Friday, June 6, 2008

Cupcakes, dieting and more

As I was signing on to do a new post about something else entirely, I saw a headline about how to eat a cupcake. I didn't chase down the story that went with it, but I envision something along the lines of the various ways people eat Oreos or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

At any rate, it's the second time today that the subject of cupcakes has come to my attention. An earlier email from a friend reported that a couple of new bakeries specializing in cupcakes have opened in Denver. She also added that she'd bought cupcakes for a friend's birthday, but only eaten two bites of hers, which is, I suppose one way to eat a cupcake and diet, too.

I couldn't help thinking, though, of the lengths we sometimes go to in order to deprive ourselves of a treat because we've all become so incredibly conscious of good health, obesity and dieting. Two bites of a cupcake -- unless it was awful and truly not worth the calories -- seems extreme to me. After all, it may well be the only cupcake she's had or will have this entire year. Why not indulge for once?

Even as I thought that, though, I realized such thinking is probably exactly why she weighs little more than 100 pounds...and I don't.

Now, I certainly don't advocate indulging in cakes, pies, ice cream, chips or whatever at every single opportunity, but I do sometimes think we've become so obsessed with dieting that we don't allow ourselves to enjoy our favorite foods, even on special occasions. If we do have a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie at the start of the summer season or a hot fudge sundae on a hot afternoon, it's usually accompanied by a healthy serving of guilt. Now, really, how wrong is that?

Instead, how much wiser is it to allow ourselves the occasional indulgence without guilt? The sense of deprivation is the first step to tossing in the towel on healthy eating. I know if someone told me tomorrow that I could never again have a slice of pizza, it would be the beginning and end of any diet plan I was remotely tempted to follow.

I think the French, with their love of sauces and rich desserts, may have it exactly right. Eat anything and everything, but in moderation. I suppose under that philosophy two bites of a cupcake would qualify, but in my way of thinking one cupcake would be moderation enough...for the month or the year. One a day is probably excessive. One a week might be okay, as long as you didn't also have one slice of cake, as well, one slice of pie, candy and a sundae or two on the remaining days of the week. We all know what good nutrition is. We all know what our bodies and our weight goals can tolerate. We just need to get the guilt factor out of there and some of the enjoyment back in.

Or so it seems to me. Feel free to share your dieting tips, experiences, favorite food downfalls by clicking on comments below. Of if you'd like to share more than a quick response, send me an email at and I'll post your response as a guest blog.


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