Losing the Poutine Fifteen
Over the past 8 months, I have been struggling to regain my college physique. (Too much Boreale and poutine in Montreal, I suppose). Now that I have (almost) gotten back to my college weight, I’m discovering how difficult it can be to maintain the weight and physique I want.
In college, I used to eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about weight gain. True, I was also fairly active – horseback riding, playing various sports and being generally rambunctious (not that much has changed) – but I never had to think about the food or drink that I consumed. When I started college, I didn’t even know the difference between a carbohydrate and a calorie. Oh, how things have changed!
Making the Change
Back in September when I started this journey, I was under the misconception that it would only take a little bit of diet and exercise to return to my previous weight, and then I could go back to eating whatever I wanted. (Yes, it took me nearly 8 months to lose 10 pounds). Now that I’ve spent the last 8 months altering my diet, counting calories, avoiding sugars and starches and exercising regularly, I can’t really imagine going back to the way I lived before. True, it’s still difficult not to serve up that second plate at Thanksgiving dinner, but I have experienced a few – I would consider miraculous – changes that curb my appetite.
Noticeable Changes from Eating Healthier
First, the less I eat of fatty, starchy foods, the less tolerance I have for them and the less I want to eat them (thinking I want to eat them is an entirely different story, however).
Second, the more vegetables I eat, the healthier I feel overall, the more I enjoy their taste (I barely put any dressing on my salads now) and the less bloated/acid reflux-y I feel. As a side note, vegetables have very few calories in them. One pickle spear is only about 5 calories, and a whole head of iceberg lettuce is 90 calories.
Third – and this one I find to be most incredible – the less I eat of foods overloaded in fats, starches, sugars, grease and other equally unhealthy additives, the more nuanced my sense of taste becomes. Maybe it’s because my taste buds are no longer overwhelmed by one taste, but I’ve noticed a definite increase in the flavors I can detect in my meal.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been dabbling in vegetarianism. And, surprisingly, the less meat I eat, the less I crave sugars, and the less I crave meat. Course, I’ve been careful to include plenty of other proteins in my diet – particularly beans and quinoa, and I’m not saying I’m going to be a vegetarian forever, it’s just nice not to have that heavy feeling in your stomach after a meal.
What Tastes Good?
What I’m getting at here is that the foods I used to love, I no longer enjoy, and I think it’s for the better. Whenever I tell this to friends, they respond with a frown and say, “Well isn’t that sad?” But my honest-to-goodness opinion is, no, it’s not sad at all. Think about it, how many times have you said, “If I could make myself not like [insert favorite fattening food here], I would.”
Do I miss those foods? No, not really. Instead, I experiment with spices and herbs to create meals with plenty of flavor to roll around on my taste buds. I eat slowly and enjoy every bite. To me, cooking is another way to express my creativity, and I challenge myself to make healthy, delicious, beautiful meals even if I’m only cooking for one.
Painless Lifestyle Change
Bottom line is, getting healthy and staying healthy is a lifestyle change. But it doesn’t have to mean a lifetime sentence to rabbit food and treadmills. It just means letting go of the idea of “tasty foods” and instead learning to be creative with healthier options.
Interesting Link : Diet Tips from Ultrarunner and Vegan Scott Jurek