Earlier this year I wrote about the concept of zigging and zagging – taking a realistic approach to eating that allows for days when food is celebrated as a social activity. In a nutshell, it means alternating between zig meals (with high nutrient foods and no alcohol) and zag meals (where the focus is more on relaxing). Zag meals are part of a healthy and connected lifestyle.
It’s an idea that resonates with plenty of people and recognises that restricting food intake, counting calories and generally not allowing yourself to simply enjoy food can be a negative and at times, unhealthy existence.
Of course in reality, what can happen is a week that starts out zigging ends up zagged, if you get my drift. I often start out with good intentions and then somehow, fall off the wagon. So here’s how a typical week might go:
Monday – feeling sluggish from that extra glass of wine last night, I start the week well. Breakfast museli, lunch cup of soup and fruit and a museli bar on lunch duty. After school a cup of tea and then fish, salad and wedges for tea. Ah Mondays.
Tuesday – toast and takeaway coffee, pita pocket for lunch, fruit while on lunch duty, afternoon tea liqourice and coffee. Tea is pasta bake and later some crackers. The wine is begging to be opened but I resist.
Wednesday – slept in, coffee then a scone at work (so spongy and soft and full of carbs but a girl’s gotta eat …). Testy class period 3. Find a cup of soup in desk drawer that will have to do. Period 5 is a non-contact and there’s a stack of marking to be done, curse you sweet treat box in staff room. I buy a bag of jersey caramels to get me through. The funds go to the Cancer Society so that’s all good. Tell myself I’ll just have one, eat the whole bag. On a sugar high so balance that with more coffee. Tea is spinach and bacon quiche with side salad. After tea potato crisps. With milo. Why? It’s hump day and I am too tired to care.
Thursday – On a downhill slide now. Breakfast back to muesli and yoghurt. Lunch is a toasted sandwich (cheese and vegemite) and banana. There is cake left over in the staff room from some function – don’t mind if I do. Get petrol on way home – resist the white chocolate. Tea is beef schnitzel, veges and mashed spuds. The kids love it – me not so much. Supper is cheese and crackers. And wine. Because it’s almost Friday. No. Just because.
Friday – breakfast toast and honey and cup of tea. Teach five classes in a row. Work through breaks supervising writing catch ups and answering emails. After school there’s a farewell for a staff member in the staff room – glass of wine and crisps. Mandatory. Tea is homemade pizza and wine. I’m not telling how many.
Saturday – breakfast toast and strong coffee. Soup and ciabatta rolls for lunch. Graze through afternoon. (Don’t know how stay at home mums resist persistent pantry pilfering, so addictive). Tea is spaghetti bolognaise with wine – just the one.
Sunday – yay. Pretend I am on holiday. Make a fancy coffee and eat two croissants. Read Sunday paper – so cosmopolitan. Lunch is salad and leftovers. Husband cooks his standard Sunday roast – chicken. G and T before tea.
So not exactly a nutritionist’s dream but over time, like many middle aged women, I’ve developed a healthier attitude towards food. Noting what you eat in a week (honestly!) is interesting. I can see I still use food as a reward and as a counter to stress but I’m not going to beat myself up for slippages.
As the saying goes: Life’s short. Buy the shoes. East the cake. Order the dessert.
And be grateful you have the opportunity to do so.