Many years ago Kate Moss got in a world of trouble for making the statement, “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels.” The gist of her comment was she’d rather be skinny and not eat certain foods, or much food at all, than be fat and eating all the stuff she craves. While I couldn’t condone the anorexia and eating disorders surrounding that mantra, I thought that with a slight twist it could actually be a very positive statement. So I’ve changed it to, “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.”
I’ve been through periods of my life when I ate McDonald’s for breakfast and lunch almost every day, or even better donuts and McDonald’s or some other fast food for my core meals. I’ve been through stages where I power through cakes and cookies and all manner of junk food, mindlessly shoveling it into my face. What ends up happening? I broke 200 pounds. I got winded walking up stairs. I just felt like overall shit. So what did I do? A healthy but aggressive fitness plan was always in order to get me down to the 170’s or 180’s and then get serious about trying to make the change for good. These last few years of keeping a journal of everything I ate and tallying it up is the only time in my life that I’ve been able to keep at a healthy weight and get the nutrition part of my life squared away.
It’s not that indulgences can never be had. It would be lunacy to say that eating a slice of creamy cheesecake once in awhile is going to kill you. Shunning all fried foods at all times is another recipe for failure. However should any of those rich foods be the core of your nutritional life? Absolutely not, and we all know it but continue to try to eat that way. What’s worse is that in our current culture we are often not even enjoying the food, we are more mindlessly putting it down our gullets and watching our waist lines expand and feeling the effects on our health years later.
I ate a lot of decadent food last night and had a good amount of alcohol too. I didn’t get drunk, but it was a day and night long eating and drinking fest. I thankfully woke up not hung over but I could feel the toll that had on me. As I was running along the water imagining the effects of a great food or alcohol hangover, it occurred to me that feeling spry and enlivened enough in the morning to go for a run is far better than lethargic and hungover. That’s obviously just a very punctuated version of the same effect we have aggregated over years and decades of our lives. We wake up in our 50’s, 60’s or 70’s in a lifelong hangover from those sorts of choices. To what end?
Did I really enjoy waffles for breakfast every day more than being able to swim and run to my heart’s content when I’m in my golden years? Did all those drinks that taxed my liver and spiked my cholesterol really taste better than being able to avoid a Jelly Belly assortment pack of daily pills? I’m decades away, but if I’m guessing the answer is probably not. If I’m going to eat crap food it should be every once in awhile. If I’m going to have a little extra to drink now and again it better be really good stuff. In both cases if I’m doing the activity mindlessly, what’s the point of doing it at all? The enjoyment of these decadent and not-so-great-for-us things is the experience, which is lost if it is being done mindlessly.
So yes, eat, drink and be merry, but when you do it indulging on those things that aren’t great for your body do it only every once in awhile and do it with mindfulness so you can actually enjoy and remember the experience without getting a life-long hangover years from now.