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  • Temptation
    Genesis 3
    1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
    2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
    3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
    4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

    Temptation is one of the hardest things to overcome in life, it’s this strong urge pulling you to do something that you know you shouldn’t, this isn’t the same for everyone for the face of temptation has many masks. Hi, I’m Emily Glickmanstein and for the past 10 months I have been on this super cool, extraordinary fitness journey. The hardest obstacle on this journey for me has been that of temptation. No matter how hard I work or how strict I follow my trainers plan for exercise and eating correctly temptation is looming around every corner. I joined the gym 10 months ago with a mission to lose weight and get in shape. I knew how hard it would be to do it on my own and keep myself motivated and accountable so I signed on to work with Paul McDermott, the master trainer at the gym. 7 months into my training contract, Paul mentioned a contest. The goal of the contest was to transform your body in 12 weeks. The contestant with the biggest transformation would win $5000 to split with their trainer. I thought he was crazy for suggesting it. I didn’t believe I had the willpower or even the capabilities to win a contest like this. 7 months earlier I had never even stepped into a gym and this was a national contest, with judges, examining pictures of me in nothing but a sports bra and underwear. It was really flattering how much Paul believed in me and I really didn’t want to let him down so I agreed. In the back of my mind I figured, its 12 weeks, I will just do what he says and try my hardest and worst case scenario I end up losing more weight, how hard could it be, right?

    Jan 1st- Contest Starts: Happy New Year! How appropriate to renew my motivation with the start of a New Year. I took my “almost naked” pictures and emailed them in, gritting my teeth in horror at the people who will actually see these and secretly praying that I don’t fail and let my trainer down.

    Jan 8th- Contest Week 2: Things are going great, I’m eating well, working out and super excited. I sent in my pictures today and I feel great about myself, I think I can see a difference.

    Jan 15th- Contest Week 3- Stressing out.... Girl Scout cookies sales began and both of my daughters are selling them. This means I have 50+ boxes of delicious sabotage sitting in my dining room. If that wasn’t bad enough my daughters felt the need to sign up to work a cookie booth. I had to spend 2 hours listening to other moms convince themselves that the Gluten Free cookies are “healthy” cookies... I’m sorry ladies but they are still not healthy. I was proud of myself though. While the other moms were sampling cookies, I stayed strong and didn’t give in; after all I didn’t want evidence of thin mints showing up on my not thin enough thighs.

    Jan 22nd- Contest Week 4- It is my birthday week! The old Emily would have celebrated for the entire month of January but I have a goal and 5000 dollars looming over me so this year I’ll have to settle for just a day. We went to the in-laws house for dinner. Some out of town family came in to celebrate with me. We were having pizza, salad and cake. It was a stereotypical birthday party dinner. I planned ahead of time that I would eat a slice of pizza and fill up mainly on salad. I even was prepared to have a slice of cake. I was excited for cake. I’ve been working hard and eating really healthy. I deserved a slice of cake. My mother in law bought a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Anyone who knows me knows I like chocolate cake with butter cream icing. It would be easy for me to pass up dessert, I wasn’t tempted at all. They place the cake in front of me with 34 candles blazing. I made a wish and blew them out. They started handing out slices and I thought I could go unnoticed but my 6 year old did not want me to miss out on birthday cake. I end up with a slice the size of my 6 year olds shoe. I feel like everyone who has supported me over the past few months is looking at me, urging me to break my no desserts rule. I hear the validations, “It’s your birthday” “You have to eat cake on your birthday” “One slice of cake will not sabotage your progress.” I take a bite, its dry. I pick at it a little more until no one notices when I toss it in the trash. I did it! I’m not even disappointed. Temptation averted.

    Jan 29th- Contest Week 5- We're going to Disney World! My kids associate January with Disney World and Disney World means ice cream every night according to my 8 year old. I love ice chocolate chip, crushed Oreos, hot fudge and whipped cream... I haven’t had ice cream in 10 months. Paul and I have talked about this trip and how if I am not careful I could easily put on 10 lbs in 7 days.... I can't afford that kind of set back with only 7 weeks till the end of this contest. The beauty of a Disney vacation is that we book meal reservations so I could review menus before and be prepared. I conscientiously decided I would have 1 cheat breakfast, lunch and dinner and only have dessert 2 times max. Even Paul told me to relax but I know how my mind works and once I open the door to indulging I have trouble closing it back up. I spent days planning every detail of what I would eat so I could proactively avoid temptation but even the best laid plans can go awry. Day 1 of my vacation and I already messed up… waffles for breakfast, bread at dinner, and ice cream… I felt awful, I was angry with myself. How can I be miserable in the happiest place on earth? I spent the rest of the week trying to remind myself of my goals and trying to convince myself I wasn’t missing out when the rest of the family ate muffins and popcorn and pancakes. I argued with my inner “fattie” who was telling me that I am on vacation and I should enjoy it. I just about survived the week. I gained 4 lbs… I got back on track as soon as I got home and had all intentions of being as strict as possible for the next few weeks.

