I’ve tried several times (and succeeded once or twice) to lose weight in the last decade or so. Each time I’ve tried the hardest part has been eating properly, because I have a very vicious relationship with food.
It started when I was quite young, because my childhood happened to fall during a time of nutritional upheaval (shut up, I’m not being over-dramatic at all). My parents are of the first generation in which both mothers and fathers pretty much had to work to support a family, so we ate quite a lot of fast food, freezer-to-stove meals, and just a generally large amount of processed foods. We were also riding on the coattails of the previous generation, who believed in lots of butter and cream, big pasta meals, dessert after supper every day, and that “leftovers” was a four-letter word. I can still remember my grandmother insisting I eat the last of whatever was for supper, even after I’d already had two or three servings, because it drove her nuts to wrap something up and stick it in the fridge.
When I was very young these kind of eating habits weren’t a major issue because I was active. My generation was one of the last to truly enjoy the outdoors, spending most of our time riding bikes, playing tag, spending all day at the beach in the summer and all day building snow forts in the winter. We were never still, and so our consumed calories were all but demolished by the end of the day. Even as I moved through junior high and high school, I was still considered quite active; I had a paper route that required me to walk a good couple of miles every morning, I was a cheerleader for two years, and I took Tae Kwon Do classes for several years. I ate ridiculous amounts of pizza, chips, candy, and other carbs, but I was working them off.
But eventually my eating habits began to catch up with me. Once I hit college I was considerably less active, and it’s only gotten worse as time went on. Oh sure, I can force myself to hop on the treadmill each day, or I can play a Move game on the PS3, but I’ll never again be that level of active that I was when I was a kid.
But unfortunately, my eating habits haven’t changed along with my activity levels.
I’m a carb-monster. I love pasta, breads, and sweets. I’m a sucker for soda, and my idea of a snack is a large enough portion of chips to put me into a salt coma. To make matters worse I hate most vegetables to the point of actually gagging when I try to eat them, I find it nearly impossible to drink more than one glass of plain water, and of all the animal products available fish is the one that I can’t stand to have more than once every couple of weeks.
I’m not a healthy eater is what I’m trying to say here.
I try to take advice from credible sources, but whether because of some genetic mix-up in my physiology or good old fashioned subconscious stubbornness, nothing seems to help. Forcing more water down my throat does not abate my appetite. Piling extra vegetables on my plate does not make me feel fuller longer. No amount of healthy fruit dissolves my desire for chocolate and creamy fillings. The plain and simple fact of nature is that I’m hungry pretty much all of the time, unless I stuff myself to the point of actually feeling sick, and the things I crave most are covered in salt or sugar.
So what do I do about it? Well, to be perfectly honest, I don’t do anything about it. On occasion I am able to force myself to eat a little better for a little while, but in the grand scheme of things my eating habits are as deeply ingrained in my being as is my love for writing. I simply wanted to share these thoughts because I’m certain – quite certain – that there are many others out there just like me, and sometimes it’s nice to hear that you’re not alone. So, fellow carb-crunchers…I have no helpful advice to give, but know that your pain is my pain.
And if any of you out there is a scientist, I’m still waiting for that magic formula that makes vegetables taste like chocolate. 🙂