Five years ago John and I started what would ultimately be called “the long diet.” The long diet was very successful with John losing about 45 pounds and me losing about 70. We became fit and healthy and it was all good. The bad thing about being on a long diet or any kind of diet is that you are either on it or you are off. So at the end of the long diet we celebrated for three years enjoying the old unhealthy way we used to eat. Of course we gained back all the weight we had lost. But we did keep exercising so that’s a plus.
So now we are starting the NHLS. That is, the new healthy life style. See, not a diet. And although this is exactly the same thing we did last time, because it is a lifestyle and not a diet when we are slim and healthy again we will just continue to do it. “Yeah, sure,” I can hear you saying. But if you can’t trick yourself into believing that this is the last, last time you will have to deprive yourself of all the things you love to eat, how will you ever accomplish it?
In preparation for the NHLS we have eaten everything that we will never eat again. Well, at least not in the quantities that we would like to eat it. There’s been pizza, margaritas, all kinds of chips, dips, hot dogs, cheese, crackers, potstickers, platesful of spaghetti, just a surfeit of yummy goodies. (As an aside, truly the best potato chips ever are the Cape Cod russets.) It is amazing we have not killed ourselves getting ready.
So how’s it going? This is only day 2 but we are off to a good start. We ate lobster tails last night with snow peas and some rice. We had a little wine at cocktail time with some popcorn. We rode bikes and played tennis. Took a nap. Drank gallons of water. This NHLS is not too bad! And here’s a helpful hint for anyone who starting out on their NHLS, a pickle is like a treat that doesn’t count.
I think Iâ€™ve mentioned this before, never (unless you are really an in-control person) make more than the correct serving sizes for a meal. There are two results â€“ one, you donâ€™t overeat and two, you donâ€™t run into the trauma of someone else eating your stowed away last bite.
Why is it we eat too much or eat things we don’t really like in social situations? Especially at family gatherings. I think if you’ve grown up in a family where food is a big part of the love equation, it is very difficult to turn down a taste of this, a spoonful of that. Oh, we must have the Cape Cod chips and the Frito scoops and the chopped liver and the fine wines because it will show how much we care about each other. How can you pass these things up? They are especially for you. Hey, I don’t have an answer for this because I’ve just spent a weekend being loved a lot with food and loving it.
Be moderate in your food choices, passionate in your exercise and extreme in self-esteem.
The problem for overweight people is that every day is either a celebration with its accompanying gastronomical delights or a depression that needs to be fed. Oh, to be a thin, even-tempered bore!
I know that I will regret admitting this. When I was a little girl, I loved dessert. At our house, we used to have a breadman who came every day or so with a kind of foldout case full of breads and sweets. He worked for a bakery called Dugan’s. They sold these cupcakes that had about a quarter inch of solidified sugary icing on top. Did I eat the cupcake? No, I peeled the icing off and just ate that. When Peggy and I went to Chamber’s Drug Store, I always got a chocolate ice cream cone. At Newberry’s, chocolate milk shakes. At the beach, a bottle of YooHoo.
But if you ask people who know me, they will say, Mary doesn’t like dessert and she doesn’t like chocolate. Well, of course I do. But as an adult and always on a diet, I started telling people that I don’t like dessert or chocolate or anything sweet. I’ve done this for years and years. Now people don’t offer it to me anymore. It makes things so much easier. The strange thing is, though, I’ve sort of convinced myself. Now I just need to start telling people that I don’t like chips.
What is more seductive than the smell of bacon? Ah, pork fat. Alas, you sigh, not really a part of a healthy diet. But I’ll bet that just reading these few short sentences have you imagining the aroma and crisp fattiness of bacon. When I was a kid I loved bacon sandwiches on squishy, untoasted white bread. The bread was dotted with clumps of butter which melted very slightly from the heat of the bacon. Stop! Back to diet tips! My point is, that any food can be part of a healthy diet as long as you don’t overdo it. Two slices of bacon are only about 90 calories. Yes, the fat content is high so you probably shouldn’t be eating it every day. I find, though, when I am craving a certain food, it is better to just go ahead and eat it rather than eat ten other things first trying to deny what I really want.
One way to make food exciting and even exotic is to use herbs. Buying herbs at the supermarket is often expensive. Growing your own is fun and much cheaper too. Even if you live in an apartment, you can put pots of herbs in the window. Although my backyard is fairly dark, I have oregano, mint, chives, sage and thyme growing. Ryan and Jonathan’s garden is out in the full sun and they have an amazing array of giant herbs. Jon makes excellent pesto with his basil. It’s good in Thai dishes as well. You can use Italian parsley with almost anything. A buttery sage sauce is a northern Italian delight. Mint for couscous. And I could go on and on. Really, there is nothing fresher and more satisfying than herbs you grow yourself.
“Call Any Vegetable” is a song by Frank Zappa from the album Mothermania, recorded April, 1969.
Eat vegetables, they’re good for you!