The truth can be a bitch

If ever you’ve had to sit down with your inner self and debate matters, then you know that it always depressing to figure out that there’s something wrong and that you want to change it.

Recently during some odd contemplative time, I’ve figured out that I enjoy the taste of food much more than the food itself.

That probably confused some of you, so let me explain.

I find myself in a position where I am overweight, and eventually take steps to rectify this. Steps? Joining a gym, eating healthier, trying to lose weight and “look good” – you know, the kind of good that after you’ve walked by makes women pause and savor the moment, so they can reminisce it later with their friends.

That kind of good.

So you go to the gym twice a week and get worked on for an hour by a trainer. You do all the things you’re supposed to, and nothing helps.

Sure, you drop a few pounds, and tone up some muscle, but there’s still that cuddly cushioning that will damn any man, especially if you can’t touch your toes – not because of the girth, but because of some weird leg inflexibility you probably developed due to major inactivity.

You go to the doctor, hoping that it might be something physiological, but (sadly?) it’s not. You only find out that you’re in pretty good health – but you need to exercise more. Duh. Don’t need years of schooling to tell me that.

So you drop the expensive diet, as it’s not really doing anything, and you go back to eating “health conscious” – salads, and the occasional Chinese take-out of something with tofu.

Then, you sit back one day and realize:

I don’t eat all that much, and when I do, I usually eat pretty decently.

But when I don’t…

I have found that I love the way things taste. The mixing and matching of textures and flavors os something amazing, and I will overeat something that tastes good – just to have some more of the taste, far past the point of sustainment.
I suppose that’s what ancient Greeks had in mind – they wanted to eat more of these delicious items, so off to the vomitorium with you! (I know I’m mixing Greeks and Romans, but I don’t care. Oh, and the fact that the vom is no place for this kind of activity. But it sounds cool.)

So now that I’ve figured that out, what do I do about it? There’s the simple method – go back to a strict diet and deprive myself of all that is delicious – but that’s absolutely no fun, not to mention extremely hard in New York City –
or figure something else out.

Another idea is to try to go the path of “eat only when hungry”, but that’s not healthy, as I’m told that the body will figure that out and store even more fat cells as a result.

There’s not a whole lot of options for someone who doesn’t want to put in piles of effort into shopping for food, preparing for one, and cleaning up the mess.

I’m totally hoping that someone ot there has a good idea – so feel free to shout it, shout it, shout it out loud.

Posted January 23rd, 2008 in Personal.
  • http://kmelion.livejournal.com/profile Kmelion

    How about ‘cutting down’ instead of ‘cutting out’. Instead of eating 6 slices of whatever, have 2.

    It will force you to eat slower (which is better for digestion anyway), you can still savor the tastes and you won’t have dieter’s resentment by having to give up everything that tastes good.

  • http://morin.livejournal.com Morin

    First, I’m glad you’re healthy. Second – can you eat that “something yummy” just once or twice a week, and eat “heathy” all the other meals? or, if it was just once or twice a week – once in two weeks. Not to “never again”, but to “more rarely”. A balance, of sorts.

    My weakness is choclate. We’ve simply stopped buying any choclate to sit in the house. If I want any, it’s a dress-up, go-out mini-celebration. It makes it more special, and easier for me to skip the empty cals. I hope you find your way to have both worlds. Good luck.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/stone_ Avri (Stone_)

    I totally feel your pain. I was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver which meant that it was finally time for me to start paying attention to what I eat and probably start to exercise.

    Nothing I hate more than the prescription of common sense, because then if you fail it’s all your fault. I really hate it that now I read labels to see the fat content. I’ve cut cookies out of my diet which is a good thing that I should have done a while ago. The doctor wants me to lose 30 pounds though and I don’t know if I can do that.

    I have the same problem that I overeat the foods that just taste good. Shabbat is my weakness.

