Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yer Doin It Wrong

I was in a buffet line yesterday behind two lovely plus sized women. I couldn't help but see what they were choosing to eat, and yes, I passed judgment, horrible as that is. They were doing it wrong. Well, one of them was, I didn't really see what the second woman chose to eat. What I saw was a plate LOADED with lettuce from the "salad" they served at the buffet. (Which was really just a big bunch of romaine lettuce with a few bits of shredded carrot and the odd crouton.) That was topped with a HUGE scoop of ranch dressing. All that was fine, but what killed me was what they were saying to each other. The gist of it was that they were making a sacrifice by eating only lettuce this time (topped with a huge scoop of a high fat, high calorie dressing), then they would get all skinny and be able to eat whatever they wanted the next time. Oh, that spoke volumes. I know from personal experience, having walked in their shoes, that this strategy won't work.

Where to begin? First of all, you have to make peace with food, but still be able to control portions. There were some good, healthy options at that buffet that they ignored. (Or not, I didn't follow them to see what else they may have chosen; I'm assuming, for the sake of argument, that they only chose the salad.) I had a little bit of everything I was interested in. As a vegetarian, I avoided the meat and went with beans and rice. I also chose one small plantain, a small half scoop of a noodle dish, a decent serving of the salad with just a tiny bit of vinaigrette, (I even scored a crouton- ha!) and followed it all up with two very small bites of dessert. (And it was a very sweet, rich dessert- I didn't want any more than that.) I am far from perfect, but I think my odds and my attitude toward food are much healthier and will lead to long term success in the end because I have changed the way I eat. While I don't diet, I do watch my portions and I try to make healthy choices. I also understand that this is something I will have to do for the rest of my life, because if I don't I will gain and gain and suffer all of the consequences that go with obesity. I rebel sometimes, but I usually come to my senses and realize this is the choice I make, the choice to be as fit and healthy as I possibly can be.

As for the far from perfect part, I continue to struggle with some weight I gained back after going veg, which I've written about so I won't rehash it again. I keep track of my weight every day; I find it easier than tracking my food. I thought I was hanging in there right around my "red flag" (RF) weight, a little under some days, a little over other days, but, ummm, no. I finally went back through my weight journal and realized I haven't really been under my RF weight since the beginning of the year. That woke me up. I've gotten back on track and I've been working at getting back down under the RF weight consistently once again. I'm doing it not by eating lettuce for every meal, but by limiting and measuring my carbs, planning low fat/healthy fat meals, and eating healthfully over all. Carbs are my weakness; I'll take a bag of salty tortilla chips over dessert any day of the week. The low/healthy fats thing isn't a sacrifice at all for me, nor is giving up sweets for the most part. I find a good piece of fruit satisfies my need for sweetness as well as any candy or cake ever could.

The second place where the women in the buffet line were fooling themselves has to do with their long range plans- "we'll eat like this now then when we're thin we can eat whatever we want". Well, no. Once you lose the weight you can't go back to your old eating habits, I mean, HELLO, that's how you got heavy in the first place! Once you lose the weight you still have to eat the same way as when you were losing. You can't go and just eat everything in sight. You're setting yourself up for failure if you think that's how it's going to be. Maintenance is the hard part because it's for the rest of your life. It's hard to keep it up unless you have, and here it comes again, CHANGED THE WAY YOU EAT. My failures, the times when I gained, had to do with slipping from the patterns I established as I was losing. I gained on a long vacation and I gained again when I radically changed my diet to cut out meat. (And subsequently used that as an excuse to OD on carbs.)

Now I feel like I'm finally re-adjusting. I've gotten a grip on how I have to eat as a vegetarian and it's basically the same as when I ate meat. I have to measure bread, pasta, rice, and all of those starchy, carb-y things I love to munch on, I have to eat lots of fruit and veggies, and I have to keep up with walking for exercise. It's so simple, yet so hard at the same time. It's hard to pass on the bag of tortilla chips sitting open on the counter every time I walk by. (I have kids; they like the organic tortilla chips with salsa. It's not a bad choice for them, it is a bad choice for me.) It's hard not to dip into the crouton container, also sitting on the counter when I walk by, but I can't do it and maintain my weight loss. I can have a few croutons on a salad, I can't eat them like chips the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes it's hard to keep fresh fruit around the house, wash it up, and eat that instead of those tempting, oh so easy and always at the ready carbs. But I know it's what I have to do. I want to live a long, healthy, vital, vibrant life, so that's the cost. It's worth it. I'm worth it. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read Dr. Fuhrman's books. Best advice ever. Try the eatrightamerica menus. Watch the videos. You will find you will feel so much better because you will be eating right.