Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

Losing weight and maintaining at a healthy goal is not only challenging, but it involves some serious changes. I’ve written before how scary change can be, and how our fear of that can hold us back. I can remember well when I started this new, healthy journey five years ago all I could see and think about were the foods I was ‘giving up’ and the ‘rules’ I would be taking on. In particular, I was highly skeptical that the key to my success would be in eating more vegetables. Vegetables? Yuck!

At first, I reluctantly had my five servings of fruits and veggies a day, but I stashed as many spare calories as I could, and I ‘earned’ as many extras as possible, in order to spend them on my ‘gotta-have-it’ foods. There were many days when I would make myself run five miles in order to bank up enough calories to have for those ‘necessary’ foods.

Over time, however, I began to see how ludicrous it was to work so hard to eat so little. That maple scone from Starbucks just stopped being worth it to me. Other snacks and candies also fell by the wayside, not only because I couldn’t spare the extra calories, but because eventually I just stopped enjoying them.

And once I had been eating a moderate number of calories every day for a couple of months, I also began to notice that the junkier the food was, the less satisfied I felt and the more irritable and hungry I became. Its not that those foods lost their sensory allure. I still felt pangs when I smelled the exhaust from the Wonderbread factory near my house on donut day. But my experience was beginning to show me that those aromas and tastes were deceptive.

It took me a long time, but ultimately I realized that when I ate more vegetables and had lighter, soup-based meals, my overall sense of satisfaction was improved. Zucchini isn’t chocolate, but it is a fantastic vegetable and highly versatile. And when I branched out and began including more ‘exotic’ veggies from Asian and South American cuisine, I discovered new and different tastes and textures.

Looking back, I would say there was a period of withdrawal, both physical and mental. From the physical standpoint, there were major body/brain chemistry changes when I weaned myself from refined sugars (particularly baked goods, pastries, cookies, etc.). Psychologically, I also had to face the fact that a bowl of ice cream didn’t hold the answers to my stresses and frustrations.

Now all these years later, I still think of myself as (at the very least) susceptible to temptation, and there is hardly a time when I walk past a candy display or a bakery case that I don’t feel the pull of uncontrolled desire. But there IS a difference. Things HAVE changed.

Last week when I was at Costco to get some frozen veggies for the week, a customer who had arrived at the freezer case ahead of me was busy pulling out the large bags, inspecting them, and then putting them back. I thought this was kind of odd, until I realized he was checking the expiration date. On FROZEN vegetables. I started to laugh, because I go through two large bags a WEEK!! Yes, every week. And that’s in addition to the salads and other fresh veggies that I sprinkle in my diet wherever possible.

So clearly, change is not only necessary and desirable, it is also possible. Even for an old die-hard like me.

And just in case you want to know, frozen vegetables have a shelf life of 18-24 months. But you probably will want to eat them sooner than that. Trust me.

Jonathan.SDP@gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Vive le difference

  1. Kristin says:

    I’m all about the Costco veggies too! I find if I can get through a vat of spring mix, a bag of broccoli florets, and a container of blueberries in a week then I am doing great. (I’m relatively new to this and am not quite up to two bags of veggies yet.)

  2. kirsty says:

    I go through an entire organic box delivery of veg and fruit a week. 10-15 kg (22-33lbs untrimmed weight – but I trim/peel only the very bare minimum…)

    Soup is fantastic stuff….

  3. stretchy says:

    Jonathan,

    My sister lost all of her extra weight and was feeling great. She had more energy and seemed a lot happier. But she hates fruits and veggies. She has regained 20 pounds and has started to skip her breakfast oatmeal. In a rush, she will grab a bagel or muffin instead, hours after she should have eaten breakfast.

    I eat 1,000 more calories than she does every day, yet she is steadily gaining/…she is losing interest in health.

    Do you have ANY TIPS on how we can get SMART ADULTS to embrace fruits and veggies?

  4. Richard says:

    Jonathan, You present an incredibly encouraging and vivid picture of the journey from ice cream to veggies. Thank you for your consistent inspiration. I’m off to Costco …..

  5. Mercury says:

    Hey, stretchy. Is it possible that your sister is bored with her normal recipes? Maybe she needs to try some different veggies and find out stuff she prefers. Oatmeal for breakfast every single morning can get pretty dull.

    And, of course, you can’t make decisions for other adults, as much we’d all like to. 😐

  6. Deirdre says:

    Do you have ANY TIPS on how we can get SMART ADULTS to embrace fruits and veggies?

    Personally, I eat more fruits than vegetables largely because they require a lot less preparation (wash or peel). Grabbing a banana isn’t much work than grabbing a bagel. I buy giant bags of frozen berries at Costco.

  7. clover says:

    Preprocessed foods are boring compared to fresh natural food. The flavor is flat. Compare a good navel orange to a run of the mill candy bar. One explodes with interesting complex flavor. The other hits you over the head with a sledge hammer. It has a boring, overpowering sweetness. Eating natural foods satisfies my cravings for flavor.

  8. stretchy says:

    Hi,
    My sister says she dislikes ALL fruits and veggies. She eats a bagel every single day for a ridicuolously late breakfast . She says she cannot eat a bowl of blueberries or a banana unless cream and sugar are involved. She hates apples and citrus, and ALL veggies.

    when dieting she ate a good breakfast (egg white omelet w/ salsa, or oatmeal, or yogurt–she had variety) now she starves all day and eats a big dinner. She keeps asking me for help.

    I have always loved all veggies and fruit. I am not much help to her. I eat a lot of raw foods, as that is what I crave.

    I invite her to work out with me, but she is too tired.

  9. kpollock says:

    I’m afraid the sister is just going to have to be grown up herself and eat the fruit (without additions) and veggies even if she *doesn’t* like them.

    Or eat MUCH smaller quantities of what she does like.

    Or accept that she’ll be fat forever.

    Sorry love, hard words but the only ones I can think of.

    What about soup???

  10. Sara says:

    I subscribe to Health magazine, and got your website from the latest issue.
    I am trying hard to lose weight… my problem is not that I don’t like fruits and vegetables- I actually love many different varieties of both… However, I have always eaten junk food (mainly chocolate snacks) in between meals, even when I am not hungry. I KNOW that I am not hungry, and yet find myself still reaching for food.
    By the way, what is all the talk about soup?? Do you fill up on soups? Seems like a good idea…

  11. Larisa says:

    Sara, I’m with you. I’ve described my diet as
    “fresh, organic vegetables and fruits;
    lean, free-range meats; fish and fish oil; organic eggs, yogurt and whole grains; plus lots and lots of junk food”. I find the “junk” part is maybe 80% emotionally motiviated, 20% failure to prepare for some situation that left me really hungry with nothing else available. So, I’m tackling those two. (Unfortunately, I’ve found the 20% part easier to solve.) 😐

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