  • May

    I know what you mean, as I find myself in a very similar state these days..
    I started this ‘detox’ program about 3 weeks ago, that I got from a Chinese nutritionist+ therapist I started going to. On the most unsuitable timing for cleansing as it seems, but maybe, there is no such thing as suitable timing but the one you deicde upon anyways..
    In any case, after the first week without alcohol, coffee, processed food and cigarettes(Which was a challenge I confess..), the system started to cleanse and I felt it slowly becoming much better, more balanced. But after a long weekend at the parents, with lots of stress and other equivalents in the equation I ravaged on unhealthy things, I don’t even enjoy much, in some stupid self-destructive pattern (I’m oh too familiar with..)But that wasn’t my point- The thing is, this week, after being so depressed from doing such damage to the constuctive work I was trying to do, I decided not to be mad at myself, but, instead, do what I can, right now. If I can’t do it completely and ‘wholey’ right now, it doesn’t mean I should give up all together but instead find the balance and work on the things I can. So I had my first cup of coffee in 3 weeks yesterday, (as I was at Uni ’till 20:00. with a full schedule..),but I also had a lot of green tea, ate reasonably healthy, nutritious food, which gave me energy for the day, and did some Yoga stretchings and breaths..
    I think, as you said- “go back to a strict diet and deprive myself of all that is delicious “, is not only no fun, but it’s not good and ineffective in the long run, as the body (and soul) will franticallly look for it later..
    My advise (and you can do what you wish with it, I won’t be offended.. :) ),
    Is that you should be more aware of what you’re eating, when you’re eating; on one hand, maybe try to find the more healthy variants for the food you like (as in made with wholesome ingridients (whole grain brown sugar, etc..), and I know there many places in NY where you can find that alternative.. :) ), and when you do have a craving for a specific something, that you know won’t go away, till you get it, no matter hoa many rice cakes with low fat cheese and celery you’ll stuff into you (which I don’t beleive is anyway of leading a healthy nutrition anyways.. ), go and have it, and be specific as to get what it was you really want (Cause as Joey said once in one of his moments of unexpected wisdom: “If you’re going to do something wrong, do it right!”), and when you eat it, enjoy it! Be aware of every bite and linger on the flavor and texture..

  • Yehuda

    You shouldn’t deprive yourself, certainly not totally. That’ll just leave you unsatisfied and make you more likely to binge (and then feel bad about that) then to feel really good.
    You’ve got to put yourself in such a position that when you eat the stuff you really enjoy, you allow yourself to feel good about it and relax in it, and in which you don’t NEED the good stuff so much, because you’re not denying youself.
    I managed to do this for a while 5-6 years ago, if you recall, and it worked for a while. Of course, eventually I gave up, but it was really good me while it lasted.

  • Aba

    Eat what you want but chew each bite 50 (or more) times.

  • Daniel Salomon

    Mike,
    Here are my two cents (# ideas) worth…
    1) Accept that even when you lose the weight, you will be a broad guy. I, no matter how much I gain or lose, will be a small framed person.

    2) Realize that while eating right is good for health reason and the ability to attract the opposite sex (also good for health), that it requires a great deal of time and commitment to get to the point of head-turner. I am not talking about the two times a week, I am talking about 2-3 hours per day and 6 days per week. That is the time part. The commitment part is what are you willing to give-up in a trade for spending that much time getting into that kind of shape.
    I do the happy medium. (besides eating right) I go to the gym 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours for 2-4 times per week. Also the fact that it is in Portland and not NY has an effect. It is more laid-back and social. Then again, the fact that it is a rock gym, also has an effect.
    The result, I am in great shape. I am 5’3″ and about 120lbs. When I came to Portland, I was at 130 lbs ***(over a 6 month period)***. I have a flat stomach, but certainly not a wash-board. I am strong and toned, but not with big muscles.

    3) As for eating, do what my uncle did to stop smoking. He use to smoke all the time. Then he did the following – every time he wanted a cigarette, he would take out the pack, take a moment to place it just right on the table/desk infront of him, take it out in a particular way at the right speed, place it just right next to the packet, take 3 breathes, pick-up the cigarette in both hands, smell it, examine it – checking that the paper was wrinkle free or smoothed it out accordingly, checked the tip to make sure that no loss pieces of tabacco were sticking out, and removed ones that did. Then he placed it back on the table. He then took out a box of wooden matches, and did the same. Then placed the cigarette in his mouth just so, all the way until he had finished the cigarette and discarded of it… You see where this is going. In long, he made it into a complete ritual.
    This did three very important things:
    A) It made every moment of the cigarette a ritual.
    B) It made the more then just the cigarette enjoyable. It made the whole ritual something.
    C) It slowed himself and the event down. In your case, this will be especially helpful in that you will eat slower and even help to enjoy the meal more.

    4) I agree, with those before me. not out, just down. Everything in moderation, and you can still enjoy good food.

    Keep up both the efforts and good work.

    All the best,
    Daniel