Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Milestone: Thin Mints

Sometimes it is hard to see my own life clearly.  I make changes and then don't notice the results happening because they happen so gradually.  And then something happens that really brings home that changes have happened, and are continuing to occur. 

I've blogged about a couple of those milestones already:  discovering that my once-ever-present love of frosted strawberry toaster pastries has gone by the wayside, and the startling realization that I no longer enjoyed the taste of raspberry and coconut covered, cream-filled yellow cake pastries.  It caught me off-guard both times, when I found out that things I used to have to restrain myself from gorging on were no longer acceptable to my taste buds or my body as a whole.

Well, I've hit another milestone today.  Luckily, not one of complete aversion because it really would have made me sad to lose this food altogether, but one of moderation.

I don't know about in your neck of the woods, Dear Readers, but where I currently reside it is that dreaded and yet so very desired time of the year:  Girl Scout Cookie Season.  You know how it works, right?  Those little Pushers get out there with their bright, innocent smiles and the piles upon piles of cheerfully colored boxes containing chocolate, coconut, peanut butter, mint, lemon, and other delicious ingredients, and they entice you.  They cajole, they encourage...Nay!  They BLATANTLY PUSH those boxes of temptation at you, knowing that you can only resist for so long before you purchase piles of them.  And as you hand over your cash, your check, your credit card, they smile and reinforce your self-justification by talking about how the money is going to support such a good cause!

Then you get home and you look at the boxes and wince, knowing that you seriously overpaid, but deep in your heart you don't care because they are so full of tasty yumminess (and the money really DOES go to a good cause!).

If it isn't bad enough that you can't go to a grocery store or large retailer without having to pass tables manned by the Little Green Predators, they send their Minions out into the world.  Parents, loving aunts and uncles, friends of the family, all armed with The Sheet of Doom!  You know the one, right?  The order form with photos of the various cookies lovingly photographed and depicted, teasing you with glistening chocolate and powdered sugar.  They shove the sheet at you, talking about how Little Sally is only FIVE boxes away from winning the Troop's top seller award, and if you bought just one box, you could help her reach that goal.  They do this knowing that NO ONE can buy just one box of Girl Scout cookies.  I think there's actually a law against it somewhere.  And so you fork over even more money, and before you know it you have a freezer and cupboards full of boxes, taunting you silently, telling you that they KNOW you will open them with the intention of eating just one or two, and before you know it the whole box will be gone.

(BTW, Girl Scout Cookie makers, don't think that we, the General Public, have NOT noticed that the boxes are getting smaller but the price isn't!  Just sayin'...)

We did our civic duty, and ordered *mumble* boxes of cookies from one of our local Pushers...er...Girl Scouts.  They arrived, and have been sitting on the counter in the kitchen.  We've actually both done really well about inhaling them, and only one box of Samoas fell victim to a serious snack attack.  The other boxes either haven't been opened yet, or the two that were opened were eaten pretty gradually.  But the big test remained.  You see, the Thin Mints were still sealed in their pretty green boxes.  Until today.

I approached them with mingled anticipation and trepidation.  I know from past experience that Thin Mints are my Achilles Heel.  I can show restraint with other cookies, but Thin Mints?  Oh lovely Thin Mints...they CALL to me, and much like the sailors of old, I have found myself unable to resist their siren song.

But I opened the box.  The familiar and much-loved mingled scent of chocolate and mint rose, wafting to my nostrils like a delicate perfume.  I pulled out the cellophane-wrapped tube o' cookies and carefully opened it (You don't want to have it split and have the cookies go flying!  That would be a travesty and sacrilege!) and selected the first cookie.  I knew it was a true Girl Scout Thin Mint because it promptly stuck to the second cookie in the package, refusing to come unstuck.  Oh no!  I was forced to eat them both or not at all!  I suppose, Dear Readers, that you can readily determine the choice I made in light of this development.

I bit into them, tasting the chocolate and the mint, and allowed myself to truly enjoy the crunchy lightness of the cookie along with the creamy smoothness of the chocolate outside.  The mint was just the right amount, refreshing and cool, lightening the richness of the chocolate.  I ate another, and another (two...stuck together again).  And then it happened.


My body said "enough".

And I listened.

As you know if you've been following this blog at all, I have been working slowly on making healthier choices in my diet.  I have been incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables, working on lowering my meat consumption and finding alternate protein sources, lightening the amount of starches...especially white ones...and making sure that when I use fats, I use ones that taste good and make sure that they are used in reasonable quantities.  (Yes, that includes real butter.  I love butter.  I will never give up my butter, but I don't have to as it is completely healthy in moderate amounts.)

I didn't think that it was making that much difference in my tastes.  I mean, I noticed that I can more readily taste artificial ingredients after months of eating as many organic whole foods as was feasible, and we definitely use a LOT less salt in our house than most people, but overall I kind of just didn't notice how much my eating habits had changed.

Until I found myself twisting the cellophane closed and putting the tube o' cookies back into the bright green box after only eating five Thin Mints.

It really does make a difference.  When you make changes, small changes a little at a time, it adds up.  I know that we hear it all of the time and most people just kind of discount it as something everyone says but no one does.  I have done that same sort of discounting in the past, but now...now I know better.  It has been proven to me three times over at this point.  I am making changes, small changes, and they are working.  This is the most encouraging thing that has happened to me in a while, and it happened in the midst of a lot of discouraging things.  I find myself revitalized a little because now I know that I have accomplished some goals without even realizing it, and if I can accomplish those goals, then there are other goals that I have thought were out of reach but now have been made aware just how achievable they can be.

So, Dear Readers, when you get discouraged and think that nothing you do matters and that life will continue as it always has no matter what you try, I ask you to come back here and read The Story of The Thin Mints and allow yourself to believe.  If I can do it, if I can make changes and have them produce results in my life, then you can too.  They don't have to be changes in your eating habits, they can be any kind of positive changes.  Give them a try, know that you won't be perfect at them, give yourself permission to take two steps forward and one step back KNOWING that still puts you one step further than you were when you started.

You can do it.

We'll do it together.

What do you say?

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