Ecclesiastes viii. 15 (AV) 'Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry ‥'
Have to say, it does make a lot of sense. A life of restraint isn't exactly a barrel of laughs. Isn't eating and drinking one of life's real pleasures, something we understand as being a necessary and good thing, right from birth? For me, sitting around a table with food and drink is always a great way to socialise. The food and drink add to good company.
I have never been a 'drinker' as such. I like the occasional glass of dry white wine with food, a gin and tonic before Sunday lunch, sometimes, and perhaps a small glass of lager on a hot sunny day. We don't get many of those in the UK so my lager-drinking doesn't happen often! I can go weeks without touching calorific, liver-rotting alcohol, and it doesn't worry me at all. I do however know how to celebrate. Last weekend, that's what I was doing at a birthday party. Before we went out to the restaurant for the surprise party, the birthday girl and a group of about ten friends sat in her house and drank champagne, to toast a milestone birthday. With the champers - several bottles - there were bowls of peanuts, olives, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, bread-sticks and crisps. I didn't go mad. I had two (tiny) cubes of cheese, two pieces of sweet tomato, three (very thin) breadsticks and nothing else. I left the peanuts and crisps. I can resist them. I did have about three glasses of champagne before we set off for the restaurant though.
How often do we get to drink champagne?
Fellow dieters - would you have asked for water or diluted fruit juice instead? There was NO WAY I was going to miss the champagne.
At the restaurant a champagne toast was waiting for us when we walked in and there was white wine on the tables too. I had one glass of each, with my meal. I chose a chicken breast cooked with mushrooms, green beans and sauteed potatoes. I left at least half of the very small portion of potatoes. So, I got most of my calories from alcohol that day.
That was it for the weekend. All others drinks were water or tea and coffee - fresh, strong coffee with a dash of semi-skimmed milk.
OK, so the justification for going without, for restraint, is the slimmer body we eventually get. Few of us really enjoy living as fat people, and eating vitamin and mineral-packed, low fat, low sugar foods is good for us too. Our bodies will thank us for choosing wisely. Being overweight is unhealthy, so there are benefits to be gained from restraint, from commitment, from endeavour.
It's a shame eating is SUCH a pleasurable occupation, isn't it? Inside me a woman lurks who would love to eat three doughnuts in one go, who'd love to open a tube of Pringles and munch the lot, who'd happily buy herself sweet and fatty treats and scoff them all, if the little niggling voice inside my head didn't continually remind me "They are BAD for you."
Successful slimmers say "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" or words to that effect. Do you think that longing for junk/tasty fattening stuff EVER goes away, or do we just get better at resisting foods we used to love?
Part of me says "You only live once" and another part of me says "Yes, but you'll enjoy life much more when you live it as a slimmer version of you. Life will have more possibilities."
I am not sure munching on an apple will ever satisfy me the way sinking my teeth into a jam doughnut does, and I know that I'll never get the same pleasure from drinking water as I do from sipping champagne - holding that long, slim glass of fizz in my hand. It's a real pleasure to do that - occasionally.
That's how my life has to be lived from now on, with occasional (VERY occasional?) rationed food treats.
I enjoy food - that's the long and the short of it. I have to re-educate my palate, I know I do, but there is SUCH resistance to do that. I just think the whole dieting game is really unfair on us fat people. ;-)
Eat lettuce, drink water and be merry. Yeah right. (OK so I exaggerate.)
So...who's making me think today?
“Travellers, it is late. Life's sun is going to set. During these brief days that you have strength, be quick and spare no effort of your wings.”I don't think Mevlana is suggesting I hot-foot it to the supermarket to buy doughnuts either....sadly.
~ Mevlana Rumi. 13th century sufi poet and mystic