I’ve been reading “French Women For All Seasons” by Mireille Guiliano, author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” And of course, it’s all about how French women enjoy the finer things of life, but in moderation, which basically means they enjoy a truffle with their wine without ending up on The Biggest Loser or Girls Gone Wild.
And let’s talk about every dietitian’s eating mantra, “Everything in Moderation.” Kind of the same concept. One of the classic illustrations of this is the theory that the first three bites of anything taste the best, so there’s no need to finish it.
But… what if I want to finish it?
Is excess always bad?
I’ve just spent two fabulous weekends with my each of my two best friends. They are Thelma to my Louise. Champagne to my glass. You get the picture. Do you think I had three bites of my Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard while we curled up in our PJs to watch “An American in Paris?” Nope. Cleaned the cup. Kind of wanted another one. Same thing for my luscious piece of key lime pie. It was basically food porn, and I’m not even a little ashamed.
What about a post-race breakfast at Fountain City Diner with my CrossFit gang? I had a date with my French Apple Turnover Pancake, and it got a little dirty. There was apple butter in my hair and a satisfied smile on my face. So maybe I didn’t finish it because I’m not Kobayashi, but the three-bite rule was nowhere to be found.
And the other night when the Booze Hound and I opened a particularly lovely bottle of Bordeaux we smuggled back from France and ended up finishing the whole thing while watching one of the amazing Kate and Wills Wedding Specials? The last sip tasted as awesome as the first. And even though I think the BH imbibed to make the show slightly more tolerable, I think he would agree that the bottle was a winner.
I’m here to say that sometimes excess is great. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sure, you may need to log a little more time at the gym here and there to support it, but what would life be like if we couldn’t indulge once in a while? Sure, maybe you’re satisfied with one bite of fudge. There are times when I am. But there are times when I’m not, and I’m ok with that.
Of course, there are other kinds of excess. This weekend I plan to spend all 6 gorgeous hours of Royal Wedding coverage plopped on my couch. Is that excessive? Um, yes. Could I be watching something much more cerebral like CNN? Yes. But will I feel even a little bit bad after indulging in something that makes me supremely happy for six hours? Nope.
Far be it from me to disagree with the French way of life. I totally admit I subscribe to the French concept of small doses of richness to live a fabulously satisfying food life. And 99% of the time it works for me. But then there’s that little part of me that wants to indulge in excess that 1% of the time. Maybe I want to eat the whole piece of pie. Maybe not. But let’s get rid of feeling guilty about it.
I’m realistic enough to know I can’t do it all the time. And I log plenty of blood, sweat and tears at the gym to earn it… although secretly I’m also a little addicted to CrossFit so it’s kind of like a conflict of interest to love both pain and pleasure 🙂 But I’m here to admit that I’m a dietitian who totally supports occasional excess. I just hope that when you indulge in excess, it’s for
something you LOVE. Something that makes you wake up the next day with a warm fuzzy feeling (think honeymoon) and not regret (think hangover).
After all, everything in moderation… even excess 🙂