72.8 days of naughty, gluttonous, and even…sometimes…stupid

indulgence photo

I’m giving myself permission (without the consequence of shame or guilt) to be overtly BAD…in every way…as many as 72.8 days out of every 365.

Um… what?

Let me explain.

Absolute perfection is not only overrated, it’s impossible. In my estimation, pursuing it is very unhealthy.  I wholeheartedly subscribe to the 80/20 lifestyle. Wait…that isn’t quite right…I wholeheartedly aspire to live the 80/20 lifestyle. That’s a little more accurate.

The idea is pretty simple. If you work to nurture your mind, body, and spirit approximately 80% of the time by maintaining healthy habits and choices…the other 20% of the time you can cut loose…be free-wheeling and fast living, and most likely, be no worse for the wear in the long run.

Obviously, it isn’t difficult to put holes in my argument…I’m careful to use the words “most likely”. Yes, if you, for example…use dirty needles to shoot up on meth, have loads of unprotected sex with strangers in public bathrooms, cliff dive with lemmings, and eat rancid gelatinous Chinese food castoffs from the garbage…you might not fully recover from the consequences…even if you only do it 0.01% of EVER. I will concede. The philosophy isn’t universal in its application and it means different things for different people. However, I still believe it’s a useful tool in navigating the current cultural push to strive for excellence in everything all the time, or rather…perfection.

Below is an article by Brené Brown about the quest for perfection.

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent 10 years studying vulnerability, shame, authenticity and courage. She is the author of “The Gifts of Imperfection” (Hazelden) and has a blog on courage.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/01/give.up.perfection/

Brown makes a compelling argument that our health is adversely affected by the pursuit of perfection. She also points out that pursuing our best self is far different than pursuing perfection.

In a different, more physiological form of approach, according to exploringthemind.com, researchers at Yale have conducted studies showing evidence individuals who participate in what they (*participants) believe are “indulgent” eating behaviors, have a dramatic decrease in hormone levels of ghrelin after they “indulge”. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger” hormone because it’s responsible for sending a signal to your brain that causes it to “want” more food. When ghrelin levels are low, we feel satiated. What this research tells us is we derive a sense of satisfaction and “fullness” when we occasionally “indulge”.  I believe this true of eating…and life.

To read the specifics of the article and find the citation to the study, use the link below:

http://exploringthemind.com/weight-loss/why-“indulging”-yourself-can-be-healthy

For me, Brown’s argument AND what is revealed in the Yale research supports the idea that being our best self often means indulging in what makes us feel “full” despite if that means we must sacrifice exhibiting “perfect behavior”.

This idea has a broad application. “Indulgence” to one may mean something totally different to the next. I like to indulge in reading books, spending time exercising, sleeping, horseback riding, and traveling with my family. None of these are necessarily unhealthy behaviors, but depending on when I choose to participate in them, they could all be considered indulgent…and simultaneously good for my health. The same can be true for more extreme indulgence.

This weekend I will be celebrating…it’s a birthday celebration for a wonderful friend of mine…in Las Vegas. The 20% will be in full effect. I will surely come home sleep deprived, in need of a liver detox cleanse and a one-on-one study session with Dave Ramsey. I’m okay with that.  I will also enjoy world-class food and wine, dance into the wee hours of the morning with amazing friends, and feel the adrenaline rush of risking $100 on red and waiting to see…all of which will make me feel “full” and meet my quota for “indulgence” for many weeks to come, I am sure. I will be a hot mess on Monday when I return to Casper, but hey…I’m not perfect.

In the spirit of indulgence, here are two decadent recipes I love.

Rolo-stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/08/01/take-2-rolo-stuffed-peanut-butter-cookies/

Hard Irish Iced Coffee

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  1. Freeze coffee in ice cube trays
  2. Add three large coffee-cubes to a glass (use more if your cubes are small)
  3. Pour in 4 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  4. Pour in 4 oz Whipped Cream Vodka