I am currently a resident advisor over some of our apartment complexes here on my school’s campus. Myself and another married RA are in charge of hosting events for the married couples once a month. This month we threw an event that involved dessert… and lots of it. We had cheesecake, chocolate cake, red velvet cupcakes, hot chocolate, and a mix of nuts, chocolates, and dried fruits. There was some fruit, too, but who even sees that when there’s cheesecake on the table?
With my planned way of implementing paleo-ish, I told myself I would eat strict paleo Monday – Friday, and let myself enjoy other foods on Saturday and Sunday. But of course this event was planned for a Friday night. So was I going to let myself have the cake? Or was I going to pass it up and leave the dessert table with nothing but a couple of strawberries and blueberries on my plate?
I wish I could tell you it was a quick, easy decision for me. “Of course I’ll let myself have some of the dessert. This is an event that we worked really hard to put together, a piece of cheesecake is not going to ruin my life.” However, that is not the case. I woke up that very morning already dreading the decision I would have to make later that day. As we were shopping for the food, I quietly cringed every time we put another dessert in the cart. I couldn’t let myself have it. It would throw off everything I had planned for. Unfortunately, I also was assessing every single calorie, added sugar, dairy product, and carb that I would be subjecting myself too if I gave in and had the cake. I couldn’t do it. No way.
But then I did. In fact, I ate TWO pieces of cheesecake, part of a piece of chocolate cake, and TWO red velvet cupcakes. Even when I was letting myself eat whatever I wanted I never let myself have that much. And you know what? I ENJOYED it. I had so much fun and loved getting to join in with everybody who was splurging in some of their favorite treats. I did feel a little sick the next morning as my body is no longer used to processing those things, but I savored every bite of those desserts. I can’t say I didn’t feel any guilt later, and I am switching my days up this weekend and switching out my Sunday for Friday in order to keep my 5 days on 2 days off routine, but for me, this was a huge accomplishment. How could it not be an easy decision to let myself live in the moment and enjoy the environment around me? Did I need the dessert to do that? No, of course not. But I also didn’t need the constant nagging of resentment that everyone but me got to enjoy this food that we worked so hard on putting together. I am learning my limits. I am learning to listen to my body. It wanted the cheesecake, so I gave it the dang cheesecake. And that’s okay. I am still learning that. I hope you join me in learning this, too.
Being healthy and fueling our bodies with the right sources of nutrients is so important. But making mindful decisions and allowing yourself to listen to your body’s indulgences and savor every second of those splurges is just as important. I have said it a million times and I will say it a million times more. Balance saves your life. I got to sit back and enjoy a night out with other married couples while making a mindful decision to put something in my body that wouldn’t necessarily fuel it, but would make it very, very happy. And then I got to go home with my incredible husband who made a delicious and paleo-compliant breakfast for us the next morning, which made me just as happy. I got to have my cake and eat it too. And that was okay.