Sunday, July 20, 2008

Biting the hand that hungers you

I saw a paying blog opportunity at Freelance Writing Jobs this week; apparently, a well-known health magazine is looking for bloggers on the topic, and I wondered, does all my failure count as experience?

I have been on diet after diet in my adult life. The Atkins diet (which worked for a while, but made me really cranky), the diet where you eat mini-meals throughout the day, and, most recently, the South Beach diet, which allowed me to lose a little water weight, but also made me snap on day 6 of phase one. While I haven’t tried the Paleo diet (eating like hunter/gatherers), I do have a male friend on it. The main problem with diets in general is this: I’m so obsessed with what I can and can’t have, so I’m thinking about food constantly. “Can I have carrots? Can I have sprouts? Do I have to eat celery with tuna on it? What happens if I eat a Big Mac and fries? I don’t want a tiny square of dark chocolate, I don’t like dark chocolate, I don’t even care for any chocolate that much. I want a Twinkie!” And so on.

With all these diet plans and books, I was doomed to fail. With the South Beach diet, I was eating stuff I don’t like, plus I believe that sugarless gum should never be listed on a meal plan. That’s silly. With Atkins, the emphasis is on protein, which is good for my blood sugar, but I naturally prefer a less meaty existence. I’ll eat steak maybe once a year, turkey’s okay, can I have my Boca burger or tofu stir-fry now please?

What I have finally learned, after years of starving myself then pigging out again, is to listen to my own body. If left to my own devices, I eat fairly simply, and I’ve finally learned portion control. I could use more veggies, but who couldn’t, really? I love to walk, and will start walking more when the weather cools down. I also learned a trick years ago about treats: I don’t buy boxes of donuts or other goodies; if I want something decadent, I’ll buy it single-serving size at the market, indulge, then go on, remembering to not do that too often.

I feel like a hardened veteran of the food wars, not likely to turn my head over the latest fad. Eat less, sure, but eat foods you like, and move around more.

Hmmm. Maybe I will apply, after all.

No comments: