CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
I am an active woman, dedicated to staying healthy, and understand that what I eat is a big part of my health. I'd love your opinion on a friendly dispute between my husband and me. I believe we're all entitled to sweet treats and comfort foods if we exercise. My husband, an avid runner, has never had a strong interest in these foods or desserts and says I must stay away from comfort foods and sweets. Where do you stand on this? -- Thanks, Sheila
You and your husband are on opposite ends of the spectrum and, as with most things, the best answer lies near the middle.
The idea that we deserve to eat whatever we want because we exercise is common -- many people look forward to indulging after a good sweat. Enter entitlement.
Then there are those who aren't tempted by indulgent foods and sweets, therefore finding it much easier to stick to a strict diet. Enter discipline.
Oddly enough, your opposing beliefs are actually fueled by the fact that you both pursue regular physical activity.
Why work hard if there is no reward?
I exercise, so I deserve it. I hear you, and it raises this question: Why does anyone build their life around activity? The answer is fairly easy: to live happy and healthy. The healthy part is self-explanatory, but the happy part encompasses a much broader array of answers. For you, happy means having the green light to say yes to the dessert or a side of gooey carbs. Understand, however, that if you're not careful, this philosophy can sabotage your quest for health.
It would be difficult to say goodbye to desserts and foods forever, but consider the following: