Friday, May 3, 2013

Finding Balance

The Setting: A breezy spring day.

The Soundtrack: Birds chirping, kiddos playing.

Sizzlin' on the Griddler: Grilled-cheese sandwiches. Yum!

The Scenario: How to have your cake and bikini body, too.

If you compare each of my "Recipes" pages (Breads and Breakfast, Entrees, etc.), you will find that considerably more scrolling is required to read the entire Desserts list.

It is pretty clear where my loyalties lie.

If you spend any time analyzing these recipes, your eyes will grow weary of reading the words "butter" and "sugar" over and over again. Suffice it to say your cardiologist will not be sending you to my site.

People often ask me how I am not 400 pounds from indulging in this twenty-four/seven empty-calorie fest.

The truth is, most of the time I'm a pretty healthy eater. I eat beans, I eat greens, I avoid unnecessary or excessive extracted fats, and I'm not much of a snacker. I love to walk, I practice yoga when I can, and I make my feeble muscles quiver to their cores at a fabulous boot-camp for mommies three times a week--but this is not to say by any stretch that I feel ready for the catwalk.

One of my best friends is a model/actress and another has a bachelor degree in dance and spent time working as a dancer and professional trainer in New York City. During any given moment of free time they are both likely to be pounding the pavement in their cross-trainers, whereas I am more likely to be caught red-handed sneaking yet another brownie from the pan on the kitchen counter. My body will never look like either of theirs, but that is OK.

I may not be parading my six-pack abs around the pool anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that I won't don my relatively modest tank-ini happily this summer with an ice-cream cone in one hand and a bottle of sunscreen in the other.

It's all about finding balance and figuring out your personal priorities.

When I was a kid (with a metabolism that could reduce an entire snack aisle at the grocery store to dust with a sideways glance), I snacked ferociously and indiscriminately. At one point, I remember being elbows-deep in a family-sized bag of potato chips and thinking, "These aren't even that good," but I shrugged my shoulders and polished off the bag anyway.

Once my body started paying me back (with interest) for all the glorious years I got off free, I had to start prioritizing my calories.

I'm not saying I get out the calculator and keep excessive tallies of calories consumed and the corresponding number of jumping jacks I must do for penance, just that I assess which things give me the most pleasure and which things I can do without. Then I make choices accordingly.

I have days when cookies are a priority. Can you beat a truly delicious chocolate chip cookie? You can't. And I won't deny myself that occasional pleasure.

I have days when a fabulously greasy cheeseburger is a priority. Ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions--no, thank you, on the lettuce. Maybe a side of fries if they are really and truly delicious.

That bag of underwhelming potato chips? Not a priority. There's no room in my tummy for passionless junk food.

When cookies are on the to-do list, a raw-kale salad might be in order for lunch.

When burgers are a must, dessert might be a Vitamix concoction of frozen bananas and unsweetened cocoa (it's better than it sounds!)

Some days, of course, I blow it out of the water and eat the burger, the fries, the milkshake, the whole batch of cookies,  and whatever else might be lurking around the kitchen looking moderately appealing. . . but then I feel 400 pounds, stay up all night with heartburn, moan involuntarily, and remember why it's so important to find balance.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life. 

Do you have tips for finding balance? Please feel free to share them below!