Reality Bites, And It Can’t Always Be Cake

Posted on May 14, 2012 by


I am on a crusade of sorts. I expend a fair amount of mental and physical energy trying to eat real, healthful foods and maintain a healthy weight. I suspect my family has gotten used to tripping over nutrition books and hearing the evils of bottled salad dressing, but there was a time when they just wanted to eat without thinking about it. I just wouldn’t let it lie, however. I love them too much for that.

In recent months I have on several occasions listened as relatives or acquaintances have lamented various illnesses all while continuing to eat the unhealthy, convenient, faux food being sold in boxes, cartons, and fast food lanes. This, even as they readily acknowledge that they could and should be doing better.

I often ask them directly: Is the sweet taste of a Krispy Kreme really worth the cost of a healthy, productive life? A better question might be this: Have our bodies become so altered and addicted to unhealthy fare that it’s almost impossible for the majority of people to eat real, healthy food in this busy microwave culture?

Full disclosure: While I am on a mission, I sometimes struggle mightily. Not only have I like most people, developed  taste for  wheat based food, but my family has as well. Factor in the vast difference in the price of junkier food versus real food for a family of 7, and it’s easy for us to eat a couple pasta based meals in a tight week.

Despite the challenges however, we try to eat well and I make every effort to give my family the best cuts of meat, freshest vegetable, and home baked bread when possible. And still, I fall short. Too often there is the choice between a whole lot of less than ideal food or a little bit of the best. We have begun our spring gardening and I hope at some point in the future we produce enough to remove a  portion of the cost of fresh vegetables from our budget. This means I’ll need to plant every season, which I’ve never done before.

One of the toughest parts of sticking to healthy habits in an unhealthy world is the tendency of those close to you to undermine your efforts with suggestion that “a little bit this one time won’t hurt.”  Each time I fall for the line however, it takes me a good three days to get back on track. Which lead me to the realization that for me, a little bit just one time may hurt because I’m not 16 and I have older children who need guidance and young children I’d like to be healthy and energetic enough to educate and raise to adulthood. I have a husband I want to maintain my figure for, and most importantly, I want to respect the gift of the body I’ve been given.

Too many of us, believers especially, are slaves to our appetites and we indulge our taste for unhealthy food in place of other vices that have a much greater stigma attached to them in religious circles. We tell ourselves that wine is dangerous, but that it’s not a sin to eat a candy bar a day. We eat three slices of pizza, and a side of pasta, with tomato sauce of course because we need our vegetables.  Indulgence is still indulgence in my opinion. Maybe it’s not a sin, but it isn’t healthy.

As much as I hate the fact that after eating too much fresh baked bread and butter I feel sluggish, and after a couple more days of it, the scale ticks up 0.5 pounds, it’s my reality. It is what it is. Reality bites. If I want to feel and look my best, I have recognize that and behave accordingly. So do we all.

The next time I someone asks me how I finally lost the extra pounds and follows up with, “I don’t know why I can’t lose it. I hardly ever eat!”, I think I’ll scream.

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