Making Choices


We all make choices about food.  Frequently, people think that because I am a health counselor, I walk around in a healthy bubble—constantly surrounded by brown rice, kale, and tofu.  I wish!  I walk down the same streets you do, sometimes tempted by Dunkin Donuts or Chipotle or the ubiquitous cupcake shops popping up in Manhattan.

I also live the same unpredictable life as everyone else. Yes, I take time each week to plan out my meals and cook for myself, but sometimes life gets in the way. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s life and I wouldn’t be able to effectively counsel my clients if I didn’t have to grapple with the same real-life situations they do.

This was one of those weeks. Life definitely got in the way of my good intentions. I came back from vacation only to be called away to a family emergency immediately thereafter. (Don’t worry, everything is okay now). Even though I had planned on a week filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, and baked baby carrots, instead I was thrown into a world filled with hospital food, ice cream, and yes, Dunkin Donuts.

I had a choice:  I could use my energy seeking out the healthiest foods possible and then feeling guilty when I inevitably succumbed to the temptations of comfort food.  Or, I could eat what was around me and use my energy caring for my loved ones.

I chose the latter. That doesn’t mean I went crazily overboard, downing Doritos and Coca-Cola every opportunity I got.  But it means that I let down my ‘health patrol’ guard and, as a result, was able to happily enjoy pizza that my grandmother and I made from scratch and eat some (okay, a lot!) cookie dough before baking it to take to the hospital. Sure, I could totally feel the difference in my body because of the dietary changes — but I tried not to feel guilty about that.

We make these choices all the time: whether or not to indulge in a treat; whether to get frozen yogurt or ice cream; is a turkey burger really that much better than a hamburger??! It can be confusing and, for those of you who have these questions constantly going through your head, exhausting.

The secret: there is no *one* right choice about food. It’s all about guessing what your body will best respond to. And, even more importantly, trusting yourself and knowing you have the ability to get back on track.

So that’s my goal this weekend: to get back on track.  Not because I did anything wrong, but because I feel more tired than usual and, I’ll admit it, my jeans don’t fit as well as they did five days ago. Instead of going on a crazy diet, instead I’ll just focus on eating whole foods and lots of fruits and vegetables. In fact, I just had three large boxes of produce delivered, so I’m ready to eat my long-awaited corn, tomatoes, and baked carrots!


One thought on “Making Choices

  1. Amanda says:

    I love this post, and I couldn’t agree with you more. As health counselors, we surround ourselves with all that is healthy and “good” for us. But when we find ourselves in situations like you did, it can catch us off guard.
    Your attitude was so spot-on. Instead of freaking out about a change to your eating schedule, you put your attention on your loved ones.
    There really is no one right way to eat. It’s whatever works best for you AT THAT MOMENT.
    Thank you for this!

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