Today, Meg is going to give you a little pep talk on food choices to remind you who exactly is in control when it comes to your diet.
I Don’t Like Cheesecake.
Cold, slimy, sour, gelatin set stuff with a soggy base, it’s just not my thing. I don’t even like it when it is home-made and has mars bars pieces in it. I just don’t enjoy it.
However, lots of people do like cheesecake. Over the years it has been a fairly popular choice for office birthday cake. So, 3 or 4 times a year, I would sing ‘Happy Birthday’, receive a piece as it was handed around, and eat it.
It’s not the done thing to refuse birthday cake. To try and refuse a piece of cake often draws shocked stares and comments like, “oh go on” or, “you don’t need to be on a diet”. Not to mention offended looks from the baker or bringer of the cake.
I didn’t ever feel bad about eating the cheesecake. I was aware that it was a lot of sugar, saturated fat and salt that my body didn’t need, but my basic diet is balanced so I wasn’t worried about a few slices of cheesecake over a year.
But I realized that I was eating this particularly unhealthy thing, that I didn’t even like, for other people. I was giving control over what went into my body, to someone else. I was giving away my food choices to peer pressure and the desire to be accepted.
I’m pretty sure that I am not the only person who has done this. And I know that birthday cake is not the only time we can feel that we ‘should’ eat something unhealthy that we don’t need, or don’t particularly want.
Sometimes, we won’t want the ‘cake’ because despite liking it, we aren’t hungry or have decided to make a healthier choice.
We need to learn to unashamedly say no and stick to the decision we want to make. Making our own decision and owning these food choices, one way or the other, is surprisingly empowering!
It’s Not You, It’s Me.
When you stand strong for your food choices, it can make some people feel a little uncomfortable. People may act like it is a personal attack on their cooking or generosity to decline to eat what they are offering. But it’s not.
What I choose to put in my body is about me, not about anyone else.
Sometimes, it might be the right thing to do, to eat something you don’t really want for the joy it brings another person. I’m thinking of the old lady and her meatballs in ‘The Wedding Singer’. But, this decision is still yours to make. So try to become aware of when you feel other people influencing you to make poor food choices and decide for yourself if it is OK or not.
Respecting the food choices of others
Of course, this is a two way street and let’s look after each other in this. When a friend says no thank you, let’s leave it be. Let’s hold our tongue and not ask ‘Are you sure?’
Let’s not be offended, ask why, or roll our eyes. Let’s make it easier for each other to make and stick to our healthy decisions.
So, I don’t eat the cheesecake any more. I say ‘no thank you’. If I am pushed or asked why, I simply, but politely say ‘I don’t want it’ and leave it at that. My food choices are my own.
It’s my body, my decision.
Baked cheesecake is another thing entirely!
I just love ricotta-baked cheesecake. Check out this great recipe I found on Taste.com.au. Definitely a ‘special occasion’ food only, but just delicious!
Guest Blogger: Meg McClintock is not only the Founder and Principle Dietition of Australian practice Choose Nutrition, she is also the Consultant Dietition for Body Beyond Birth. Find out more about Meg and her nutritional advice within the Body Beyond Birth program on our website and be sure to read more of Meg’s articles on the Choose Nutrition blog and Facebook Page.