Like many real women, I put a fairly good amount of effort into trying to make healthy food choices. I eat lots of veggies and fruit, I avoid breaded and fried foods, I cook with low- or no-fat ingredients, I limit eating desserts, and don’t really remember the last time I sat down to a big ol’ bowl of ice cream.
But I’m no health food angel. I’m a snacker. I have a tremendous sweet tooth. Chocolate and I have had a love affair since I was a child. I don’t believe I’ve ever met a baked good that I didn’t like. You get the picture.
I am impressed by, and in awe of, you women out there who have the strength and willpower to adhere to strict diets of no fat, no sugar, no carbs, high protein foods. This is why you look thin and muscular and will continue to feel good well into your 90’s, and why I have a progressively developing “mom shape” and will probably go to the cookie counter in heaven much sooner than you.
What I have come to believe is that even when we try hard to behave for the most part, there are just going to be times in our daily lives when we have to understand that moods, environmental influences and self-control issues will drive us to make poor choices. And we just have to be ok with that.
On a recent chick’s weekend, one of my BFFs sweetly (get it? sweetly?) brought a package of Oreo Thins to contribute to our festivities. After all, we enjoy our treats, yet we all want to watch our girlish figures. Funny thing, the container was never opened. However, we did partake of a dinner out at an Italian restaurant, and some fresh baked brownies. I found out later that my BFF kindly left me the Oreo Thins rather than taking them home with her. Funny thing, the container has still not been opened.
Out of curiosity, I compared the label on the package of Thins with the label on the nearly-empty package of Double Stuffed Oreos that happens to be in my cupboard. (Gosh, don’t know how THOSE got in there!). Surprisingly, nowhere on the Thins package is there any wording that indicates they are lower fat, or better for you, than a regular Oreo. Just by virtue of being called “Thin”, my mind had assumed they were “healthier”. I did determine that one could eat 4 of the Thins and consume one gram less fat and one gram less sugar than eating 2 Double Stuffed. Not a whole lot of difference. So really, the only thing being taken away is the white stuff in the middle. Who doesn’t like the white stuff? If I’m going to make the choice to eat an Oreo, let’s go all the way.
Some time ago, my son and I were on a road trip together, and we paused at a rest stop. We went in to the convenience store area to get a beverage. I was tired of drinking plain water, and wanted something else. However, the selection at this stop was limited. My options were basically either highly sugared fruit drinks or diet soda. I was torn, and said to my son that I wasn’t sure which to pick, something with tons of sugar, or something with tons of chemicals. Without missing a beat, he said “Well, it depends. Do you want to get diabetes, or cancer?” We of course giggled about this most of the way home. Besides proving that he and I share a somewhat sick sense of humor, I realized he was right about my choices. If I was making a conscious decision to NOT have water, then I just had to be ok with my guilty selection of something unhealthy.
I was reminded of this today when I realized I was browsing the menu sign at Dunkin Donuts, trying to pick a healthy option. When I realized what I was doing, my internal monologue went something like this: “You realize you willingly came in to a place where the word DONUT is literally in the name, right? There are no healthy options. You have already selected a beverage that likely contains a week’s worth of sugar. Just pick out that big fat muffin calling your name, recognize your lack of willpower and move on.”
After making a less-than-healthy choice, I always do the same age-old R.W. bartering system with myself. If I eat this now, I’ll walk an extra mile or go to an extra workout, or I’ll eat a salad for dinner, or….. I love how I fool myself into believing that makes it all better.
Tonight my husband is away and it is just my son and me at home. I got home late from work. I am throwing a pizza in the oven and making myself a big salad. I figure if I eat more salad than pizza, I’ll be in good behavior mode. And at least I didn’t do takeout. Ah, yes, all in the name of balance.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll finally break out one of those Thins for dessert.