One of my favorite humans makes the same New Year’s resolution each year: “This year, I will redouble my efforts to achieve perfection.”
She says it with a tone of great dignity and hope, her tongue in her cheek, while wearing a perfect Eeyore expression. Always cracks me up.
I’ve noticed a couple of things happening since starting The Skinny Daily Post. On the one hand, people around me avoid eating what they want to in front of me. My presence inspires guilt and even apologies for ordering things, like dessert. On the other, equally unnerving hand, when I eat “off plan” in front of folks, they really notice it.
So, without much effort at all, I’ve become both the diet police and the diet hypocrite. Two identity tags I don’t really want and won’t easily shake. Life’s rich pageant.
I’d like to go on record here and for all time: I’m never been perfect. I never will be. And likely, best beloved, neither will you.
In fact, I believe that trying for perfection in your diet is the surest path to defeat.
A goal of balance and a method of planning can take delightful splurges into account. Use these tools.
So, for instance.
I have discovered a way of eating that works for me. I know that most wheat products, but white flour especially, sugar, fermented things, MSG and hidden glutamates and nitrates don’t agree with my body. I avoid them. I know I need to eat five small meals a day.
And last week I enjoyed a huge, several dish meal with a bunch of friends, topped off by .. (drumroll please)..
Bread pudding with butter sauce.
I do not regret the meal or the pudding. Or the sauce (butter, egg yolks, sugar, cream)
Sorry if that disappoints anyone out there.
I’d hate to think that I’m setting up a lifestyle for myself and the people I love that would exclude such dinners, but particularly bread pudding, forever. I’d rather fall on my sword.
I think bread pudding, maybe 3 – 4 times a year is the perfect food. Even for me.
My maintenance plan has fallen into a pattern. I am quite rigid with my diet during the week, avoiding those things I know won’t agree with me, keeping my calories very much under control. But on special occasions and weekends I loosen up a little. Sometimes eat those things that don’t agree with me on a Friday or Saturday so I can nurse my food hangover the next day. (For me food hangovers happen when I eat the stuff from the list above, and include migraines, digestive chaos, and an all-over achy, poisoned feeling.)
I try to plan for these indulgences by cutting back on food before a planned dinner out or get-together with friends. But if I don’t manage that, then I pay the fiddler for a few days afterward by increasing workouts and cutting back consumption.
And you know what? My body seems to love this sort of up-and-down shifting. Our systems were designed for less rigidity rather than more, and sometimes eating more and sometimes less seems to help keep the metabolism firing. Your body will lower your metabolism, you know, to adjust to a consistently low calorie count.
Learning to live with the ebb and flow of food keeps your attitude toward food healthy, too. Constant depravation can make you a little nutty, building up pressure in your psyche. When you pop, instead of having one serving of bread pudding, you have the whole batch. Or you start to develop the perfectionism of a bonafide anorexic. You don’t want to expose yourself to the possibilities of any kind of disordered eating.
My memory of that wonderful pudding has carried me through this week, making being good so much easier.
Plan a few breaks for yourself, friends,
Ed note: I’m delighted today to note that email subscribers to The Skinny Daily Post have topped 200 in number. The number of visitors to the site exceeded 350 daily visits during the past week. And I’m getting the nicest mail. So I’m glad if my ramblings and URL hunts are hitting the right nerve, but as always, if there’s something else, more, different y’all would like me to explore, or sites or books or people or articles I’ve missed that deserve attention, send them on. And, as always, please share skinnydaily with your friends. It’s a big project and traffic is encouraging.