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You Are The Boss Of You

Posted Jan 06 2011 5:31am
I worked out yesterday and overdid it a little. I totally forgot I had some of those back muscles. I suspect I'm not the only who has hit the gym or the diet super hard this time of year because we feel we have some making up to do

I’ve spent the last month haphazardly trying to lose weight (I want to drop five pounds). Every day I was making excuses for why I ate what I did or didn’t move the way I said I would. But I’m done with excuses. I’ve pulled my head from my nether regions and I thank the maintenance gods that I only gained .7 this holiday season. (Geez-oh-man. White flour anyone? Sugar? Don’t even ask me how many hours I spent sitting around. Granted, I’ve been through a lot of changes the last three months. But seriously? That is NOT an excuse for me to become sedentary.)

Anyway, in reality, my eating wasn’t that bad, but I was not as careful as I usually am about monitoring my carb intake. Thankfully I came to my senses last week, and now when I see white, I run the other direction. Case in point, my daughter and I went out to lunch yesterday and the server brought two very pretty white rolls, one of which had a sugar coating on top. I relied on my tried and true question: “How will I feel five minutes from now if I ate that?” Foods I really love are ones I make allowances for, and while the white flour/sugary buns called my name, I wasn’t feeling their love. I knew I’d feel yuck physically and emotionally if I ate them.

I stuck to my spinach salad and broccoli and the very yummy house dressing that, while not calorie-friendly, was very satisfying in small amounts. The dressing is what I wanted, not the rolls, and so I planned for it.

The longer I travel on this road, the more I refrain from labeling some of my favorite foods as “bad,” because the only thing that makes them “bad” is that I let them tell me how much I should eat instead of me telling them how much I should eat. It’s all about who’s boss.

I’m not sure if this is exactly pertinent to what I’m trying to say, but in 1982, my mother gave me the silver-plated utensils she’d received when she and Dad got married. Eight forks, knives, soup spoons, and serving spoons, two butter knives and a pickle fork. She bought me a red velvet-lined silverware box in which to store them. I kept that box in a drawer in my grandmother’s buffet that I’d inherited, and I took them out to use only on special occasions, mostly Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When I moved last year, Larry and I divvied up the kitchen stuff. When we got to the silverware, I said I’d just buy a cheap set at Wal-Mart. Then I remembered my mom’s silver-plated silverware in the box in the buffet. The loudest voice in me – the most anal retentive – said, “You can’t use those! They’re special!” But the let-your-hair-down, practical voice said, “Why not? They’re meant to be used! It’s not like they’ll break.” (I like that voice the most.)

I took all the utensils out of the red-velvet box and placed them in a Tupperware silverware rack and moved them to Pittsburgh, where I use them every day. The best part is that every time I use a spoon or fork or knife, it reminds me of all those special occasions – from the time I was a little kid up until Christmas 2009 – when my mom or I set a table. My mother’s silverware – housed in a very ordinary kitchen and used to eat very ordinary food – is meant to be enjoyed. It’s special just by virtue of its history, but it’s still utilitarian. And I get to be the boss of it.

It’s the same thing with food. Knowing what’s special and why, affording ourselves that which is special and working it into what it also precious to us – eating healthy – is the ongoing gift of eating right, of no longer assigning good and bad labels to the things we love.

Whether you eat with your hands, a plastic spoon or a 14-carat-gold fork, I hope the food you choose to eat is worthy of you, your body and your aspirations. Always remember, you are the boss of you.
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