Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Having fun! Eating Healthy?

"Have fun! Eat healthy!" I received this cheerful suggestion from a newly acquired friend. It kind of startled me because I realized that I don't usually associate those two things as being related. Aren't the two a blatant contradiction in terms? Is it possible to have fun and still eat healthy, or eat healthy and still have fun? I don't know. The jury is still out on this one. I honestly don't mind trying to improve my daily eating for good health. I have pretty good habits for the most part. When do I let my guard down? WHEN I want to "Have fun".

So when do I allow that? How often do I deem it more important to have fun than to make wise food choices? Well, let's see, the weekend is always a good excuse. When I am on a trip always qualifies. If I am feeling sorry for myself and need some "comfort", I will self- medicate with something yummy. Social situations always call for "fun" eating. See my problem?

Perhaps I need a little paradigm shift here. Out with the old frame of mind, and in with a new perspective, one that doesn't connect a fun time with fat and sugar. I know that simple willpower is not enough. Life is not about living in a state of denial. It is about valuing the promise of something different enough to make the necessary changes. For most of us, we enjoyed health and fitness while we were too young to realize just how good we had it. We were able to eat whatever fun food we wanted with hardly any repercussions at all. I don't expect to return to my college days, neither to my figure, my poverty, nor to my homework load. I am happy that some things have improved with the passage of time. But that is not to say that we cannot go back to a healthier weight. I'm not ready to go down without a fight, but am I willing to change my definition of fun?

I have been around the block enough times to know that sometimes we simply cannot deal with the challenges on our own. We may think we are strong, but sometimes our strength is really just a disguise for our stubbornness. We are simply unwilling to sacrifice our will. If I want that doughnut, I'm going to have that doughnut, or that Oreo cookie, or whatever, and no one is going to stop me. Yikes. That hit a little too close.

I don't have the answers, my friend. But I do recognize a wake-up call when I hear it. For me the challenge will lie in finding ways to have fun and eat healthy at the same time; to convince myself that the two can actually coexist. That doesn't mean that I will be perfect in following healthy guidelines, but I can make improvements. I can be more consistent without falling off the wagon as often, all in the name of having a good time. Food can be just as addictive as any substance that promises to make us "feel good". Controlling our intake is trickier though because we can't simply quit cold turkey. We actually need food every day. Controlling our bodily appetites is one of the main tests presented to us while on this earthly sojourn. Are we passing, or are we failing?

Life isn't meant to be easy. I often choose the easiest possible solution. What does that say about my strength of character? If I make my quest for health an issue of character then perhaps I will be willing to take that high road. I hope it is a road we can take together. I'll see you there!




Kim said...

I think the big key is moderation. If I choose to have a cookie, I need to have some self-discipline and stop after no more than two, but I also shouldn't beat myself up if I choose to have a cookie.

I think we are hard-wired to think sugary treats = fun. Eating healthy can be fun if you have the right outlook about it. (And when I say "you," I mean "me.")

Laura said...

I love food so much!! Moderation is a problem I have and I have the hips to prove it. I haven't gotten a 5 yet for a day, but we're only on day 2. I have a 4 and a 3. Tomorrow I see I 5!!