Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A little indulgence never hurt anyone

I'm definitely what you would call a breakfast person.

Starting the day off with a good meal is about as regular for me as showering and brushing my teeth. My cupboards are perpetually stocked with pancake mix and my fridge is never lacking in the provisions to make a good omelet.

The benefits of a good breakfast are endless. It jump starts your metabolism, gives you energy for the day and has been proven as a workable method of weight control. Growing up, my mom was always adamant about making sure my brothers and I had a big bowl of cereal before heading to school and woke us up early just to make sure. Mom was right: breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.

I usually try to make breakfast my largest meal of the day, but recently, my weight loss goals for Grandma's Marathon next summer have gotten in the way that. I started committing the unforgivable sin of looking at the calorie content on the sides of boxes. I had no idea the cholesterol in a good omelet was so high, nor did I know a frisbee-sized pancake had so many carbs. For me, finding out the nutritional value -- or lack thereof -- of pancakes was a lot like finding out there's no real Santa Claus: you might have felt more grown up for knowing it, but you didn't really WANT to know it.

Because of this discovery, my breakfast habits have been considerably scaled back: something along the lines of a small bowl of Raisin Bran, a toasted bagel, a banana or a granola bar. Heck, I even tried make an egg-whites-only omelet last week, which resulted in a gag reflex and a quick disposal of its contents into my garbage can. Good cereals like Peanut Butter Crunch have been eradicated from my grocery purchases and my trusty box of pancake mix is currently collecting dust in my cupboard.

Well, at least it WAS collecting dust.

I say "was" because yesterday morning, after a trying day and little sleep the night before, I decided I needed more than a wimpy granola bar to start my day off right. I broke out the skillet, threw dietary inhibitions to the wayside and indulged in a breakfast that can only be described as amazing: chocolate chip pancakes with a side of sausage made from bear meat. I even used real maple syrup for good measure and washed it all down with a tall glass of orange juice.

Was this a healthy breakfast? Not if you're trying to lose 20 pounds. But was it an enjoyable breakfast that made the whole day more bearable for me? Very much so. My day wasn't anything significantly different from the previous day, mostly work and a workout at the Y, but my outlook on the day improved immensely thanks to that momentary indulgence

And that's where the line gets drawn when it comes to dieting, at least it does for me. It's good to have a goal and the discipline needed to achieve that goal, but if you can't give yourself a break once in awhile, life can start to feel pretty overwhelming.

Blog updates: I've added a few things to the blog rail on the right. Rather than posting updates on Eric and Christie Nelson's bike trip, both their blog and their GPS location can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate link. I also added a Grandma's Marathon training log, which will chronicle which week of training I'm in and how many miles I've ran so far.

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