Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthdays and Other Celebrations

Last week was a busy one for me and my husband. First, we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Two days later it was my birthday. Yes, thank you very much. The day after that, we had friends over for dinner. There are a lot of ‘celebratory’ meals in that small space of time.

Special occasions usually call for special meals, and typically a special meal is heavier, bigger, and always ends with dessert. So what did I do about it? Nothing. The experts say part of our fascination, read problem, with food is that practically from birth, we are taught to associate food with happiness and celebration. Birthday cakes, holiday meals, all A’s on our report card, just about any reason to be happy includes a reason to have a cookie or a piece of cake. I’m no different from the next person but I refused to fret and wring my hands over every bite.
I made the dinner for our anniversary: a no-holds-barred dish of lamb chops with herbs and mushrooms in phyllo dough. It was great and although I didn’t eat every bite, I knew it wasn’t low calorie. Dessert was chocolate mousse made from a mix, however, so I ‘lightened’ things a bit since I made it with no-fat milk. A couple of days later, my birthday dinner was at a local French cafĂ© that I adore. I had a cup of tomato basil soup which I usually avoid since it’s made with cream and is pretty high calorie. I enjoyed every spoonful. And yes, since it was my birthday, I had dessert, a vanilla custard tart. And finally, the dinner with friends? That called for my homemade chili and cornbread with dessert, a key lime pie.

What’s my point? This was a special week. It was a time of celebration with a gathering of friends. It’s important not to go overboard, but it I also believe we are entitled to a little indulgence every now and again. Now that the week is over, and things are getting back to normal, I’m also back on track with my calorie counting. If I’ve put on a pound, or even two after all that, it will take a couple of weeks to get back to my "fightin’ weight" as they say, but I’m motivated. I haven’t ‘given up’ because of my indulging this past week. It’s important to never lose sight of your goal: maintaining a good weight. Just be aware that the times we throw calorie counting to the wind are special occasions and should not be the norm. As long as we keep them infrequent, high calorie days should be no real problem now and then with little consequences.

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