One thing I try not to focus on too much are the things I’ve had to give up in order to reach a healthy eating lifestyle and healthy weight. While in theory there are no foods which I “can’t” have, in practice there are numerous items that used to be a big part of my life which I’ve had to set aside these past four years.
The foods that come to mind are those which, once I start with them, I can’t seem to stop. None of them are things that I consider to be particularly high quality (except perhaps, ice cream), and none of them are crucial to my day-to-day happiness.
At the same time, whenever I feel as though I cannot or should not eat a particular food, there always rises up within me a sense of resentment and opposition. So when I navigate around these triggers, I have to do a tricky dance of avoiding them without giving them too much power.
Some of the trigger foods like candy, are things that I can make easy substitutions for. I used to consume large amounts of factory-made sweets on an almost daily basis, and now I find I can get by with a small snack bar, or even a few sugar-free hard candies. Other things (like ice cream) I continue to have, but on a very infrequent basis and never, ever at home.
Lastly, there are those foods which I’ve essentially banished without replacement (pizza, supermarket cookies, potato chips, french fries). As much as I would like to tell you that we don’t need to say ‘no’ to anything and we don’t need to prohibit ourselves from the foods we crave, amongst this latter category I have found neither satisfying substitutions, nor the ability to control portions.
According to Merriam-Webster™, there’s a great word for these: SACRIFICE. The definition of which is “the surrender of something for the sake of something else.” It was suggested to me this morning that I focus on being happy this holiday season and focus on foods which I love AND which are good for me. If that kind happiness is the “something else” that I’m getting with this “sacrifice,” I can live with these limits.
As usual, Your Mileage May Vary.