Treat yo’ self

This meme is cute, and the first time I saw it I chuckled a little.

It also annoys me.  So very, very much.

It perpetuates this idea that life is either one or the other extreme: You either get to have dessert or you never do. That happiness is only about eating. That people who are trying to become more fit never have ice cream (or cake or french fries) and therefore they are miserable.

It makes sense. Those who eat processed or fast food most of the time and do not exercise regularly ARE far more likely to suddenly do an extreme cleanse or a starvation diet. We are super gung-ho about losing weight and getting healthier…. For about 2 weeks or so.  Then it’s done and we’re back to how they ate before. Or worse, our diet is even more unhealthy due to feelings of failure and disappointment, and we are even more inclined to disdain any attempt at becoming more fit.

This all or nothing kind of perception about food and health is not sustainable. It’s not reality. And it’s not healthy.

Yes, people who are exercising and eating with summer in mind do eat ice cream.

Yes, people who are exercising and eating with summer in mind do eat pizza.

Yes, people who are exercising and eating with summer in mind do love biting into a light, fluffy cupcake piled with creamy frosting.

Just… not every day. Not even every week.

See, if I’ve learned anything its that health is not a destination. It is an ongoing series of daily choices that add up to a lifestyle. Yes, health is a journey.

I can find a reason every day to have a treat. I can find an excuse every day, make that several times a day, to indulge.  But I also have a reason to choose something different. I also have a purpose behind deciding something better.  I know why I look those “treats” in the eye and say now with a smile; I deserve so much more.

I guarantee you I enjoy my pizza, cake or whiskey far more now than when I had them several times a week. It’s not about avoiding all pleasure and treats… It’s about intentionally postponing it for even greater enjoyment later- without having to come up with excuses, without searching for reasons to make myself feel better about it and without feeling guilty later. And, dang, it sure tastes better that way.

There’s power in choosing to ignore the constant call of instant gratification for a far more rewarding occasional enjoyment.

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