My galpal Jean Stevens in Seattle has been reading my blog and Facebook posts, where I often mention what I am about to make for dinner. She asked, “umm.. do you just think about these things, or do you actually prepare and eat them?” (I thought, now who would write about something they’re not really doing? And then I remembered, oh right, this is the internet…” ROFL) When I further thought about it, I realized that oftentimes I will decide what to eat when I read what I’ve typed about it.
I’m so visual. I love reading menus, especially ones with a photo of the dish alongside. It helps remind me of what I know and like. At home, I keep some favorite menus out in case I want new inspiration for a meal. I look over the menu and see what my favorite dish from that restaurant is, and it’s likely I can have all the ingredients in 20 minutes, if I don’t already have them.
What Helped Me Ease Into Better Eating Habits
When I changed my eating habits, the first thing I did was remove all foods from my house that I would no longer eat. The first day, I packed it all up, frozen foods, canned and boxed items, alcohol, etc. and gave it to friends. It was weird starting from scratch, but it also felt good. It felt very cleansing and like a rebirth. I stocked the pantry with items I wanted to have on hand: a variety of mustards and rice wine vinegars to use in place of mayonnaise, lowfat soups, canned fruits, vegetables and beans, jasmine and whole grain rices, jello, dried fruit, raisins, lowfat popcorn, packaged tuna in water.
For the refrigerator I got salad fixings, lots of parlsey, lowfat range fed eggs, Earth Balance fake butter spread, lowfat Lorraine Swiss cheese and 99% fatfree sliced turkey or turkey ham, some fruits and juices. That way, if I get into a danger zone at night wanting to eat something, I’ve got good choices on hand.
That’s one thing I’ve learned to do. I used to only buy apples when I felt like eating apples. I didn’t real often feel like eating apples. Then I learned that if I buy apples whether I want them or not, I will reach for one for a nighttime snack if it’s there and I’ll be happy with it. But the trick is to buy them to have on hand, whether you want them or not. Now I really like apples and look forward to the different kinds, and buy them on purpose.
And I’m sure it’s helped me keep my weight stable the past 5 years. I really do eat what I want to eat, it’s just that what I want to eat has changed. That took some training on my part but I took it slowly and it has paid off. It did immensely help to be motivated by having to cut the fats in my diet way down due to health reasons. It made it easy for me to reject formerly favorite foods as being poison to me now. As a result, I’ve never been healthier.
I had to make myself change how I thought and felt about certain foods. I had to decide real quick what tastes and textures I wanted to train myself to prefer, since the former heavy, greasy fare was no longer an option for me. I wanted something lighter, clearer, crisper, veggie-er. I began using mustard instead of mayo and whole grain, high fiber breads instead of sourdough. I began using grilled tomatoes, zucchini or portabello mushrooms to replace grilled meats. I began using different rice wine vinegars on my salads instead of oil, and discovered jasmine brown rice.
I kept my fat grams to 20 per meal, 3 meals a day. I didn’t count calories but kept it about 500 per meal. And that’s a little high, that’s why I’m still 30 pounds overweight (2013 update, those lbs are gone! I’m at my goal weight!) , but I don’t fret about it. It was not a real hard process to change my taste, to change what I looked for in a meal, and how I wanted to feel after it.
It helped me the most to begin seeing my meals as fuel for my next activity. To begin combining foods to give me certain nutritional components, which would allow my body to work at an optimum level, and to keep my skin looking healthy and youthful. I added a lot of water foods, juices, melons, fruits, pho soups and the extra hydration showed in my skin.
Little by little, I changed in tastes from former fatty favorites to new healthier choices. So I still get to eat what I want, it’s just that what I want has changed. Viva evolution.
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