This time of year, there is an abundance of opportunities to overconsume. It’s easy to throw caution to the wind with the ‘holiday’ excuse. I find myself consuming more ‘cheat’ foods than usual and that I need to focus my attention on maintaining my normal routine as much as possible. Although most of my friends and clients think I eat perfectly all the time, I am no stranger to temptation or weakness in the face of an irresistible dessert. My usual strategy is to take a bite or two and stop.
Last Saturday, my friend Sue brought homemade red velvet cupcakes to the house. I normally would have no problem resisting these, as red velvet isn’t a compelling dessert for me. They were so beautifully crafted, however, and I know Sue to be the best dessert maker I know. Of course I would try one. One bite into the cupcake, and I knew wasn’t going to stop at a bite or two. I ate the whole cupcake, but the real challenge was that there were 2 cupcakes leftover. I usually make sure the dessert goes home with the person who brought it, but this time I didn’t.
This morning, after resisting the cupcakes all day yesterday, I needed to make a decision on what to do about the cupcakes. I decided to have a piece of one, and freeze the rest.
Having decided this, I gave myself permission to enjoy, guilt-free, my choice of eating the cupcake. I savored every bite – noticing the subtle flavors, appreciating my friend taking the time to meticulously prepare such a delicious creation. I enjoyed eating this small piece of cupcake – with absolute awareness and attention – more than I would have if I’d eaten an entire one.
Being healthy is not about perfection, but about striking a balance. So often we mindlessly consume, without really taking the time to enjoy or appreciate what we are eating or drinking and then have to deal with both the guilt and the excess pounds that come with it. This holiday season, try focusing on quality rather than quantity, and see if you can survive the holidays without gaining the usual holiday weight. Slow down, take a bite, savor the flavor of the food. You may be amazed that you are satisfied with less of it, and enjoy it more.