Friday, November 16, 2012

How Sweet It Isn’t: Part One

I've been changing the way I eat lately. I don’t want to say "diet" because diets never work, at least not long-term and certainly not for me. Also I get to pretend that it’s all about healthy living and not losing weight, which isn't 100% crap but neither is it all that close to the truth. I've kept close track of my weight and managed to lose over 10 pounds, which makes my driver’s license no longer a lie. Not that the number is all that impressive for a woman my height, but I take what I can get.

My eating changes are pretty basic. Carbs are the enemy. Specifically the whites are to be avoided: sugar, flour, potatoes and rice. And sadly, beer. For me, the more carbs and sugars I eat, the hungrier I get. Before I cut these out you did not want to be around me when I missed a meal. I never understood how someone could “just forget to eat” (*sidelong glance at my husband*). Now I see that when you eat in a balanced way your body does not constantly plunge you into mood swing hell. I can actually feel hungry without also having an overwhelming urge to murder someone.

spicy pumpkin seeds
spicy pumpkin seeds
I started by going cold turkey, cutting out not only the whites but all sugars and flours, even fruit and whole wheat. And alcohol. I've tried this method before with limited success. My craving for bread is just too strong and I cave. This time around I made sure I had plenty of low carb snacks to grab instead. Beans tend to knock out the bread craving for me, so I loaded up on hummus and three-bean salads. Instead of focusing just on vegetables, I let dairy, meat and nuts played a big role in my diet. I’m sure I would have lost more weight more quickly if I had laid off the fats, but I was still amazed at how steadily the weight came off. After a few weeks I let fruits and whole grains back into my diet, but kept them a small part of my meals. Alcohol is now exclusively red wine, and not too much of it.

Of course there is everyday eating and party eating. If I’m having dinner at a friend’s house I’m not going to turn down a homemade apple pie or skip eating if she serves pasta. I’ll just have a bit less than I used to, and maybe double up on salad. When I’m out at dive-bar karaoke red wine isn't really an option, so I’ll have a Bud light. This way of eating is really about the trend, so the occasional indulgence isn't a cause for concern. As long as the Halloween candy binge doesn't disrupt the healthier habits, no real harm done.

Coming soon... Part Two: That advice you didn't ask for.

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