If we don't have it, you don't need it

Ever go into the little local market in town? Not the small gourmet market, but the little grocery store that has the marks of a family-run business. The service is friendly. Owners sometimes help stock the shelves. And the selection of foods is limited.

There is one such market on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine. It’s called Hannigan’s. I know it well as my parents lived there for many years. During the summer you can get a slice of pizza, a traditional Maine Italian sandwich, or grocery shop up and down all of their eight aisles. There’s only one kind of mustard, one brand of pasta and one cut of ground beef. But it’s enough.

Islanders (those who live there year round) know that, even in the worst weather the Maine coast can dish up, if they put on their boots and trudge through the snow, Hannigan’s will have what they need. Tourists, on the other hand, who grumble about the limited selection, are responded to with the company slogan, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” (Read this line with a Maine twang.) That says a lot.

And, so it is with weight loss. How many times have you felt like you really needed something — that Christmas cookie, or pizza with the gang during an impromptu night out. How could I possibly enjoy a large salad with grilled chicken when they’re all eating pizza? We need the candy toppings at the fro-yo joint because everyone else is having it — and, after all, we’re here for a treat.

How devastating to have “just berries and frozen yogurt.” We can’t possible enjoy a Friday night without joining in on the nachos or limit ourselves to a “small plateful” at the barbecue.

Our needs versus our age-old, as-it-always-was lifestyle. It will be a war inside us until we realize we just don’t need it. If it’s not planned, it’s not worth it. Along with our poor choices we’ll end up with a stomach full of regret.

Quite honestly ... If you don’t need it, you don’t need it.

Kim Bensen, author of Finally Thin, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200+ pounds and has kept it off for more than 10 years. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and just opened Kim’s Light Café and Smoothie Bar at 405 Bridgeport Ave., in Shelton. For more information, tips and recipes, go to kimbensen.com.