It’s 5 p.m. and your day has started out great. You woke up early this morning for a long run, ate plenty of healthy foods such as a banana, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt, and for once, you seem satisfied with yourself. You see, you’ve been trying really hard to get on the health track for weeks now, and it seems like it’s clicking. Your phone rings and you see who it is. Oh no, you think to yourself as you see that one of your closets friend’s Michelle is on the other end. She probably wants to go have dinner tonight or possibly lunch tomorrow. While you would probably jump to go and spend time with her, you’ve been sort of avoiding her these past weeks. Why? Because Michelle eats whatever she wants and doesn’t usually care about living up to a certain body image. She looks great, nonetheless. But come on, you ponder to yourself. One night out with a close friend won’t hurt. I’ll be very careful with what I eat. You answer the phone and confirm to meet that night at a local restaurant.
8:00 p.m. You are so glad that you came! You and Michelle are having a blast, and you cannot believe that you have been passing this time up over a lame health regime. After an hour of laughing hysterically at old stories and terrible ex-boyfriends, the waiter comes to clear your table. Would you care for dessert? He asks with a perfect grin. Michelle looks across the table at you, “Come on, let’s get some.” You look back over at her. This wasn’t exactly apart of your meal plan tonight. But you don’t want to sound rude and like a health freak, so you agree to it. I’ll just take a few bites, that’s all. A few minutes later, the waiter brings a plate with a gorgeous piece of peanut butter cheesecake. In fact, it’s the most beautiful piece of dessert you’ve ever seen. Michelle immediately digs in as you slowly lift your fork to carve off a small piece. You begin to start talking more so Michelle will not notice how little you are eating. You can’t help but worry that eating these few bites will ruin your diet and you’ll wake up a pound heavier. When there is only a small portion left, Michelle disgustingly looks at the plate and says “Girl, I should have not ordered this.” ” I feel awful for eating so much.” You quickly respond, “No way Michelle, don’t feel bad.” “Having dessert for one night will in no way kill you.” “Besides, you can’t obsess about overeating for one night.”
Stop. Let’s take a moment and think about this scenario that we just read. First ask yourself, have I ever been in a situation like this before? Am I the girl who eats small pieces of dessert because it’s NOT okay for me to eat it, but then defend my guilty friend because it IS okay for her? You could look at this issue in two different ways.
1. Perhaps you are trying (or have tried in the past) to eat better and workout consistently. Heck, let’s just admit that you haven’t been proud of your body lately and you’re not satisfied no matter what you do. Everyone tells you how great you look, but you’re still not convinced. Therefore, you’re trying very hard to not slip and stay on a plan to get to your desired body. You make a list of mental rules in your head to go by. According to your rules, you do not overeat, even just a little bit. Because overeating will only result to nothing and everything that you’ve worked for will go down the drain. You have to be consistent in order to get the body that you want, therefore you tell yourself no to things such as eating dessert if it goes over your calorie limit. But you would not dare tell your best friend that she doesn’t need to eat that dessert. She’ll be fine eating dessert this one night. It’s not going to make her gain a pound or anything. That’s impossible. However, in the back of your head, your worried that your 3 bites of cheesecake will throw off your entire plan. In fact, you plan on taking a late night jog to get in some extra exercise.
2. Or perhaps your out with a friend who is clearly having trouble maintaining her weight. She is not as active as she was in High School and doesn’t really have a balanced diet. Once again you think to yourself, it’s not my job to tell her what’s good or bad for her. Eating all of that cheesecake isn’t good for her health, but she’ll be okay. Me on the other hand, I know for sure that it would not be good to put all of that sugar into my system.
So the question is: Why are some things okay for others, but not for you?
When we put ourselves on a plan to get more healthy or to lose weight, we tend to get manic about it. We use these silly principles on ourselves and do not think logically. However, when it comes to someone else, we think differently. We know that overeating one night for them will not hurt them, and/or we do not want to correct their poor eating habits because it might sound rude. For once, let’s look at both points from above, and look at them rationally. Exclude all “manic thoughts” about being a certain weight or being rude from your mind and let’s really focus on the issue at hand.
Point 1: If you go out to eat with a friend, and you both decide to get dessert, will your friend gain a pound? Of course not, you think to yourself. Then why do you think that you will? What people do not realize, is that being on a health or diet plan can change our thinking for the worst. We make many things off limits, and we automatically think that overeating one night will throw us off track completely. When in reality, a pound equals 3,500 calories. By just doing regular activities alone, our bodies burn an average of 2,000 calories a day. Throw in an hour long workout, and you’ve burned anywhere from 2,300-2,500 calories. Even if you ate 3,500 calories that day, subtract 2500 from that and you have 1,000 calories. That my friend, does NOT equal gaining a pound. Therefore, we must be rational with ourselves and allow ourself to be human. Eating that dessert or whatever extra food it may be, CAN be okay with you. Just don’t do it on a daily basis.
Point 2:Looking at the scenario in reverse, what if you are not being helpful enough with your health knowledge. If you are in better shape than your friend, and you see that she is going off the deep end with bad eating habits, why do you punish yourself for a few bites, but don’t bother to guide your friend down a more healthful path? Because that’s her body, you tell yourself. Well if you love your friend as you do yourself, wouldn’t you want your friend to live a healthy lifestyle just as you are trying to pursue? While we stated earlier that eating dessert or whatever junk food one night won’t hurt, having your friend do this on a daily basis will. Therefore, talk to your friend in a loving way about how you wish for both of you to get on the right track.
So now that we’ve looked at both issues at hand, let’s stop making things okay for others and not for ourselves. Even though we may not all look alike, we are all humans and God designed our bodies to be and work the same way. Let’s start thinking rationally about our eating habits and truly do things the healthy way for ourselves and our friends.
Question for you:
Have you ever been the type to pass up food because you thought it wasn’t okay for you, but told someone else that they should eat it instead?