Sometimes, I’m an idiot. I really am. Today is the perfect example.

So, last week I made the decision to switch to what people in the inflammatory bowel disease world generally refer to as “low residue” foods. That means food that is really easy to digest. Things that aren’t easy to digest generally include fruits and vegetables that retain their skin. You can eat a lot of fruits and veg without their skins, by the way. Applesauce… yummy!

So, you’d think that I did this for a reason, right? Yes, yes I did. The gut pain that I have comes with a lot of cramping, which I’m pretty sure is my small intestine trying to break down food that’s not low residue. Giving it a bit of a break for a week or so sounds like a good idea, don’t you think?

Except that I totally suck at keeping my mental commitments. First stupid act? Buying concord grapes. Man, they’re so good. Man, they cause SO MUCH PAIN. One dose will do ya, as one of those old ads said. I threw most of them out. Last night I ate grilled veggies, which included my favourite: grilled red pepper. Dumb. Really dumb. Delicious, but dumb.

Today I had an absolutely miserable food day, other than the light granola I had for breakfast. Yeah. Lunch was a butter chicken wrap (literally butter chicken in a wrap). I ate that while chatting with a former colleague about my job. The gut pain came soaring back, along with a wave of acid (go ulcer! thanks for rejecting indian food two months before I’m going to india!) and last night’s dinner. I had a nap and toast and PB for dinner (no residue). And then…

Then, I became the idiot. Seriously, when will I learn? I had skittles in the house (first mistake). I love skittles. I can go months without having them, but then I get a craving. So, I had these skittles here for a week without eating them. Pretty good, right? Actually, I just forgot they were in the house. I ate them, not just the convenience store size, but the one bigger than that. I didn’t eat the whole thing, but I ate enough to trigger another stomach issue – more acid, more bloat, more nausea. I threw out the bag and am now castigating myself instead of sleeping.

Which brings me to the word “should”. I really shouldn’t have eaten that food. I know that I can fight through this stomach problem while still eating roughage. I know I can because I’ve done it before. It’s uncomfortable as hell, but it can be done. I know that I should eat healthy in order to work out and sleep well. I know what I should do.

I just don’t do it. I spoke to a counsellor about finding a psychologist that can help me with my stress issues without trying to tell me to put away my blackberry or just not take it seriously (which works great when you’re self-employed but not so much when you’re an executive). She said I really need a life coach who can help me reframe the shoulds into the “need to”s. As in changing “I really should go to the gym today” to “I’m going to the gym tonight at 7PM to take that dance jam class and in order to do that I need to leave the office by 6PM and have eaten a small dinner at the office before leaving, so I should pack an extra minimeal and my gym gear before leaving the house this morning and get someone to cover my on call hours while I’m working out”.

That’s a pretty big difference, isn’t it? And what do you do when it’s 6PM and you just want (note the seeming conflict between want and need) to go home and sleep? Or when something comes up at work (as it inevitably does) and you need to be able to respond to emails when you “should” be working out? How do you identify what you NEED to be happy, healthy and sane and what you need to do to get it?

It’s a lot of heavy stuff to think about, isn’t it? Is it any real wonder I’m still awake, despite my 8:30AM gym appointment?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to use you, my few but loyal readers, to bounce off the ideas of what I need to do to be happy, healthy and sane and how I’m going to realize those needs. It’s gonna be an interesting journey, but I think I need to work through it before I meet a coach or a shrink, or working with them is gonna be REALLY expensive!  :o)