Can Dieting be Fun?

by Anne Bennett on October 26, 2010

When our son Corbett was accepted to the University of Chicago five years ago, we visited the school to see if it was a good fit for him. He spent time with students and took a tour of the campus where many Nobel prize winners (especially in physics) had taught or done research.

When he returned he told us that he didn’t think it was the right school for him. Why not, we asked?¬†He replied that the school’s motto was, “The University of Chicago, where fun comes to die.”

We understood immediately. Corbett was already a very serious, some would say obsessive, student. Attending a university whose motto heralded the end of fun would only serve to make him work harder than ever. And what was the good of that?

This guy knows how to have fun!

Instead, Corbett attended the University of Kansas. During those four years he immersed himself in college life, making many lifelong friends and attending games played by KU’s famed championship basketball team. He also came away with three undergraduate degrees with highest honors, in physics, philosophy and classical languages. Clearly he had learned to draw the line between work and play.

He is now a PhD student in neuroscience at Stanford.

It occurred to me last night (at about 3 a.m., when most good thoughts arise) that there’s a lesson to be learned here for dealing with any of life’s challenges, including losing weight. Eating healthy food shouldn’t be a matter of “sturm und drang” (German for storm and stress). Indeed, if you dread having to get in your daily five fruits and veggies, you might stop and ask yourself what you’re doing to make them so distasteful.

Could it be that your attitude has taken hostage of your taste buds? Really, I think that many people who say they don’t like vegetables simply have a mental block against them. They haven’t given them a chance. There’s a difference between soggy broccoli and crisp, roasted broccoli, but in order to find that out you have to give cooking a try.

Healthy eating can and should be enjoyable. Your kitchen shouldn’t be where fun comes to die.

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