As a foodie, I read a lot of food blogs. I surf for recipes. I subscribe to several magazines that are food and health related. In short, I, like most of my fellow human beings, love food.
I also like to be healthy: I exercise the recommended 30-45 minutes a day 4 to 6 days a week. I drink plenty of water. Maybe not 8 cups a day, but enough that I never am dehydrated. I eat real, natural, whole foods for the most part. I snack on veggies, fruit and nuts a lot of the time. My kids think salads are my favorite food because I eat so many of them. That’s the Crunchy Granola Girl in me.
I have a stash – or two – of candy. (I tell myself the Dove Dark Chocolates are high in antioxidants, so they’re good for me.) I eat pizza loaded with cheese and pepperoni and – gasp! - a white flour crust. I love me some Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia or even just Publix Santa’s White Christmas ice cream. I consider a Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha frappucino to be a treat if I am anywhere in the vicinity of a Starbucks, which, the closest one being about 45 minutes away, I rarely am. This is the Willie Wonka Wannabee in me.
The thing is… I’ve learned to strike a balance between the two. Not always well, given that people have birthdays, there are holidays, travel, and what have you, but for the most part, if I fall short one or two days, I make up for it the next. I don’t eat the whole pint of Chunky Monkey, I eat an inch out of the container, then put it back in the freezer.
I wasn’t always this way though. Once upon a time, I ate that whole pint of ice cream. I scarfed almost an entire bag of chips and dip. I ate 3 or 4 slices of pizza, instead of 1 or 2. Now, granted – and this is important – I was always active, so I could. Still, time has a way of sneaking up on you, and even if you do exercise regularly, a person can’t keep eating this way if they want to be healthy, let alone fit into their clothing. I’ve had to make adjustments with how much and what kind of food I eat.
Which brings me to what I really want to talk about: What you eat, and who says what’s right about what you eat. Because I despise when someone I know tells me that the only way for ME to be healthy, is to eat only whole grains. To follow the Paleo diet, the Atkins diet, eat low-carb this, and high protein that, to cut out all gluten, to eat vegan, vegetarian, no sugar, no eggs, no coffee. In short, it seems these days that everyone has the idea that what works for them, should also work for me!
This also applies to politics, R-rated movies, religion, literature, and parenting as well, but for today, we won’t go there.
So let me set it straight: What works for you, won’t necessarily work for me. I may be a 5’7″, fair-skinned, blue-eyed, anemic, early-rising, big reader, runner kind of person. YOU may be a 6′, brown-eyed, easily tanning, late night, video game playing, tennis-racquet wielding kind of person. Or not. If it makes sense that each of us truly is an individual in physical, intellectual and personality characteristics, then why would our bodies process foods the exact same way? Why do you have 20/20 vision, and I have to wear glasses for my near-sightedness despite all the carrots I eat?
So why do some people have to tell me all about it?
I mean, if someone asks me how I stay thin, what kind of foods I eat, or what kind of exercise I do, then I’ll tell them. But I would never presume to say that my way is the only way. If they ask my opinion or advice, knowing I spend a lot of time researching nutrition and exercise, I’ll give it. Rarely unless that advice is solicited, however. (Considering it’s kind of my job, in the interest of their health and well-being, I will share these things with my husband and children.)
I am so tired of people making me feel bad because I choose not to follow what works for them. I am so tired of someone telling me that if I don’t choose their way, I’m – in a nutshell -going to die.
I think I’ve found a balance for me and my lifestyle. So stop telling me I haven’t.