Several weeks ago hubs and I attended a cookout. There was a guest there whom I didn’t know. She appeared to be carrying extra weight, like so many Americans including yours truly.
As we were filling our plates this woman made a lot of comments about the foods she wouldn’t eat. Chips…”too many carbs.” Potato salad…”to many carbs.” She was turning food selection into quite a production. Later she sheepishly hit the dessert table and grabbed a homemade cookie or two saying, “I saved my carbs so that I can have this.”
I don’t know this woman from Adam’s house cat and I’m not judging her behavior. For all I know, she’s on a food plan that allows a certain number of carbs per day. If she wants to use them on cookies, that’s her business and hers alone.
But her behavior around food served as a “mirror” for me. I was reminded of all the times I would “start a diet” with great fanfare, only to cave as soon as the first sugar craving hit. I remembered skipping this bad-for-me-food only to have that bad-for-me-food.
I now put foods into three basic categories:
1. Foods that I am addicted to. This includes anything with sugar in it such as cakes, pies, candy, cookies…you get the picture.
2. Foods that I am not addicted to but eating them will not get me closer to my fitness goals (or foods I might be allergic to such as those containing white flour). This includes processed stuff such as crackers, most breads (I do eat Ezekiel Bread…yum!), white flour pasta, pizza, chips, stuff sweetened with Aspartame most Mexican restaurant food, etc.
3. “Clean” foods that get me closer to my fitness goals. This includes fruits, veggies, lean meats, low-fat dairy, whole grains such as brown rice, beans and legumes, old-fashioned oatmeal (as opposed to instant), and quinoa.
One day at at time, I’ve abstained from foods in Category One for many years. In fact, I treat them as if they were a line of cocaine…and I don’t do lines of cocaine. Today I build my food plan around the foods in Category Three. I occasionally eat from Category Two, but when I do so I know my weight loss will stall that week and I don’t allow myself to complain about that. As Dr. Phil would say, I chose the behavior so I chose the consequence.
The woman at the cookout reminded me of my old behaviors. I need reminders every now and then. I have to remember where I’ve been to better appreciate where I’m going.