A few days ago I was having dinner with a friend when he confessed that if I wasn't there with him, he would be ordering tempura for his main course instead of nigiri sushi. Being about 30 pounds overweight, he told me is trying to lose weight by working out every day, but somehow the scale is moving down very slowly. After mentioning that I am in no way a food police, I asked why would he want tempura in the first place? After all, there must have been a deep need for that dish if he had to mention it. His answer, however, was simple -- I like it.
It happens all the time. We go out to eat and we see dishes that we like and want to order. If we try to analyze whether or not we should or shouldn't have it, chances are that if we order what we want, but shouldn't have, then we feel guilty. If we don't order what we want, we feel deprived. What's a girl to do?
As I was going to reply to my friend's answer, I remembered that he is a fabulous shopper and then a new analogy came to mind. Imagine you are at Nordstrom and you see a trendy jacket. It looks great on you and you really want to buy it, but then you notice that it is far out of your budget and it is poorly maid, so it won't last more than a few wears. Would you still want to buy it? Most likely not. A good shopper knows that it is all about price per wear -- if you are watching your budget and want to invest money into a piece, it should last through many days of use. And what about food?
Why would a great shopper like my friend even want to spend his calories and money on food that has no nutritional value? If he was in a perfect shape and could "over spend," then perhaps a splurge here and there will not make a big difference. However, in his case he had many pounds to shed, so every calorie was important. His answer again, was very simple -- it tastes good.
Sure, I get it. We like food because it tastes good and we want the pleasure of eating it. But again, at what cost? Is the value of a meal worth it? Do you really want to eat it if it's going to cost you so much? Will you really get all the pleasure from the meal when you know you are damaging your budget? After looking at the tempura as he would at a poor quality jacket, my friend paused and smiled. I could see that he stopped wanting it all together and we changed our conversation on to another topic. He also seemed to be enjoying his nigiri sushi very much, not only because it tasted good to him but also because he knew it was making his body feel good long-term.
If you are struggling with self-deprivation and guilt when it comes to food, I urge you to look at it as you do at clothes. See if you would want to eat it if the same situation applied to clothes at your favorite store. If you think that you can easily afford a splurge and there is value in it, then go for it. Enjoy every bite and forget about the guilt. But if you see that the cost of it is too high, allow yourself to have it and see if you still want it. If you don't, then find something else that you will enjoy during and after the meal. After all, life is about enjoyment and having a great time during the meal and feeling good afterwards.
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