Miz Chef

Cooking Up a Healthy Life

Remembrances of Meals Past

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…and why it’s a good thing to give in to your cravings once in a while.

Disclaimer: What you are about to read is not scientific fact or founded on anything logical or reasonable. They are just my own conclusions based on excruciating experience.

It’s the start of a new year and millions of people all over the world are now beginning that never-ending quest to lose weight and get in shape by going on a diet. So, in honor of that, I’d like to offer my own personal tip, a lesson that I learned by doing it.The_Ricotta_eaters-Vincenzo_Campi-MBA_Lyon_H673-IMG_0324

It’s an established fact that if you are on a diet but allow yourself to have a bit of what you crave, it will satisfy that itch, help you to stop thinking about it, and allow you to move on. And I have found that to be true.

But what I’ve also found to be true is that sometimes the things you gave up in your mission to clean up your diet are not really as delicious and soul-satisfying as you remember them to be.

When you’ve changed your diet to a healthier one and that becomes your way of life, you get used to different foods. And that, friends, changes everything.

Does this sound familiar? You’ve been craving a Big Mac for months. Every time you pass a McDonald’s, you think about that flat, brown patty nestled between those stale-looking, flabby buns and you’re transported back to your college days, when after dancing and drinking all night, one of those at 5:00 in the morning was the best freaking thing in the universe. After a while of having this craving, you can stand it any longer, so one day, you pull through the drive-in and order up a Big Mac, a big ol’ fries, and a Coke. Maybe even an apple pie for good measure. You pull away, and your mouth salivates thinking about it until you’re able to pull over and indulge. Finally, with your car in park, you unwrap that burger like you haven’t eaten in two days and take a big gob-ful.

And you’ve never been so disappointed in your life.

This may not happen for you with a Big Mac—maybe for you it’s a bag of crunchy Funyons, or a medium-rare steak, or a 99-cent bag of Circus Peanuts. Or maybe for you, it IS just as good as you remember it. But if you’ve experienced that disappointment, you’re lucky.

It’s lucky because it loses its power over you. Once you’ve had whatever it is that you dream about and realize that it doesn’t thrill you the way it used to, you can leave it behind. It’s the relationship that was fun while you were in it, but then you realized it wasn’t healthy for you, so you broke up. Then one day you ran into each other, and your heart raced and you got that familiar flip-flop in your stomach. So you ask the person out and…it just wasn’t as fun or exciting as it had been in the past. You thought you were still attracted to them because you had the memories of the good times. But you’ve grown and moved on, emotionally and psychologically.

And so it is with food. The memories of enjoying that food sparks those giddy feelings, but you’ve grown. You eat better quality food and your taste buds are more discerning now. But it’s difficult to wholly commit yourself to a new relationship until you’ve let go of the old one, so you need to get it out of your system. Nothing does that better than figuring out that the old relationship can never, ever make you happy again.

So, for the sake of your diet, go ahead and give in to that craving. It may just be the best thing for you ever.

You’re welcome.


Photo: The Ricotta Eaters by Vincenzo Campi

Author: Miz Chef

I am an Agent of Food—a writer, cookbook author, and personal chef.

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