A New Way of Celebrating

Today is my birthday. I am now 52 years old. I don’t mind birthdays. My friend, Hazel, who lived to be over 100 years old would always say “it beats the alternative.” I agree with Hazel. I am blessed to be alive and loved and healthy enough to spend time with those I love. But this year, things were a little different.

In the past, I’d wait to start my New Year diet until after my birthday. I am not really a fan of a January birthday. It’s always cold and gray. It’s less than a month after Christmas so all your gifts for the year happen at one time. And when you make a New Year’s resolution to start a diet, you either don’t get to have birthday cake or you guarantee you’ll only keep the resolution for 2 weeks. So I waited until after my birthday to really buckle down.

This year is different. My new way of eating isn’t a resolution. It’s not a whim or for the purpose of losing weight alone. It’s about eating in a way that nourishes my body and keeps inflammation at bay. It’s about being able to enjoy lots of birthdays to come on my feet and with my family. So, for now, there is no “cheat” day even for a special occasion. When food is fuel, not pleasure, what do you do to celebrate?

Today we celebrated by seeing a movie (Dr. Dolittle) and going to a restaurant that I knew I could eat pretty clean at. But I did have to pass on the wonderful rolls (gluten) and not snack on the peanuts (legumes). I asked for a salad without cheese (dairy) and I skipped dessert. Even if it was tempting to get to sit on the saddle and have the wait staff sing to me for that free dessert. It was a joy (and less embarrassing) to spend time with my adult children who live close and my husband. I got hugs and cards. It still felt like a celebration.

There are many ways to celebrate without food. I just have to remind myself . Here are a few ideas I thought of:

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