Okay, so it’s the start of a new year and even though you wrote REALLY REALLY BIG at the top of your resolutions list “EAT HEALTHIER” you’re still waking up with a massive hangover from that champagne and fried appetizer saturated celebration last night. We’ve all been there. After reading diet tips in magazines, or obsessing over supposed health fanatic celebs, we wake up one morning and decide things are gonna be different this time around. We make a resolution and inevitably, we break it within a matter of days.
What was it this time, hmm? You’re only drinking fresh vegetable juice in the morning? That went out the window when your alarm went off an hour late last Tuesday. You’re never eating anything fried again you say? Turns out the boiled option at the chicken place your friends love to go to isn’t quite up to par. I only eat healthy when I’m not with the guys, I only eat vegan until I get drunk, I refuse to eat carbs except when I’m at my mothers… All these decisions sound fine until you realize just how many excuses you’ve found to treat yourself to the delicious foods you love to hate. And thats when the downward spiral begins. After eating nothing but steamed vegetables and brown rice all week you found yourself seeking comfort in an extra large bag of Haribo Gummy Fruit Salad after a particularly hard day at work. Is the head-pounding self induced sugar coma a source of masochistic pleasure or a harsh punishment for breaking your promise to yourself?
Sometimes I think our diet resolutions are more fun to dream up than they are to keep up. The idea of refusing the dessert menu after dinner, or drinking green juice concoctions for lunch sounds clever and sophisticated, but even the most imaginative ways of eating can become repetitive and dull– or sometimes simply not right. A healthy diet is one thing, but a large part of staying healthy is being happy, and depriving yourself of your favorite foods is no way to keep yourself on the right track.
Eating right should rely less on what you’re not eating, and more on balancing and understanding what it is you do eat. Cutting foods out is great if you’re ready, but growing and learning to appreciate more of the foods around us is really the key to a truly healthy diet and state of mind. Becoming educated about ingredients and the process that goes into preparing different meals is just as important as knowing how your own body reacts to certain foods. It might sound silly, but educating yourself may make you realize little things like you don’t have to cut out french fries entirely– you just might be better off foregoing Micky-Dees in favor of a half size portion from the hand-cut place down the street.
I’m hoping this year we can all gain confidence in our individual eating habits. I hope we can learn to appreciate new foods while enjoying only the best of the old ones. I hope we can relish in clean, guilt-free meals, and still stand proud after a bout of delicious indulgences. Instead of resolving to banish the bad foods, I propose we start focusing on the best ones! This year, resolve to take back your appetite. You can start right here.