Not having been raised as a Catholic, I don’t tend to do much of a guilt thing – however it’s clearly an issue that can rear its head from time to time for anyone changing habits, lifestyle and so on. There’s always a danger that a small deviation from things can trigger feelings of guilt, dragging motivation downwards. At the other end of the scale, a whole series of minor misdemeanors can get written off (“I’m not going to beat myself up over such a little thing”) resulting in a lack of progress.
The key is to find the right balance, to use intelligent self-control and to come up with working solutions that fit your own circumstances.
fortnightly family feasting
One of the things I knew would be a challenge is a regular family dinner. It’s something that’s been in place since moving to Australia 7 years ago… It was also founded on the principle of “the blokes cook” – I was unsure of this idea at first, however I soon learned to enjoy cooking.
Because the males do the cooking it gets dangerously close to being competitive, and so these dinners have established themselves as 2 or 3 course events. The alcohol also usually flows freely, and there’s pre-dinner nibbles too…
an exercise in self-control
Last night was the first family dinner I’d had to face since starting this project. The way things usually unfold is a little like this:
- Before dinner: I munch on chips, dip, crackers, cheese in a fairly uncontrolled manner, have a few beers (unless I’m driving)
- Dinner: Generally indulging in whatever treats have been cooked up, often having “seconds” and a few glasses of red wine
- Dessert: If there is a dessert I will definitely indulge, and the whole thing is often polished off with a scotch or two
Last night it went more like this:
- Before dinner: Nibbles were had, however I was conscious of what I was eating, ate less and tried to eat more of the good stuff (olives and snow peas) than the bad. I had 2 beers – it was perfect beer weather. I reckon I could have got by with just 1 beer.
- Starters: Impressed myself to be honest; I had 2 homemade spring rolls, they were delicious. There were also a few left over and “old Gary” would have eaten two more EASILY. “New Gary” didn’t.
- Dinner: Again I was quite pleased at the end; the side dishes were healthy enough, the marinated chicken was also pretty good on the healthy scale. I limited myself to regular serves of the rice and greens and 3 pieces of chicken (legs I think?). 2 glasses of red. Again, 1 may have sufficed.
- Dessert: I allowed myself to indulge in an ice cream cone when offered – it was a warm night and I have a sweet tooth. Zero health points in that, however it’s been a very good week and I reckoned I deserved it.
- Finally I had one scotch and declined a second.
moral of the story
OK so that wasn’t necessarily a great meal, from the point of view of weight loss or fitness, however I am not feeling in the least bit guilty about it. I know there were a couple of areas I can improve on and will focus on those in the future. Overall though I am happy that a reasonable balance was achieved between things that are good nutritionally and things that are good psychologically. Enjoying a good meal with friends and family is no bad thing, you just need to maintain a little awareness and stop yourself from over-indulging.
Life doesn’t have to consist of an endless cycle of exercise, salad and water!