The very first time I heard this quote, it was motivating, life-changing. A “duh” moment. Why would I eat something for a second that would take away the pleasure of being healthy in the long-run? But as the years went on (and I fell off the wagon), the quote lost its luster. Became annoying, even. But I want to bring it back! Even if it’s just for this one blog post. So for all of you out there who are sick of this credo (made popular by Weight Watchers, I believe), jump on board for just a second. Then you can jump off again! Or not.
When I first read this quote, I felt like a part of me changed, even if just for a short moment. I love reading quotes and then wondering what state of mind the person quoted was in. In this case, it seems pretty simple she (or he, but probably she) is faced with a decision. Decadence of some kind (for her probably chocolate, but for me it’s things like pizza, cheese dip, etc.) faces her. How does she deny herself the pleasure? And why should she? I mean, it’s just ONE treat (for me, which turns into another and another and another – the excuses for having treats are endless – see “Never trade what you want the most for what you want in the moment”). In the big scheme of things, and after keeping a food diary for just a week, you can see how those treats add up. And, honestly, do they teast good NOW? A week later, when you haven’t lost a pound? You can’t even taste them anymore.
And this weekend I really tried to put this quote into play. I ended up at the keeper of the dieters evils: a buffet. Which, honestly, rarely have healthy food. And the foods that used to be healthy (like chicken and fish) are stuffed, or fried, or covered in heavy sauce. And how hard is it to only have fresh fruits and veggies or broth-based soup? I tried. It’s not easy. But, I did avoid the “create your pasta” station, and the pizza, and the bread. I walked around and chose ONE treat. The one thing that looked the best (crab-stuffed ravioli, which if I had seen on a menu I probably wouldn’t have chosen so I thought it was interesting). I was “that girl” pacing back and forth among ALL of the food choices. It was brunch so there were the delicious breakfast items like waffles, omelettes, sausage, and toast. And then the lunch items I mentioned: several kinds of pizza (which I forced myself to not even look at because buffet pizza is always gross), make your own pasta, heavily sauced meats and pre-made pasta, crab legs with butter sauce. The list goes on. But I came across the ravioli and for some reason it sounded interesting, and looked delicious with a white sauce and fresh spices. And I took one (YES, ONE!) little ravioli along with my plate of some kind of premade salad with spinach and other greens and strawberries, fresh fruit, roasted potatoes and tomato soup. And I was satisfied. I savored the ravioli but filled up on the healthier stuff. I know I have no idea what was in the tomato soup (but it was tomato basil, not tomato bisque), how the potatoes were cooked (they weren’t fried), or what the salad dressing was made of (even if it was olive oil, that’s better than the caesar salad, and more appealing than an entire plate of fresh fruit).
Although the perfectionist in me wished I had walked away without the ravioli, I look back and realize another day, another time, I would have filled my plate with EVERYTHING. Waffles and sausage, drowned in syrup. Several pieces of (likely unsatisfying) pizza, made my own pasta with probably a heavy sauce I wouldn’t even like that much, and maybe thrown in an omelette for measure.
The next night I was in a similar position, having appetizers with co-workers at a sports bar with no healthy options. I ate what we had, but limited myself from over-indulging, then chose three things at the buffet stations. Two of which weren’t good and I threw out without eating. And the third was divine.
And the truth is the divine things don’t now taste as good as skinny feels. But remember, neither did all of the stuff I passed up. I notched a 1.4 pound weight loss on this week’s tally. And feel confident that had I eaten with reckless abandon, I would have shot five days of hard work (1400 calorie diet, about an hour a day of working out) in less than two days.
I’m glad I didn’t. Because those 1.4 pounds, although a small feat, feel a lot better than even fifteen pieces of pizza!