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Taking the Cake

Taking the Cake

“It’ll keep for a few days, won’t it?” they ask. 

My eyes get big. I smile nervously. 

“What’s wrong?” they ask. 

“I’m not sure I can be trusted with it,” I say. 

The last quarter of the delicious dense spice cake with thick buttercream frosting sat on the pink stand with a pedestal.  If it stayed within my sight, I knew that in a matter of a few days —or possibly a few hours—-I could polish it off with ease. With a hot cup of chai or a cool glass of milk, it would be my perfect breakfast, snack, or pure pleasure.

I try to keep sweet or salty temptations away from my line of vision. (Nuts, a part of the diet of global centenarians, are a notable exception.) Despite whole foods focus, potato chips remain a top ten favorite food and any combination of chocolate and peanut butter is destined to be my downfall.

I have a multitude of blind spots. But when it comes to willpower with treats, I know myself. 

I’ve often set the intention to eat only three Girls Scout Thin Mints at a time. I hide the box in the back of the freezer, but that might not stop me from digging it out from behind the frozen blueberries and emptying its contents in record time. Domino foods for me include bites of black licorice or a bag of just about anything with sodium. 

I understand the power of choice. Eat the cake or don’t eat the cake. Opt for a walk or sit on the sofa. Check my phone for the fourth time or floss my teeth and go to bed.

Still, every decision takes a bit of energy. As the day progresses and decision-making energy wanes, the quality of my choices declines in tandem. Soon I’m moistening my fingertips to get the last crumbs from the bottom of the bag of Cheetos. 

When I make one big decision— “No pretending you won’t be taunted”—I don’t have to make future multiple decisions. Better to decide once and for all there will be no Chunky Monkey in the freezer rather than fretting and failing seven times a week about a dish at bedtime.

The leftover birthday cake stayed. I removed it from its grandstand, wrapped it twice, and tucked it safely in the bottom back corner of the fridge. That single choice left me with many days of saying “just a sliver to savor.”

While big decisions simplify my life, occasionally being trusted with small choices is pretty delicious, too. 

Coach Koenig

Which decisions do you get tired of making?

Is there one big decision that would eliminate many other decisions?

What intentions guide your choice?