I’m finishing up Week 7 of the “Eat to Live” program detailed here. I started out wanting to lose 10 lbs, and I’ve lost 7. It hasn’t been too hard, but it’s not exactly been easy, either. Your “Eat to Live” menu:
- eat one pound of raw veggies per day (mostly leafy greens), EASY
- one pound of cooked veggies per day, NOT SO EASY
- at least four fruits per day, EASY
- at least one cup of legumes (beans/pulses) per day, EASY
- up to one cup of soy milk or tofu per day, EASY (didn’t eat it at all)
- no between meal snacks, NOT SO EASY
- only eat if hungry. NOT SO EASY (am I hungry, or am I bored, happy, sad, stressed, or tired?)
While you’re busy eating these things, you’re also hoping that you can begin to break some of your food addictions—cravings for the enormous amounts of nutrient-deficient, high-calorie, sugary, salty, fattening food that most Americans eat almost every day.
These days, most of my lunches look like this in my big blue bowl, a combination of my salad favorites—usually tomatoes, cauliflower, dill, basil, collard greens, cucumbers, mushrooms, purple cabbage, endive, broccoli, lemon juice, Mrs. Dash, raw sunflower seeds or raw pumpkin seeds (not more than 1 oz!), black pepper, and couple tablespoons of cooked black beans:
It takes me about 15 minutes to chop all this stuff up in the morning, so I’m getting out of bed earlier, which is the only thing I don’t like about this lunch. But I’ve come to enjoy the variations on the salad that are usually determined by what I had in the refrigerator that morning, and what I didn’t see in the refrigerator because I was only half awake.
For dinner at night, I usually eat some homemade bean soup and squash or something along those lines. It’s this time of the day that I usually miss my old foods (I almost wrote old “friends,”) such as pizza, enchiladas, noodles, rice, French fries, pancakes, anything with canned refried beans, anything with cheese, hot chocolate, olives, macaroni & cheese, enormous baked potatoes smothered in butter, salt and cheese, and peanut butter & honey sandwiches. And I’m not through missing those foods; I’ve only stayed away from them because we mercifully don’t have them in the house.
That’s not to say that I haven’t cheated. I have. A lot. Visiting my parents on weekends, I eat the homemade cookies that my mom offers. (“There’s more in the freezer,” she reminds us.) Hubby and I have twice made humungous pizzas and eaten every morsel. I went to Book Club and ate gooey baklava and (since Hubby was driving) drank 4 glasses of wine. One night I was desperately craving chocolate, and I remembered that I had chocolate chips in the baking area of the cupboard—I got them out and ate about a cup of them, plain, right out of the bag. Pathetic, huh.
Sometimes I’ll slice a small piece of cheese and savor it like it’s my last meal.
I baked some brownies, ate a few, and took the rest to work to fatten up my co-workers.
My brother gave me some Minnesota-grown honey for Christmas and it’s one of the best sweet foods I’ve ever tasted. We don’t have bread in the house right now (lest we eat it) so I’ve eaten the honey right from the spoon.
But I learned that typical American fare is beginning to gross me out even more than it used to. I had to go to a banquet for work, and I was appalled by the food served. Each guest was served a dish with steak AND chicken on each plate, a tiny amount of asparagus limply drowning in butter and salt, plus some mashed potatoes slathered with sour cream. (No real chefs need apply; the cub scouts are cooking tonight to earn a badge.). For dessert, we were given a nice-looking chocolate cake-like concoction with caramel drizzled over the top. I picked at the meal ungratefully. It really wasn’t appealing to me. The steak was fatty, the chicken had been fried in oil, there was no taste and no spice. I honestly would have preferred my lunch salad, or at least a non-meat choice. A big plate of asparagus with 1/10 of the butter would have been great. Even the cake was dry and almost tasteless. I only ate a couple of bites of it. Me! So you know it must have been a rotten meal—either that, or I am learning to listen to my taste buds, at least a little.
Despite my abhorrence to that particular meal, I reluctantly reiterate that my cheating has been rampant. I realize if I wouldn’t have cheated so much, I would have lost those extra 3 lbs. to get to my goal weight. Now I’m still on the program, and tomorrow is another day, the beginning of my 8th week. Fuhrman says you can modify the program after 6 weeks, but I think I’d rather do the meals like in the first 6 weeks and just cheat sometimes, like I’ve done these last 7 weeks. I’m not breaking my food addictions very effectively, but I’m learning to like some new foods such as squash and broccoli. (OK, I don’t really like the broccoli yet, but I’m eating it.)
Lessons learned so far:
- I can eat a big green salad and feel pretty satisfied by it.
- I can get all the nutrition I need (even protein) from greens and other veggies.
- Other people don’t always like to see someone trying to take charge of their health & diet. Co-workers say things like, “is that your lunch?” as if a large salad can’t really be considered a meal, or “you’re having salad again?” as if I’m crazy to eat real food.
- I have less control over my appetite for junk food than I’d realized.
- When faced with the “eat this, it will taste great” and “do I want to fit into those damn jeans, or not?” choice, I often choose food that does not nurture my body and that directly prevents me from fitting into my pants. It’s inexplicable. It’s crazy. It’s frightening.
- I can learn about food and get smarter, but change is sometimes more of a process than an action.
I’ll write more when I know more.