I spent the past few days in Chicago. Today is my Dad’s 83rd birthday and he continues to work his empire. I am amazed at his strength, motivation, and continuous vision.

Sitting on the plane with my handsome 20 year old son, headed for Chicago in honor of my father’s 83rd birthday, I found myself sandwiched between my son and an adorable, but severely overweight college girl. I was her…once upon a time. As I was settling into my seat, arranging my carry-on with ease, I realized how difficult it was back in the days when my weight was peaked out at 234 pounds. I am flying Spirit airlines, which is known for great economical prices, but also very small seats!

I realized, snug in my seat, how far my life has come. There was a time I would have purchased muffins, candy bars, chips, and coffee before even boarding the plane just to have my “stash” of goodies for the ride. Today, I still need my stash of food, but the nutrients are quite different. I am toting homemade apple-raspberry muffins and a decaffeinated coffee. A far cry from where I had been not so long ago.

I feel snug no longer worried about my last binge, future diet, or future binge. I have my routine in place, always vigilant regarding what is my food, and what is not: never taking chances. While waiting at the airport terminal, I observed so many scurrying to get doughnuts, coffee, muffins (not my “natural” sugar-free muffins). I could see the familiar urgency and frenzy written over their faces and body language. I wondered if they were plotting the upcoming diet, if the guilt and shame set in, or if they were at the euphoric state we addicts reach on the first bite of gooey chocolate laden treat.

As the plane began descending, I embraced the thought of 3 days in Chicago with my family of origin. There will be parties and dinners to attend, and I will partake in all of the festivities, but the difference will be no flour, sugar, or wheat, for me. I will walk in the morning, strolling near lake Michigan observing the neighborhood mansions for my a.m. routine exercise. I will ring in Dad’s 83rd birthday conscious and present, rather than numbed out on sugar, flour, and wheat. This trip was a friendly reminder of where I have been and where I am, and where I am headed. Life is delicious.

Sitting at the airport on my return to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida I am snug and full of joy. My trip was very good. I enjoyed family and what it represents. I did not dream about foods I was not eating, or wishing to eat, or feeling guilty for having eaten them. I am with my fresh salad, topped with chunks of chicken and lemon knowing another day is closing clean and healthy. I have learned to be prepared for my trips and work my routine. The rest is easy. My father and his siblings are all elderly, but you would not know. They are healthy, vibrant, and still working a strong and prosperous business. I have learned many of my good habits from watching them. And of course some things I have to step away from them…like eating the sweets, breads, and pastas…all a part of the Italian way.
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