As a tradition during the holiday season, my sister and I take my daughter to see the Christmas Spectacular in New York City and then go for afternoon tea somewhere fancy. One year, I was only able to get an afternoon tea reservation on a day that fell within a “No Sugar Challenge” I was doing. If you’ve never had afternoon tea, then I’ll tell you 1) it’s fabulous and 2) it involves sugar.
I ask my husband, “Do I cancel the reservation? Do I only eat the savory items?” He replies, “Sounds like wellness getting in the way of happiness.”
My husband’s a smart man, but nothing he’s said before or since has made such an impact on me. This one sentence helped me refine my approach to both my health coaching practice and life in general. I believe in being healthy, but I also believe in being happy, and there’s a line where one gets in the way of the other.
For this reason, I don’t consider myself vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or sugar-free, even though most of the time I eat foods that are. I refuse to confine myself, or clients, to a label. I don’t believe in “cheating”, “bad” foods or absolute rules in general. That’s a recipe for rebellion and self-hatred.
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Another Case For Happiness
Friday nights are family date night and in the summer, we like to go to a local spot for pizza, which they make from scratch and cook in their outdoor pizza oven. It’s the perfect summer vibe with all outdoor dining and live music. Last year around this time, my husband was out of town for work. He wasn’t getting back until Saturday, but I decided to stick with our tradition. Being solo with the kids, I didn’t want to risk a long wait for a table so I took the pizzas to go.
It happened to be Summer Solstice so I made a big deal of it with the kids. We dined al fresco on our back patio. They devoured their pizzas and handed me their (gluten-filled) crusts to eat with my salad because they know I love them, especially dipped in olive oil or French butter. I poured a hearty glass of rosé, while bedtime came and went. We played music and danced barefoot on the grass under the moon. It was a ton of fun, and my children still talk about it to this day, a year later.
Finding the Line
Here’s the other side: if we did this all the time, it wouldn’t have been special. This is my roundabout way of teaching “everything in moderation”, but people usually mean the indulgent things in moderation. I’m saying even being healthy should be done in moderation. Too much of a bad thing is obviously bad, but too much of a good thing isn’t good either.
Do you have an example of when you chose happiness over wellness? Comment below!