Confession time... There are some days when something as simple as a green bean can really piss me off.
Sure, I'm committed to healthy eating -- and for two main reasons. First, to stay, well, healthy. Second, to keep the 250 pounds of excess weight (that I got rid of) from ever creeping back on. Because I was overweight for a large part of my life, eating healthy foods in healthy portions is something I find I always must think about. I liken it to riding a bicycle. The minute I stop peddling, I fall down, skin my knees and potentially gain 250 pounds.
This all amounts to a whole heck of a lot of self-regulation. And there are many rewards for doing so: Wearing a pair of jeans without being in total misery until I disrobe... Not accidentally realizing that I'm using my stomach as a makeshift shelf to rest my hands or other objects on (yes, I've done it)... Not being out of breath just from talking on the phone... And more.
But even with all of these great rewards, there are days I resent what's required of me to stay fit and healthy. And on certain days, the targets of this resentment are green beans.
Yes. You read that right. Green beans.
I target green beans in particular because they have become a staple of my healthy eating regimen. A typical dinner for me consists of a medium to large-sized chicken thigh, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes and steamed green beans. And most times when I have this meal, I enjoy it greatly. Afterwards I'm satisfied and full -- but never stuffed or in pain from eating too much. And I know it's these "stricter meals" that allow for "treat meals" when special occasions or big time cravings call for it. It's all about balance after all.
Still, there are times that green beans really piss me off. I resent having to clean them, steam them and having to sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar over them before sitting down to my typical Gregg dinner. I wonder to myself, "Why can't I be having pizza instead? Or maybe a pile of mashed potatoes smothered in butter?"
There are occasions during which I'm convinced that green beans are out to get me. I see them, all bunched together (a gang, if you will) -- smugly mocking me from the safety of the plate, as if they're saying, "You have no choice but to eat us."
Of course, the joke is on them -- mainly because I remind myself that I do have a choice. It's absolutely my choice to have the green beans. Or mashed potatoes. Or an ice cream sundae or a... Well, you get the idea. I can eat anything I want for dinner.
It's at this point that I must think about what I really want. "Really" being the key word.
Sure, I could forego green beans all together. I could replace them with another healthy vegetable that I can steam and enjoy (on most days) without added salt, butter or other substances that would make the vegetables less healthy. The fact is, green beans provide an affordable and healthy meal staple for me. And by eating them, I get all the benefits of looking good and feeling great. Isn't that worth a little resentment from time to time?
As dieters, we often think we're being denied certain things in life. And for most of us, those "things" are food-related. But here's where we can all benefit from a shift in thinking. It's not about what we're being denied, but what we get in return for the choices we make: smaller waistlines. Healthier heart rates. Clothes that fit. And knowing we look good when we walk into a room. Isn't that worth the occasional harassment from a gang of spiteful green beans? I think so. And I'll bet you do, too.
So next time you feel mocked by your healthy food choices, put a fork in them and chew them up gleefully. In other words, remind 'em whose boss. After all, it's the healthy choices we make today that benefit us tomorrow.