Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On food and food relationships

I've been thoroughly enjoying my super salad lunches and I'm contributing some of my scale success with my healthier lunch habits.  But I also know that, sometimes, I need something other than a salad.  Case in point: last Friday, I decided to celebrate it being Friday with chicken wraps from Tim Horton's.  They're still good for me and have lots of protein and they're a lovely change from salad.

It's okay to indulge every so often (if chicken wraps can be considered an indulgence) and I'm reminded of this because of a conversation I overhead at the salad bar:

Woman #1: Look at you, salad bar queen!  You're here every day.  You must be sick of salad!  (laugh)
Woman #2: (serious) Yes, I'm getting pretty sick of it.
Woman #1: I was wondering.  I'm on my third day of spinach and strawberries and I'm already sick of them!

What a depressing relationship these women must have with food.  Yes, I know that's a broad assumption to make based on the snippet of (paraphrased) conversation listed above, but I don't think it's too far off.  If you're eating at the salad bar everyday because you want to, good on you.  If you're doing it because you feel you have to but you're hating it, then eat something else

Sure, the cafeteria at work doesn't exactly produce Wolfgang Puck-Oscar food, but there are enough options to make it work.  But the bigger point is that eating should be about enjoying food as much as about being healthy and giving your body what it needs. 

I know tomatoes are good for me, but man, I hate those damn things!  So I don't eat tomatoes.  I also don't like a lot of fruit and I'm hit and miss when it comes to yogurt (mostly miss).  Salmon is good, but only on occasion.  But I love me some vegetables and I'm happy to load up on them; lately I've been loving cauliflower.  (Later, I'll share with you a way to eat an entire head of cauliflower by yourself!)

I think this bad relationship with food is why so many diets fail and why programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig tend to be more successful.  Diets restrict food, force you to eat the same things over and over, make you feel guilty about having a Timbit; on the flip side, weight loss programs let you have a little bit of everything while teaching you how much to eat and how it will impact your body (at least this is the impression I get of them; I've never actually done one).  While I'm not participating in any weight loss program now, I am working on finding foods I like that are good for me and filling my meals with them. 

Eating should never make you miserable, whether it's eating salad every day and hating it or eating poutine every day and feeling guilty about it.  As goes the old adage, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die!"  Even with leaving off the dying part, it's still pretty good advice. 

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