Tonight my sweetie and I are going to an internationally renowned French restaurant, right here in Hong Kong, in fact right in the village-on-the-sea that we live in. The parents of my last year’s class were generous enough to give us a gift certificate for an eight course gastronomical feast. I am so excited! Obviously I intend to eat to the gills and fully enjoy every moment.
Interestingly, a common pattern has emerged on this the morning of the dinner. When I got to school this morning, I found a can of spray cheez (and I write cheez intentionally because one couldn’t honestly assess this as cheese) someone had gifted me along with a packet of crackers that were tucked away in the depths of my classroom.
Yogurt along with twigs and branches (read: an exceptionally fibrous breakfast cereal) is my usual breakfast that I eat while preparing for the day at my desk. Today, I opted for generous sprays of cheez onto my slabs of cracker, having a lot of fun making some special designs while I was at it. I was so distracted by the cheez I neglected to get my day’s schedule on the board. I can’t help but notice, since it is sitting here beside me on the desk at this very moment, that the can says, “No need to refrigerate!” (Exclamation mark theirs, not mine.) Voila! I can shove it in my desk drawer along with tape and markers and allergy medication and have it for years to come!
The point of my cheez story is twofold:
1 I aspire to eat more whole food. I eat a whole lot of fruit and veggies, but having grown up on a farm where everything we ate was whole and delicious and straight from the source, I have a soft spot for heavily processed food in a can. It comforts me and makes me feel a bit naughty because it represents all the things I wasn’t allowed to have as a child.
Of course, I adore fresh veggies and grains and fruit. I eat more than my fair share. I eat and eat and eat until I have to undo my trouser buttons, but when I’m sad or feeling self-indulgent or want to feel rebellious, it’s off to the processed food I proceed. Mostly we have only whole food in our house (except when Don shops). If we didn’t, I‘d be in for a world of hurt, especially when stepping on the scale.
2. (And I think this is the big point:) When I know I am going to indulge later, I think, “What the heck, why not get started now?” After the cheez and crackers, I managed to find a couple of shortbread cookies in a tin hidden behind the coffee maker. At recess, there was more chocolate that magically appeared.
I know I am not the only one with this mentality. It’s pervasive among those of us who diet for a profession or hobby. For people with other addictions, I suspect the same pattern goes on. If I know I’m going to “go for it” later, why not “go for it” now? My ongoing goal is to be fine with occasional indulgences, but to not use it as an excuse to indulge-to-the-max throughout the day, the weekend, the week, the month...
Coming off of the Christmas season, I am sure a lot of you know what I mean! To paraphrase what I read somewhere that really stuck with me:
They don’t call it a holi-week. They call it a holiday.
PS: I apologize to those of you who are not “foodies.” I don’t want this blog to be all about my issues around food, but about reaching for my best and helping you to do the same. As you may have noticed, a lot of my life lessons revolve around making peace with food. It’s been my go-to friend and symbolic lover since my Oma Schmidt consistently and lovingly fed me copious amounts of food to take me through all my childhood traumas. No doubt, you all have your “best friends” too that do not take a human form and are probably not very good friends, after all. It’s about acknowledging what/who they are and slowly finding ways to release the unhealthy parts of that “friendship.”
Today I am going to focus on my real friendships by:
- Spending some really great time with Don and not just talking about our kids, though they’re awfully compelling and fun to talk about.
- Catching up on some emails from dear friends that I just haven’t taken the time to respond to because I know they’ll love me and understand anyway.
- Really engaging with my friends at work. We have the best staff in the world. I have never been happier at a place of work. We can’t wait to share our lunches together and “hang out” every day. A happy staff makes for an excellent school, and ours is among the best.
- Just maybe picking up the phone and calling a friend or two. (Of course, this is one of my phobias, so they may have to settle for a loving text, but I’ll try to steel myself and put my ear to the mobile.)
- Listening to my students, looking at them, making sure each of them feels like a million bucks because I let them know I have faith in them and their abilities and their potential to make a difference in the world.