It’s also a day that makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
Although I’m not nearly as strict about my eating habits as I was when I lost 70 pounds many years ago, food-focused days like this bring about some uneasy feelings.
On one hand, I’m reminded of the me who enjoyed Fat Tuesday every day of the week, causing my weight to soar and my mood to sink. Therefore, my first inclination today was to set out writing about why people trying to lose weight (or maintain the healthy one they have) should abandon Fat Tuesday with a passion.
The other part of me says, “Jen, calm down about all of this!”
Now, while I don’t advocate all-out, gluttonous calorie fests on Fat Tuesday (or any day), and I truly enjoy having big salads with a plate of roasted butternut squash and carrots for dinner, this doesn’t mean I have to come down so hard on others who choose to eat otherwise. After all, I was there once too; I know all too well that it’s not as easy as waking up one day and bidding raspberry cheese Danish rings adieu. And I don’t want to lose sight of that.
Furthermore, I can’t forget that even after my weight loss, I was far from the picture of health; while I spoke about making better food choices and the benefits of exercise, I also got wrapped up in eating-disordered tendencies and body image struggles, eventually eating nothing but a pork chop, apple and yogurt – all day. Thankfully, I’m back on track, and have even intentionally gained back some needed weight.
What I know now is that the world won’t end if I have a garlic knot or enjoy some penne. I don’t have to face foods with such an all-or-nothing approach; balance really is key. So, I suppose Fat Tuesday reminds me of what I missed out on: the syrupy pancakes, cupcakes and cookies and fun that I denied myself – for way too long.
I can comfortably say this about today: It’s Fat Tuesday. I don’t plan on eating pancakes, but I sure won’t beat myself up if I do.