Burger? Yes, please

For me, relaxing the rules means “living.” While most people in this country need more restrictions on their diet/fitness habits, for a small population of us, we need less restrictions/less rules in order to live more.

Which is why today I joined my two pregnant friends for lunch at Five Guys. Yup, you heard me … FIVE GUYS … home of mega-greasy burgers and mega-greasy bags o’ fries (and mega-awesome fountain drink selection — 100+ flavors!). These same two friends and I were all pregnant with our first kids at the same time back in 2010, but this time, I was the odd man out in that I had no cravings to answer to … I was just going along for the ride. 😉

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying fast food is a good idea for anyone (we all know about the obesity epidemic, how fattening and unhealthy it is)… but it’s something I pretty much  never have (except the last time I had it, to break the Yom Kippur fast), and so I share this little dittie today because this is something that would NOT have occurred a couple years ago. Under any circumstances. Period. It wouldn’t have happened because first off, I would have surely said “no” from the get-go (a polite decline, but a decline for sure). And then if I had gone, I certainly would have felt plagued with guilt … crunching numbers in my head to see how much “damage” I did, envisioning punishing hours at the gym to “undo” said “damage” … I just don’t think that way anymore.

It doesn’t mean I still don’t think cause and effect … I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I just do it my way now — not letting the disordered brain take over (because trust me, I still have thoughts–even though I don’t act on them/haven’t acted on them since March 2009).

How did I do it my way? Well, I ate the burger (though I did take off the bun after a couple bites because it just didn’t add anything magical and white bread is a waste to me) and savored a handful of fries. It wasn’t mindless eating or emotional eating … it was just eating. And life went on. I felt not a tad bit guilty because it was a conscious decision to go and enjoy.

[And, if I’m being perfectly honestly, in addition to it being a rare treat, I had trained this morning (couldn’t even lift Maya out of her bed afterwards, she worked us so hard) and I had made plans to go to Zumba with my friend/training partner tonight … though even if I hadn’t worked out or had gym plans for this evening, I would have gone.]

Like any normal woman might do, I budgeted the burger into my day. I still ate dinner. I still had a couple squares of dark chocolate for dessert. And again, life went on.

I think what’s so hard is that food is so often treated like an enemy … and for so long, it was [to me]. I am not thin, but I also feel more “normal” than ever before. I could live a life of restriction again, but I won’t. Because if I’m being completely honest with myself, I wasn’t happy then (nor was I truly happy when I was overweight, either). I was an obsessive, miserable person who yes, was thin … but that was about it. My world revolved around dieting and fitness. I was consumed by it.

Today I have much more to live for. And while I still like to work out and eat decently, I also like sleeping in some mornings, spending time with my little family, and enjoying chocolate and a burger with friends or wine on a date night out (or in) with my hubs.

It’s taken me a LONG time to be OK with this; the notion that this “freedom” to enjoy means I am not going to be thin like I was years ago, but the trade-off … my happiness … is worth SO much more.

How about you? Do you label food as “good” or “bad”?

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