How To Celebrate Without Guilt

May 16, 2013   28 Comments

A friend of mine told me to write about my visit to a fancy-shmancy restaurant. This is a shot of the lovely table setting at Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Eleven Madison Park

I took the photo as I was admiring the beautiful room. The pitcher on the left is our water pitcher. Isn't in amazing how they meshed the practical with the accents?

My husband and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and we picked this restaurant for the food. Before I go any further, this is not a review of Eleven Madison Park. Snack Girl doesn't have the foodie chops to pull that off.

I do want to thank the staff and chefs for an unforgettable experience and meal. I hope (some day) to return.

What I want to talk about is how wonderful it is to forget about guilt, calories, points, and just celebrate with food. Let go and just give in to its wonderful textures, flavors, smells, and nuances.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. When I go out to dinner on a regular night, when the bread basket arrives, I ask for it to be returned to the kitchen (unless I am really hungry).

Here is the bread offering from Eleven Madison Park:

I believe the butter on the left was made from duck fat. Hello! Do you think I asked them to remove the perfectly warmed buns and butter from the table? In fact, I was enjoying my bread SO MUCH that I yelled at my dear husband of 10 years when he tried to steal a bite from my plate. oh no you don’t!

Why do I love eating at a fancy restaurant?
1. They make you feel like royalty.
2. You don’t have to cook or do the dishes!
3. Cloth napkins (‘nough said).
4. You get the pleasure of experiencing someone else’s skill with food.

Every day, I write about eating healthy and I include calorie amounts for all you counters out there. I am aware of how much fat is in duck fat butter, but I didn't care! This was about pleasure and love.

Food can be so many things and in this case - it was pure joy. While you work on your healthy journey, please don't forget the joy.

When do you let go of fear and guilt and simply enjoy food?

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Cooking is both art and therapy for me. Because I enjoy cooking so much we limit our restaurant visits. When we do got out I consider nothing "off limits". i do , however. limit my portions. The only times I eat with abandon is when we are celebrating a really special occasion like an anniversary or walking on my own after six months in a cast! ( or winning the Super Bowl )

I have a sleep over this saturday but I've always ate healthy, usually even on the weekends and I exercise nearly six days every week, maybe even twice a day sometimes. So this saturday I plan to just enjoy myself, guilt free. Watch movies, stay up late, have a great time with my friends. Just the pleasure :)

For me, the guilt would come in, not for the duck fat butter, but at paying $195 pp plus. Seriously? Guess you target a different audience than myself.

Super Post! So glad you had such a great time. The pictures are wonderful and beckon one to a guiltless celebration.

Thank you Snack Girl for sharing your special day ,and that it is okay to treat ourselves Occasionally without the guilt.

Just curious,what did you have for your meal?

I agree that even if you're trying to lose a few ponds it is o to indulge every now and again. A nights worth of indulgence won't put 5 lbs.on you overnight so long as you get back on track the next day.

Happy Anniversary! I'm glad you had a nice time enjoying your meal!

Sweet message to receive on my birthday! What I have to keep in mind that I simply cannot celebrate everyone else's birthday, wedding, and super-special events with the same indulgence ;)

Congrats on 10yrs of marriage. I allow myself to eat one meal of whatever I want for every 20lbs I have lost (72lbs to date) now that I only have 28 more to go I'm going to switch it to two special occasions a year. I will stick with only allowing myself half the meal though. I ask them to bag half the meal prior to bringing it to the table and to bring the bag with my check so then I know its going home. Then my son eats the rest for me. LOL.

Thanks for sharing this - I can't get through a diet without one day of pure food pleasure. I spend time to make as many of my favorite recipes - healthier - that it is a great break to have a slice of pizza and a beer or more :) at my favorite pizza joint and not feel guilty - Pinn mentioned that she works out throughout the week just so that she can enjoy those nights out with friends. Why not?