    Feb 12th- Contest Week 7- The past few weeks were great. I’ve been working out 2x a day, sticking to my food plan, my contest photos are starting to really show major changes. I’m feeling good. My husband is super proud of me. Paul is even happy with my renewed focus. I agree to go out to dinner with 2 other couples. I chose the restaurant. I knew what I would order and my friends who were going knew about the contest so I assumed no one would give me a hard time for not wasting calories on alcohol or bread. I was wrong. I ordered salmon and grilled asparagus and the commentary began. “Yes, I’m eating real food.” “No, this isn’t the only meal I’ve eaten all week.” The worst comment was when I went to the bathroom because I filled up on water while everyone else was guzzling wine. Apparently if a person who has lost a lot of weight goes to the bathroom while at dinner clearly they are bulimic. It was really hurtful, I started to feel like I had to defend myself or compensate to show everyone that yes I might be dedicated but I’m not crazy and I’m not deprived. I ordered dessert. I didn’t even want it but the peer pressure was too much. Were they right? Maybe I do need to loosen up?

    Feb 26th- Contest Week 9- I was invited to a dinner party at a friend’s house. It’s almost getting ridiculous how many social situations I’ve been thrown into in a short period of time and during a time I can’t afford any slip ups. I can’t decline the invitations because my friends already feel like I’m spending too much time at the gym and I’m not willing to eat lunch out on a daily basis. No one seems to understand anymore that I have a goal. My friends keep asking me when I will “go back to normal.” I’m starting to wonder if I even know what “normal” is anymore. So I go to the party and I’m optimistic. Parties are fun. I can still have a good time without giving in to temptation and overindulging on food and alcohol. There are healthy options so I figure I will stick to the veggie tray and for dinner I will just eat the chicken and salad. I don’t even like stuffing or mashed potatoes. I feel like Eve in the Garden of Eden. I’m just trying to have a good time, socializing, drinking water and eating what I feel won’t sabotage all my hard work. Then someone notices I don’t have a glass of wine in my hand. I find myself surrounded by serpents, only they aren’t snakes, they are my friends. Why do I have to drink to have a good time? If I hear that “taking the day off from my diet one day won’t kill me” one more time I might scream!

    March 26th- I found out I am one of the top 3 finalists in the contest! I feel validated in my dedication and hard work. I can look back over the past 3 months and even though it was been extremely hard and I felt like I did the best I could.

    A few weeks have passed since the final contest submission date. I am still anxiously waiting to find out who the Grand Prize winner is. It was a huge relief to send in my final photos and know that the pressure is off to make progress so fast but I’ve learned a lot over the past 3 months. I’ve realized that no matter how strong you are there will always be people or situations who try to derail you. I’m not saying that all people have ill intentions and I don’t think my friends would purposely try to sabotage my efforts but I think it is hard for someone to grasp the fallout from giving in to temptations and sometimes one mistake can set off a domino effect. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge it changed everything for them. They were living carefree and happy until the serpent convinced Eve and in turn Adam to eat the apple. They knew it was wrong but with enough pressure they succumbed. God punished Eve by sentencing woman to suffer intense pain during childbirth and Adam and all mankind would from then on have to work hard for everything. I can relate to the consequences of giving in to temptation. Any time I gave in not only did I have to suffer my own emotional repercussions but I also had to physically work harder to get back on track. Temptation is not always a bad thing, it can open your eyes and help you learn your weaknesses and build your inner strength but if you let it get out of hand temptation can destroy everything you have worked hard for and desire. One of Paul’s favorite inspirational sayings is “Don’t give up what you want most for what you want right now” and as for those serpent-friends “At first they’ll ask you why you are doing it, but then they’ll ask you how you did it.”
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