Seeking Balance; Marilu’s Rainbow Theory

Apr 18, 2023 | Blog, Tarry Tales

I last wrote about giving up sugar for Lent. It went well. I felt better.

And then it crept back in.

Here’s how the cycle goes. I start with much vigor and motivation. I grit my teeth and cut out all the sugar. It’s hard at first but I sip my herbal tea and can’t deny, I feel great. So much steady energy throughout the day, better sleep, easier time maintaining my weight. I feel pious.

I’m feeling good but I’m getting itchy. I want to go out and live a little so I have a dessert or a glass of wine. Next thing I know I have a bog of Ruffles con queso in one hand and a can of Fresca in the other. Here I am, a week after Easter, the heap of Cadbury eggs sweltering in my belly. What happened?

Marilu Henner’s “Rainbow Theory”!

Remember her from Taxi? She wrote some of my favorite books on health and wellness in the early 2000’s. Namely, Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover; 10 Steps to Your B.E.S.T Body I loved this book. She preached about the glory of good bms, going dairy-free, food combining, eating less meat and sweating every day. Sound advice!

Her rainbow theory is really about the quest for balance. You start at PURPLE for pious, monk-like behavior. You’re going to eat perfectly, no sugar, no booze, exercise every single day. It’s on!

But then you’re feeling so good, you want to show off a little, go out with friends. That’s when you slide into BLUE. Still cautious. Still doing great, making every workout. Soon enough you’ve achieved the most sought after GREEN phase of perfect balance. You’re socializing without tipping the scales either way. You’re still consistent in your workouts but you have a life.

Unfortunately, that perfect green fades to YELLOW, where socializing becomes more frequent and the 6am yoga becomes a memory and that quickly turns to ORANGE. Think Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years festivities. Forget it. And the only thing left is RED, and we hope you don’t swing that far! “In Red, you’re either lying on the floor with drool coming out of your mouth…or you’re in Italy.”

I’m trying to achieve a good balance. I want a blue-green-yellow life but sometimes, like with my Lent trick I have to visit purple for a few weeks to get focused. And sometimes on vacation or celebrating a big birthday or holiday, I dip into orange. This is life and it’s okay for the pendulum to swing like this.

I know for my body and my energy level and the menopausal years sprinting towards me, I could do without the inflammation sugar brings on. I know this well. But I also know we have to live and have fun. For me that means eating delicious and satisfying food. In a few months you may hear me declare “I’m giving up sugar!” again and I will. And then I’ll go through the cycle again. I think I’m okay with that.

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