That’s ‘cuz it is my birthday! And yes, I still celebrate them. As a friend once said after hearing someone complain about advancing years, “It’s better than the alternative!”
So how am I going to party today? And what does it have to do with this blog? It’s a perfect opportunity to talk about normal eating, and how it includes munching on birthday cake and whatever else you like.
Most of us are familiar with the old diet approach to celebrating with food. You starve yourself most of the day so you are ‘allowed’ to splurge at the event. The outcome, however, is that often you’re so hungry by the time you get there, you overeat on the munchies, then either aren’t hungry for the entrée or opt for the ‘what the hell, I’m back on my diet tomorrow, so I might as well enjoy myself tonight’ approach where you eat even if you’re already full. Trouble is, you really aren’t enjoying yourself with the last approach – you feel ill, if you let yourself feel at all. And you’re mired in guilt at some point.
In the normal eating approach, however, celebratory eating is healthy. It’s about enjoying yourself, having a good time, taking pleasure in traditions that so often include, if not focus on, food. While you’re enjoying, you’re in touch, not overeating to any great extent because that doesn’t make you feel well. It’s choosing a variety of foods that ends up as a balanced meal because that’s what tastes good and, again, what makes you feel well.
Or what about this scenario: You decide not to eat the ‘fattening’ stuff, so on your way home, deprived out of your mind, you stop at the convenience store and pick up a box of stale cookies, fantasizing all the while about the cake you didn’t eat. And then end up eating three times as much – of something you didn’t even really like!
It’s not being deprived, feeling guilty if you eat something that’s rich in fat or sugar, but knowing that it all balances out if you let your internal cues guide you in choosing what, when and how much to eat. It’s not feeling like everything you eat has to meet nutrition ‘rules.’ Actually, if you follow every piece of nutrition ‘news,’ you might feel like those keep changing anyway. They don’t – the basics have been the same since the early days of nutrition guidelines.
But for fun, I’d thought I’d share one piece of ‘news’ that gives the nutrition anxious among us one more reason to feel great about eating chocolate – on your birthday or any other day. The American Heart Association recently published research that shows dark chocolate may reduce blood pressure and improve insulin resistance. As if I needed any encouragement!