I post to Facebook on a fairly regular basis, but no posts receive as many comments as those that relate to food. I can post a profound saying or quote and may get a response, but talk about food – wow! I posted about all the soup (4 varieties) I made in the last 2 days. Perhaps the winter hoarding instinct took hold, but even I didn’t know why I had such a strong need to cook. It was relaxing, in spite of all the bowls, pots, knives and cutting boards to clean.
It is incorrect to assume that since one loves food, s/he eats mostly unhealthy food. It is untrue that healthy food doesn’t taste good. Most any “unhealthy” recipe can be made healthier with a switch of ingredients or elimination of some, without losing the essence of the dish. (See the post about substituting ingredients in recipes.)
There are foodies who only eat cream, butter, etc., and there are those who want to live long enough to sample and savor many things. Follow the 80-20 rule and you will be happy and live longer. Eighty percent of the time, eat well and not too much. Indulge your cravings the other 20% of the time (unless there are health issues that need to be addressed) and it will be enough to keep you healthier and satisfied – even the foodies among us.
I was doomed. As I passed the end cap at Stop & Shop, there they were. The evil Mallomars. A few feet further were those nasty, but oh so delicious, sugar coated, Halloween pumpkins (the ones derived from the original “Peeps”). As I contemplated buying them (all of them), I resisted long enough to ask myself “Why, with all you know about sugar and all you are doing with healthy eating, is this even tempting you?” Then the lightbulb went off.
The lure of comfort foods, those associated with pleasant experiences and the smells associated with childhood hold great power over us. It is so visceral and deep, desire comes over us without consciousness. We just know we want it and we want it now. I thought, “Oh, I’ll get the box and eat just one and save them for another time, or even throw them out.” Then, “Who am I kidding?” I’m not a waster, nor can I be sure one will suffice.” So I stepped up my pace and walked past them all, promising myself I would make some healthy chocolate chip cookies (with dark chocolate and reduced sugar and fat). I never made the cookies, instead substituting fruit and am still alive.
I can’t say I conquered the urge forever, but awareness of why I wanted these unhealthy things came into my conscious mind. I got through that one day, but the next time temptation strikes, I will have to have a conversation with myself again and just walk on by. Just as an addict must always renew his/her commitment, so must I. I will do it however, for myself and for my kids, so I can be around to see them reach the milestones in their lives. Now if only I could get my husband to do that too.