I ate a BIG honkin’ mocha brownie with nearly a 1 cm layer of the most delectable cocoa buttercream on it… and (it took me 10 months to get to the point where I can say) **I’M OK** I almost wasn’t… but I’m good now, I think.

I am not wracked with guilt. I am not freaking out. I am not punishing myself. I am not planning to have tap water and rice cakes for dinner.

Here's the best part — I am not triggered. 8-10 months ago, the taste of that cake would have caused a downward spiral that I could not have controlled, much like I imagine an alcoholic who falls off the wagon must feel. But I have been re-training myself to think and eat differently, and I have thus far been successful, to the tune of 60 lbs in 10 months.

Last weekend, I attended a family friend's daughter's bat mitzvah, at which the reception food was a breakfast/brunch buffet of sorts, heavy on the pancakes, waffles, and donuts. A regional bake shop (Called "Glazed and Confused") I'd heard good things about provided the donuts, and even though I misbehaved at the buffet, and was feeling kind of mad at myself, I HAD to try two donuts that looked particularly nummy: the Fruity Pebbles donut (not as good as it looked), and the red velvet (possibly the best donut I've ever had in my whole damn life).

In my head, after the fact, I calculated that, including the 400 +/- calorie breakfast I'd had before the 1 pm event, I'd knocked back about 3,000-3,200 calories for the day. I was annoyed with myself. I felt like I had failed. After so much success, to lose my self-control at a buffet like that…

But when I got home, I did the math. Going 800-1000 calories above my TDEE was not the end of the world – sure, I felt bloated for a few hours, and kind of angry at myself, but it was not a disaster — yet. It would all depend on what I did next, how I reacted. I kept myself to about 1500 calories the next couple of days (that's each, not total…) , and when I weighed myself this morning (Wednesday is my weigh day), I was still down 0.4 for the week.

Big takeaway – the DONUT is not the threat. The overemotional panic/frustration/depression reaction to the donut would have been. I've GOT this. (I think.)

So today, I was coming out of my office at the college I teach at, and I saw some campus organization was having a bake sale to support some cause that sounded good to me. The mocha brownies were quite large – the size of chalkboard erasers. I estimated 500-600 calories (they were fluffy, not dense). And the buttercream was heaped on liberally. Who am I not not help a good cause. The brownie was delicious.

I'll work it into my calories for the day, and I'll be fine.

This doesn't have to become a habit. It has taken me most of a year, but I think (I hope) that I am at a place where I can treat myself every now and then and not jack my progress up. As my birthday, my wife's birthday, both of my kids' birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas approach, it's good to know that I don't have to punish myself with total deprivation out of fear (which never works). I'm less afraid than I was. Am I getting too complacent? I hope not.

Winter is coming. I think I'm ready. Wish me luck.

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