As we grow up and grow older we no longer need to abide by the usually far more regimented rules of youth. We are free to set our own rules and of course make our own mistakes as such. Over my lifetime many a food has changed significantly in composition. Your average processed food now has twice as much sugar and salt as it did in my childhood - as these flavour-enhancers obviously bring out the win in the various head-to-head taste tests (New Coke vs Pepsi etc.!).
Besides sugar and salt, several foods are now laced with a complex cocktail of growth hormones, anti-biotics, pesticides and preservatives - in fact things like an Oreo cookie cannot properly be described as a food - just check out that highly suspicious ingredients list! The beauty of modern living though is that most food stuffs last a lot longer than they used to - which of course is good for usage/low-wastage/the environment to a degree but they seem to have a more negative impact on the waistline and other health matters.
We adults can allow ourselves ’treats’ whenever the fancy strikes - which for some may be a fizzy drink or some chocolate, or a small hunk of cheese even very now and then. All those things quickly add up, and before long you find your waistline expanding. In response, many will hit on some sort of hard and fast diet - no chocolate etc. for a month or more - but this often leads to a pattern of alternate fasting then binging (or fast/feast as I like to call it) - which is no good for the body or anybody for that matter. You are better off keeping your guilty pleasures in sometime moderate circulation than getting into some sort of extreme yo-yoing pattern.
I was fortunate enough to attend / benefit from a boarding school education from a fairly early age where ’getting fat’ really would have been a struggle - particularly in the very closely monitored junior school. In said junior school that my siblings and I attended - the tuckshop (sweets & snacks) only opened its doors twice a week - on Wednesdays and Saturdays. With the exception of birthday parties - those were the only times you got access to treats - and how much you could have was strictly limited too.
In senior school things got a little more lenient and there were a variety of tuckshops open day and night. In my boarding house there was a small hatch to the side of one of the main day rooms - and each and every night you could have asked for ’a Karlsson’ or ’Karlsson Combo’ - a can of Sprite, a Snickers bar (or Marathon as it was known then) and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps - it was universally known particularly throughout ’School House’ although not necessary applied every day - but generally far more often than the twice a week of junior school.
My own weaknesses are all those mentioned above and a few more besides - chocolate, ice cream, fizzy drinks, biscuits and cheese in particular. But I’ve taken up ’Tuckshop Rules’ now and applied them with limits - so I’m not stuffing my face as such twice a week - but those are the days I allow myself a couple or a few treats - hit the cinema for a large popcorn and coke etc.
There is of course another side to this also - as to what you do on the days when you do need in-between meal snacks. I’ve switched back to my old friend M&S Fruit and Nuts selection - which I find I really quite like too - even though at times it can feel a little mulchy - and some of the fruits can contain weird preservatives. Generally though as there is far more availability of everything than there used to be you need to be careful with what you take on board - as often the seemingly healthier options are more sugary and calorific than some of guiltiest pleasures. I’m not saying either that it’s all plain sailing now - as there are obviously days of lapses - but these are generally few and far between - and Wednesday or Saturday are usually not too far around the corner.
I hope others may find such a simple and gentle regime useful too - we’ll compare notes at the end of the year!