A friend is following a very strict diet. She is an all-or-nothing thinker, so she has made some harsh rules for herself, including this one: no chocolate, in any form whatsoever. It’s one of her favorite foods, and she’s convinced that she can never eat it again if she wants to manage her weight.
On the way to our meeting this morning, she passed through a room where refreshments were being served, and she walked by a platter of brownies. Fresh, chocolaty, delicious-looking brownies. As she tried very hard not to look, a delectable scent wafted up to her nose, and she was in agony.
Those brownies have been bothering her all day – and if you ask me, taking up way too much space in her brain.
I was reminded again that life is in the living – the daily living. Self-discipline is important, but so is self-love, and both of those can take many forms. When we impose “always” and “never” on our goals, we set ourselves up for failure from the very beginning, because none of us can achieve 100% on every test, every time. Not only that, but we miss out on some of life’s greatest joys in the process.
Delicious food is one of life’s joys. Often it’s filled with ingredients (butter, sugar) that are not good for us in large quantities, so we are cautious when partaking in these rich indulgences. That’s good. That’s self-care. But self-care also includes allowing yourself the occasional treat without beating yourself up for it.
I advised my friend: If the idea of brownies has completely taken over her mind, then she should have one. ONE. Eat it slowly, savor it, really taste the flavors. Then let it go.
Let’s be kind to ourselves, while we also cultivate discipline. It’s a balancing act.
Winnie and the Professor