My very dear friend New Midlife Mommy mentioned to me in an email the other day that she and her husband felt I was sucking the joy right out of eating. Oh, okay, she didn’t say it quite like that (what she said was actually quite funny) but she wondered what they COULD eat if they had to avoid white flour, sugar, sodium, eggs, dairy, red meat, saturated fats and processed foods.
Other people I know have actually hidden what they are eating when they see me coming and I always wonder why. Do they think I am judging them? Because, truly, I am not.
There are basically only two reasons why I have been trying to eat better. First, since losing about 45 pounds – which I was able to do by slowly learning about basic nutrition - it’s been a constant struggle to keep it off. Especially this time of year when I crave comfort food and pure junk as much as anyone else. Knowing how to eat right and actually doing it are sometimes two different things.
Second, I am no spring chicken anymore. More like a fall chicken. We all know we can’t keep ignoring what we’re putting in our bodies when we get to an age where everything is slowing down, clogging up and generally falling apart.
That being said, I really only care about these things FOR MYSELF. What other people choose to eat is their own business. Even members of my immediate family.
Mr. Jelly Belly is one of the worst eaters I know. He hates fruits and vegetables and is not at all adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. And if he wants Hamburger Helper for dinner, I make it for him. I sure don’t eat it (ick), but if that’s what he likes, then that’s what he gets. He should enjoy his food, right? If I enjoy a nice piece of salmon and half a plate full of vegetables, then that’s what I should have (and listen to an “ick” from him). And I would never force him to eat what I think is good for him or go without. I’m not his mother.
And I certainly don’t go around making unsolicited comments about the food choices of others. If someone asks me for advice, I’ll give them my opinion, but I never look at what someone is eating and point out how they are killing themselves. Even the woman at work who eats a can of big-sodium Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and half a sleeve of saltines every day for lunch while she complains about her weight. I say nary a word. Because she didn’t ask me. And it’s none of my business. (Okay, that's probably a bad example because that bugs me EVERY DAY...but still, my lips stay zipped!)
I am far from perfect these days. Far. For example, last night for dinner I ate 6 rather large shortbread cookies that someone in my house didn’t hide well enough from me. SIX. Why did I eat them? Because I was tired and didn’t plan my meals for the day. Result? I came home from work starving and lacking self-control. Three weeks sugar-free down the drain. Sigh. I beat myself up a little and now I will get over it and move on. If I watched someone else eat those cookies? So what? Other than feeling a little twinge of jealousy, I couldn’t care less.
I can find lots of foods to eat that aren’t processed. LOTS. I realize that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. What works for me might not work for you – and vice versa. So eat what makes you happy and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Least of all me. Because I’m not monitoring.