Years ago, before my husband and I were married, he took me out to a very nice dinner for Valentine’s Day. Now, my husband has taken me out for many excellent meals in the 12 years we have been together, and most of these I remember for the food and the experience of dining in the restaurant. But, this particular experience I remember not for the meal or for the experience. I remember it because I never want to eat this way again.
I was a Weight Watchers devotee in love with the points tracking system. In the week leading up to our Valentine’s date I worked to bank as many points as possible. I ate the minimum number of points allowed per day and exercised as much as I could to earn as many activity points as possible. I saved the extra points and worried if I had banked enough to keep me in my point range for the week.
My only memories of this meal are this – my husband had the duck and I wrote down everything I ate, and how much, while sitting at the table. When my husband finally brought me home I immediately calculated how many points I had eaten. It was twice the number of points I would normally eat in a day. I remember being horrified, feeling guilty, and worrying whether or not this would make me gain weight.
Looking back on it now, this is some seriously scary behavior. I was completely incapable of enjoying an experience because I was afraid, and I had absolutely no sense of moderation. This is no way to live.
Diets fail because they are an all or nothing endeavor. Screw up once and the whole thing goes in the toilet. But who can be perfect all the time? Wait…who would even WANT to? When we so rigidly stick to a set of rules, we set ourselves up for inevitable failure and miss out on the experiences in the mean time.
We eat several times per day, and those meals…the everyday breakfasts, lunches and dinners determine the quality of our health and the size of our waistline. There is a vast amount of cultural and social significance that comes with sharing a holiday/event meal or food related tradition – even if it’s one only made up by commercialism.
So, here are some tricks to consider when Valentine’s Day strikes tomorrow.
If you can cook…COOK because nothing says love like good food from the kitchen! Cooking your own Valentine’s Day meal gives you the most freedom to indulge in dishes you may not have had in a while, but allows you the opportunity to modify those recipes to suit your health goals. And, let’s be honest here, Valentine’s Day is mostly about the desserts. Use this link for some inspiration to whip up some decadent, delicious, and healthy desserts!
If going out to dinner is your thing…go out and enjoy the experience. Choose something exotic from the menu, or go for your favorite dish if it is something you wouldn’t normally cook at home and you haven’t had it in a long time. Savor every bite. Have a glass of wine, and go ahead, order dessert.
If a box of chocolate is your thing…buy the nicest chocolate you can afford. The biggest box of chocolates from the grocery store never tastes as good as the few pieces of fine chocolate you can get from your local chocolatier. The added bonus – built in portion control. And trust me, you’ll saver each and every bite when you spend more on less!
Are you in a place where on meal will turn into many that aren’t in line with meeting your health goals? Opt for a flowers only treat instead. Splurge on your favorites and put them where you can see them…or carry them from room to room to room with you so you can always see and enjoy them.