Friday was my birthday. And while I’ve enjoyed quite a few of them as the years have swept swiftly by, I, as always, enjoyed my special day. I’m a firm believer in that we should celebrate ourselves. And we’re never too old for birthdays.
Why is it that so many of us stop making a big deal out of ourselves, our accomplishments and our milestones? I know we can all tick of the reasons. It’s all about the lives we live. There are often so many complications, commitments and concerns that can consume us. We have people and pets to take care of. Many of us have jobs to do and homes to maintain. Financial problems, medical conditions and other issues can also distract us. But to me, these are all the reasons that we need to pamper ourselves from time to time. It’s just what the doctor (or in my case the dietitian) ordered.
This year I didn’t go all out for my birthday, although I sometimes do. Party buses, weekend getaways and themed extravaganzas aren’t strangers to me. But because it wasn’t one of the classic important birthday years, I opted for something much less extravagant. My husband and I treated ourselves to several meals at favorite restaurants and a couple of movies to boot. It was fabulous. Mostly it was just spending time with someone I love, relaxing and doing things that I enjoy. And part of it was eating out and enjoying some of my favorite foods.
I always tell the patients that I see that it’s important to eat nutritious meals most of the time. My mantra is the healthy plate in which one-half of the plate is non-starchy veggies, one-quarter of the plate is starch and the other quarter of the plate is protein. Fruit and low fat/nonfat dairy are on the placemat. I continually recommend that we need to monitor our portion sizes, prepare our food in a healthy manner and not drink our calories. This helps us to maintain a healthy weight and ward of disease. It’s a great way to go and I live by it. About 85 percent of the time.
It’s okay to splurge every now and then. We need to live life. Birthdays, holidays and other special occasions are always in our paths. And we should enjoy them. I did just that this birthday. Did I throw all caution to the wind and eat everything in sight? No. Did I have some less nutritious foods along with more healthy ones? I sure did. I had my cake and ate it too. But I ate a slice, not the whole thing! I spread my culinary wings a bit and enjoyed it. Just not too much. And the next day I got right back on my healthy eating track. Why not? I deserve it. We all do.
Visit Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD at www.consultthedietitian.com and www.fastfoodvindication.com, on Facebook at Lisa Tillinger Johansen and on Twitter @LisaTJohansen.