ever seen. There is no disputing this fact.
Instead of constantly obsessing about the things we cannot have, and fostering feelings of deprivation, it may be time to alter our perception.
You are living a life full of abundance.
It’s high time your mindset began reflecting it.
Yours In The Proper Mindset,