Fat Tuesday: Healthy Choices

An old joke proclaims that mid-life is when you start asking the tough questions, like 

“How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it’s no longer a healthy choice?”

I thought a lot about healthy choices this week (both the correct kind, as well as the ice cream kind) and what choices a healthy definition of “healthy” ought to include.

The “healthy” choices I’ve been focusing on lately obviously center around portion sizes, meal schedule, and the amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, etc that go into each meal – along with the volume of water I’m drinking each day.

But there’s also my emotional health to consider. I’m not just making an excuse for cheating or binging. I’m carefully considering how the psychology of denial can take it’s toll. In many case, I have to work hard to ensure I’m not just adopting an attitude of “no”, but rather one of “yes, but”.

  • Yes, but an appropriate amount
  • Yes, but this and not the next 4 other “splurges”
  • Yes, but after you’ve eaten “good” food and drunk some water first.
  • Yes, but later when you can really enjoy it, rather than cramming it into your face now to satisfy a craving.

This past week we celebrated Hannukah. And because I live in a bakery, that meant I was surrounded by no less than 800 doughnuts, 500 latkes, and 6 apple pies – all fresh from the oven/fryer. While it was certainly a challenging time, it also gave me a chance to practice this new mental framework I’m talking about. 

OF COURSE there were doughnuts and OF COURSE I had some. But when I had one, I had ONE, not three. I picked the best looking one on the plate. I enjoyed the hell out of it. I really took time to savor each bite. The same went for the slice of apple pie, the latkes with apple sauce, and yes, the ice cream. 

And you know what? One was enough. Over the course of the week, I had 2 doughnuts, 3 latkes (I don’t really love them anyway so it was just a small taste that I wanted), and 2 slices of pie. I was able to walk past them as they sat on the counter, because I knew I COULD have them if I wanted, but I was waiting for the moment when I had time. 

So what was the damage? You be the judge. In week 8 my numbers are:

  • I’m still 5′ 8″ tall
  • And I’m still 51 yrs old
  • But I’m down to 165 lbs
  • 37″ belly
  • 37″ waist
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