French Fries & Feeling Better

People are always surprised at the things I eat. I don’t “seem like the kind of person” that would order a plate of French Fries off the Happy Hour menu. So when the comments about my food choices start flying around the table, I generally reply with my good old stand-by, “Happy Calories Don’t Count.”

It’s easy to assume – given the context in which I’m usually forced to share my mantra – that Happy Calories Don’t Count is some sort of permission slip to eat food I think is bad for me – as long as I’m “happy” about it, of course. And this could not be further from the truth.

Happy Calories Don’t Count is a permission slip (or assignment, rather) for you to do what’s necessary to feel better – which may, or may not, include eating something. (Note: For those of you getting into a tizzy about “emotional eating,” ALL eating is an attempt to feel better because being hungry doesn’t feel good.)

Navigating the maze of diet, exercise and body drama our culture fosters is actually quite simple. All you need to do is ask, “What can I do to feel better?”

Now here’s the thing. Many people often can’t answer the question “what can I do to feel better” because they don’t actually know how they are feeling right now! So the first step in this process is to get conscious and connected. Connect with your body – connect with your Self. It doesn’t really matter how you do it – there’s an entire industry and section in the bookstore devoted to this one idea alone – just do it. Get conscious and connect.

Once you know how you are currently feeling – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – ask yourself, “What can I do right now to feel better?” There is always something you can do – even if it’s to acknowledge that you really can’t do anything about your current state right this very minute but that you’ll address it as soon as possible.

Now do it. Take action. Do whatever it is that you discovered could help you feel better.

And here’s the kicker – you have to check back in. Did it make you feel better? Did eating that bag of cookies, for example, make you feel better? If so, YAY! If not, try again.

And how do you know if your action helped you feel better? You get conscious and connected again (or better yet, you stay conscious and connected – if the cookies aren’t making you feel better you instinctively stop eating them before you finish the bag).

So navigating your way to optimum health and vitality has very little do with the specifics of your food and exercise choices. Health, vitality and beauty ultimately have more to do with your ability to be present, connected and make choices that contribute to your greatest peace and happiness in the current moment.

I’d like to say, “It’s as easy as 1,2,3.” But in reality, it’s as simple as “1,2,3,4 and Repeat.”

  1. Get conscious and connected.
  2. Ask, “What can I do to feel better right now?”
  3. Take action.
  4. Check in. Do you feel better? (Which brings us back to #1).

And the fact that this is simple does not necessarily mean it’s easy. We are living in a marketing and media driven culture that does its very best to keep us unconscious an disconnected. We are the targets of a nearly $600 billion weight loss industry. So this approach does take work. But the work it takes to become conscious and to align yourself with your Self is far easier – and much more fun – than trying (and failing and trying again) to adhere to some diet and exercise program. And in the end, this “Happy Calories Don’t Count” lifestyle is not simply more enjoyable, it’s also something more important – it’s sustainable.