Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Battle of the Bulge: Eat Well

We live in a blessed time.

Hunger, at least for Americans, is virtually unknown, and if one does need assistance the government helps. We have kosher supermarkets stocked to the ceiling with every novelty, packed like mainstream junk with oil, salt, and sugar. Dunkin' Donuts is certified kosher in my area. I pass five restaurants on my way home from the train.

The battle for self-control is a hard one in the face of so many temptations.

I'll admit I've had a little boost; when I was little,  Ma stopped buying cookies, rarely purchased a seven-layer, and rugalach were only when the einiklach came. She carefully buys fruit, ensuring they are in season, sweet, and bruise-free. She stopped baking with margarine, and skimps when possible on the oil in her cakes.

Growing up in that environment programmed me in some ways, but still my eating habits left much to be desired. Portion control was beyond me. The double-chin I possessed throughout my tween years melted away after shooting up another foot or so, but still I needed to take charge. I've never had that metabolism that many of my BY classmates possessed, able to consume all species of food without consequences. I started watching myself from a young age.
It took over a decade, but from my own experience I think I've worked out a lifestyle to live by. It may not work for everyone else, but I discovered for myself how I can face the fridge without fear.

Step 1: Soyonara, Donuts
When I was 17, I decided: I would only eat good foods.

I ate whenever I felt like it, mind you. But I replaced any processed foods in my life with things that grew from the earth. It takes a training to appreciate and enjoy wholesome, healthy foods.

Goodbye, Stella Doro. Farewell, J2 Pizza. Bon Voyage, Haagen-Dasz.

Since sugar cannot be completely abandoned (after all, I am human), attempt to limit its consumption. Buy ice cream bars instead of tubs, as that way the portion amount is controlled.  Get small snack-sized, individually-wrapped chocolates, not the bars. When buying store bought coffee, order just that: only coffee. No whipped cream or caramel shots.

Check the nutritional facts on sugary delights, and note the portion size of the serving. Try to stick to it. Also, if, per serving, the fat calories are less than half the the calories, then it's an okay treat.

I rarely eat out. The only times I usually do is when meeting a friend or going on a date. Lunch I bring from home to work (if Helena Rubinstein brown-bagged, so can I). The amount of fat and sugar that goes into restaurant food is a mystery; same for what the waiters "add" if they don't like you.

Soon, with gritted teeth and minor cursing, one can train the palette to find processed foods distasteful. I no longer eat store-bought cookies, not because I lash myself to the mast, but because I don't feel good after eating them. Whereas, I feel great after an apple. 

Golden Delicious is my preference (there is a window when they are peak. It's not now. Now hit the nectarines and peaches).

An added bonus - the complexion will be happier too.


Anonymous said...

thanks so much for the great tips.
i also try to be healthy and also to watch myself but i do give in to certain foods.

Princess Lea said...

It is better to give in to what you really want in moderation than to try to ignore that constant thinking of that food.

For me? I don't need fats or white flour, but I need sugar.