How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? I made a simple one—to hike on my treadmill two miles a day—and guess what? I caught the flu and then a cold, and in the process of recovering, my New Year’s resolution went out the window.
I’m feeling better now, and I keep telling myself tomorrow I’ll start up again. But somehow I am in a holding pattern. Since I have a treadmill, I can’t use the weather as an excuse. And I always feel better after exercising, so you would think I would head for the treadmill joyfully each morning. But there’s that little voice—“I don’t really feel like it today”—and I talk myself out of what I know I should do.
It’s like there’s a devil and an angel on opposite shoulders, and both of them try hard to convince me to follow their agenda. It’s the same with food. I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, yet sometimes that naughty devil voice seems to shout in my ear, “Go ahead and have some ice cream. You work hard. You deserve it.” He’s right. I do work hard, and I do deserve to spoil myself now and then.
The key is the now-and-then part. In Dr. Carraway’s column this month, he discusses a book called “Meet Paris Oyster” written by a chic, thin French woman who divulges her secrets to eating well and staying thin. Must be nice. It doesn’t seem fair that certain people don’t seem to gain weight no matter what they eat. It must be their metabolism, we say. But maybe if we look closely, we’ll find other clues to why they stay so thin.
A lot of people are trying to eat “clean,” enjoying whole foods and avoiding processed foods. There’s no question that a diet full of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and fruits is what we should all strive for. We know this, yet why is it that our cars seem to automatically steer toward the drive-thru of the local fast-food joint?
It’s because we’re busy, and we’re also used to instant gratification. Here’s an idea. Instead of heading to the fast-food place, make some baggies with nuts and dried fruits and stash them in the glovebox of your car. A snack like this will help you resist the temptation to eat a quick burger and instead head home, where you can prepare a quick easy meal.
Having healthy ingredients in your pantry, fridge, and freezer is also key to eating well. I’ve been enjoying brown rice lately with a little feta and some herbs and spices sprinkled on top. Serve this with a vegetable and a small piece of fish or chicken breast, and you have an easy healthy dinner.
As for dessert, most of the time we don’t really need to eat anything else. We just want a hint of sweetness to finish our meal. For me, a small piece of dark chocolate or a piece of candied ginger does the trick. Fruit is another option. One of my all-time favorite desserts, which I enjoyed in a restaurant near Paris many years ago, is a simple dish of fresh raspberries with a dusting of powdered sugar.
As for my resolution to hike daily, tomorrow is a good day to start. I will get up and get on the treadmill. (“You go, girl,” says the angel on my shoulder.) I just have to remeber how great I’ll feel afterwards, and that will motivate me to work out. I may miss a day here and there, but that’s OK. I’m only human. The important thing is to keep trying to do better. That’s how we reach our goals.