In four days, I can eat anything I want, because my bodybuilding contest prep diet will be over. The contest is on Saturday, and for months I have been daydreaming about what to eat on Sunday.
Pizza? Cheesecake Factory? Blonde Brownies?
The possibilities are endless. Infinite freedom! No constraints! No laws! No dietary lords nor masters!
But, if past experience is a reliable guide, I will find that I cannot handle this amount of freedom. I have come to lean heavily on the predictable structure of the bodybuilding diet. It's 2:30 pm? Chicken breast and green salad. No questions, no debate, no hand-wringing, no doubt, no guilt. It's easy, exactly because it leaves me no freedom, no wiggle room.
And do you know what? The bodybuilding diet makes me feel safe. Secure. Big, bad obesity cannot come and devour me if I stick to the bodybuilding diet. I feel very safe.
As I considered this language I was using to describe my relationship to the bodybuilding diet, I realized that I had heard it all before. It took me only a few seconds to remember where: in the mouths of ex-convicts who had lived a life of recidivism, in and out of prison, but mostly in. Like me, they all dreamed about the day they'd get paroled. All the girls they'd meet, all the cars they'd drive, all the food they'd eat. But, like me, life on the outside was too wild, too free, to unstructured. They didn't know how to survive in that world. But they had spent years figuring out how to survive inside a prison. So, they went back. Back to where they could feel safe.
And, I reckon, so will I.