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Caleb’s plan was to celebrate a hard-fought victory.

He had been studying for his anatomy test for days. Passing on Zoom chats with friends, movies with the family and even pool time with his brother, Caleb was laser-focused on maintaining his A in the class.

His hard work totally paid off. He aced his exam. And now, it was time for a celebratory Publix sub, (his favorite meal in the world and probably his greatest obstacle to being fully Keto).

I was getting something out of my own car when I heard him whistling my way.

“Need anything from the store, Mom?” He asked, putting on his mask and reaching for his car door.

I told him we didn’t need anything, congratulated him on the exam, and laughed at his Rachel-like parting joke of, “Hey, maybe I’ll take an extra victory lap around the block.”

The next thing I heard was the horrible sound of a bumper being ripped off.

The poor kid had snagged the fire hydrant in our yard as he backed out of the driveway. And, the damage was swift, horrible and instantly regrettable.

“Why did I even bother trying to reward myself?” He almost whimpered as he put his car in park and got out to survey the damage. “If I hadn’t tried to celebrate, this wouldn’t have happened.”

If you watched our vlog this week, you saw Joe and I nearly break our arms patting ourselves on the back for parenting like champs in response to Caleb’s accident. But the truth is, hearing Caleb beat himself up for celebrating a goal achieved was way more upsetting than the damaged bumper. 

The lesson I wanted him to learn was, “be more aware of your surroundings,” or “be more careful next time.” I didn’t want him to stop planning celebrations.

There’s been some jokes circulating that the “19” in COVID-19 refers to the amount of pounds gained while in quarantine. And, for many of my friends on the SAD (Standard American Diet), it’s easy to make peace with the idea of gaining weight in this season. It’s not much different for them than the idea of gaining weight over the holidays.

But, if you’re in the middle of a keto journey, where you’ve worked so hard to lose weight, gain mental clarity, and experience better health, gaining weight “like everybody else” can be heartbreaking.

Here you were enjoying some forward momentum in your health goals and suddenly an old stress-eating habit has snagged you. I know what that damage is like: swift, horrible, and instantly regrettable.

Your first response, like Caleb, may be to say, “Why bother?! If I had known this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.”

The problem with that thinking is that without a plan for celebration, Caleb wouldn’t have started studying in the first place. Whether he celebrated his success or not, Caleb needed a good grade in that class. But, without a plan to succeed and something to look forward to, Caleb wouldn’t have the motivation necessary to make that happen.

Whether or not you celebrate every pound that comes off and every health goal achieved, you still need to get healthy. The celebration is just a bonus. The problem is, without celebrating, you’ll lose motivation to keep doing the right thing.

The prudent response to Caleb’s accident wasn’t to abandon the car and give up planning to celebrate future victories. Rather, we lifted the bumper off the ground, tacked it back up, and practiced backing out around the obstacle. 

While Joe was still finishing the repairs, I took Caleb to Publix and bought him a sub. 

“I don’t deserve this,” Caleb said, looking at his shoes while we headed to Publix.

“Yes, you do,” I corrected him. “You weren’t getting the sub to celebrate being the world’s best driver. You were getting the sub to celebrate getting an A on your anatomy test. Be clear on what things are actually connected.”

It’s Fearless Friday. So, don’t be afraid to celebrate the big picture of your Keto success. And, certainly don’t abandon this vehicle. 

Lift your bumper off the ground, tack it back up and practice navigating around your obstacles next week. 

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