I agree wholeheartedly - I enjoy a splurge meal at a nice restaurant twice a year - my anniversary and birthday. I don't typically eat at expensive restaurants, I do for celebrations only. It involves some financial and dietary planning on my part, but as you described, it is so worth it!!

Congratulations on your anniversary! And congratulations on balancing - that's what it's all about and you found it :)

Thank you for this post. So often times my clients forget that food is not something to constantly feel guilty about! Food is many things to many people. Food can be a form of art and an expression of love, a hobby and a celebration...we need to remove the shame and guilt from eating and improve our relationship with food! When there is an opportunity to celebrate a special occasion with truly exquisite food, food that is WORTH celebrating, get off the guilt trip and savor each bite. This is not the end of the world, just one of the many curves in the road to a healthy lifestyle.

This topic is something I really struggle with. In trying to eat healthy, I find that (at least for me) it's easy to become obsessive and start depriving myself of any pleasure that comes from eating. Not eating the snacks at a get-together with friends. Not ordering desert at a restaurant. While I realize that these "deprivations" can feel like achievements for many people trying to lose weight or change bad habits, I don't want to be that person refusing something delicious or special or homemade because I'm thinking of the ingredients or calories. I think it can be very difficult to find a good balance, and it can be a slippery slope in either direction!

The meal was about 15 small plates of things like oysters, clam chowder, roast duck, cheesecake.....It is a tasting menu and was a once in every 10 years kinda meal (because of the expense).

You don't have to defend your choices!! just because you are Snack Girl! Indulging, whether it is the food or the expensive price is human and joyful! None of us has a lock on how long we will be here. Do what you enjoy and Congratulations!!!

Way to go! OK some of us need to watch our diets. But life is also something to be enjoyed. Congratulations on 10 years.

I agree, no need to defend your choices and to those folks who might think it was lavish or extravagant, it was a once in 10 years kind of celebration and you can go all out and celebrate! Congratulations! Thanks for reminding us it's okay to splurge sometimes. :)

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary, and I agree indeed. A healthy body is very important, but so is pleasure and enjoyment. Life isn't just a regimen. None of us has a firm lock on how long we'll be herem and no one in their final moments has ever said, I should have eaten more lettuce.

The person who made the comment about your "target audience" makes me sad. I'm glad you were able to enjoy such a special night out!

for crying out loud, Mary... Snack Girl did NOT tell you or any of us to go to this restaurant. she was sharing HER experience. I think it's awesome.

Happy Anniversary. Don't feel guilty. It's not like you eat like this everyday and after 10 years it was well deserved!

Happy Anniversary!

I really enjoyed this post. I think I can honestly say that I've let go of the fear and guilt and enjoy most all my meals. I'm calling it "food freedom." It didn't come easily or quickly, but slowly and steadily with lots of practice and many years. It was so so worth it. I've finally learned to listen to and trust my body, eat when I'm hungry, eat what I want and stop when I'm satisfied, and voila, I'm slimmer than I've ever been.

Food is one of life's great pleasures. It's important to learn to enjoy it!

I am a personal trainer. I love to workout and take care of myself. I follow the 80/20 rule with eating. I believe in moderation and when I go out to a fancy restaurant, I will splurge, in moderation. But that being said life is way to short to count every calorie at every meal. So love you life, your family and friends and love your food and find joy in everyday, because you never know what tomorrow might bring!!!!

I totally agree! Special occasions like birthday, anniversary and like Mother's Day should be celebrated without guilt! They are not ordinary days! Life has celebrations...take joy in them!

Good for u! Congrats on 10 years together also:-) That restaurant looks like one that appeared in Sex in the city?

Happy anniversary! I get away with eating guilt free if it's something I truly enjoy. Things like fast food I can never enjoy because I know it's hardly food at all. I figure that I eat the best I can constantly, so no need to feel bad for making cookies and eating half the batch myself! Over a few days time of course! Ha ha.

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