We have a big bowl of chocolate candy bars in our dining room. This is not normal, because we try to eat reasonably healthy most of the time. But we just passed Halloween, and for various reasons we had less trick-or-treaters this year. (I’d guess because it was a Monday — a school night — and our closest neighbors decorated less than normal. More people went to the other side of our subdivision, which had more decorations.) Regardless of how and why, the end result is a lot of tempting chocolate in my house.
So what am I supposed to do with all this chocolate? The obvious answer is to EAT IT! But there’s a flaw in the slaw: I’m trying to be a responsible adult here. One of my goals is to lose some weight and be more fit, and chocolate bars don’t exactly fit in fitness. But the counter-argument is that I’m a grown-up, so I can eat whatever I want. And that’s true. Therein lies the dilemma.
Do you remember being a kid and being limited by your parents on things like eating sweets and watching TV and playing video games? You probably dreamed of how one day you’d be a grown-up who can set your own rules and how wonderful that will be. And it is good. But you also (hopefully) learn that there are good reasons to be responsible and it’s better to do those things in moderation. It reminds me of this funny quote:
I don’t think I can talk Jen into installing a deep fat fryer in our kitchen. That’d rock! A short order grill. I can sit home and make grilled cheese sandwiches, hash browns, French fries, and pancakes all day long. Mmm. The fat kid in my brain just got really excited. The adult in my brain has to calm him down. Which really is what “growing up” is all about — telling the kid in your brain to sit down and behave, while the grown-up in our brain says, “You know, it’d be more responsible of us if we did this instead…” Stupid brain. ~ Jeff Schell
That’s the mental battle that we all must endure. But let me caution and encourage you with the word “moderation” in another context. Being an adult — especially when you have children — means being serious and responsible a lot more often than you may want to be. If we go too far on the serious side, it can drain the joy and happiness out of life. We don’t want to become an adult that forgets how to have fun. (I suppose that applies to everyone. But if you don’t want to laugh and be happy, that’s your choice, but I don’t recommend it.) Life is much better when it’s enjoyed. You can still be responsible and serious while enjoying the journey. That’s where moderation applies here — it’s not just about limiting the fun, but it can remind us to be serious in moderation. Allow yourself to have fun, even when life is busy and overwhelming. Actually, being able to enjoy your life makes the serious parts less tedious! So it’s helpful to have fun!
So the next time you’re about to eat a piece of chocolate that you might feel somewhat guilty about, find the balance — set a limit of how much, but within that limit, enjoy it as much as possible. While eating it, don’t think about calories or saturated fat grams or sugar or how much exercise it would take to burn it off — just close your eyes and savor each delicious bite. (You tend to enjoy it more when you eliminate distractions, so closing your eyes actually helps.)
Now go enjoy a reasonably-sized piece of chocolate! 🙂