Sunday, June 18, 2006

Taking time

As promised, Diet Blog is expanding the conversation about taking pleasure in food, something dieters find – sometimes – a conflict of interest. The whole post is here, but here's what caught my eye:
Pleasure takes time. Our modern lives are highly-paced, stress-filled, and tightly programmed. This drive to be efficient and busy is present in our attitudes to food. We eat fast food. We eat in the car, at our desks, on the run.

Food can be enjoyed. Slow down and draw out your dining experience. Chew the food slowly - savoring the taste of your choice.

How often do you find yourself stuffing down the "forbidden" foods like there is no tomorrow? Sometimes the faster we eat, the more we eat.

Taking the time means being mindful of the foods we eat each day. Being mindful is one small step to learning moderation.
Living as I do, meaning not having a full-time job and not depending on restaurant meals, I don't have a lot of the issues others who are trying to lose weight do. What I do have, since I'm alone much of the time, is a lot of boredom, which leads to completely mindless snacking at times.

I try to have healthful snacks around, and I keep not-so-healthful snacks out of the house. That means either not having them at all, or keeping them in the freezer, in the garage, which is not connected to the house. [Which is sort of like Jonathan keeping his treats in the basement – three flights of stairs down from his apartment – but not quite so strenuous!]

Where I've been finding pleasure in food lately is in the preparation. I love to cook, but I have to admit that the eDiets recipes are pretty simple. So I've been looking for more complicated concoctions that still fit into the plan, and also have been enjoying – enjoying! – cutting up vegetables to have on hand, and making big fruit salads.

My former pattern was to buy the vegetables and fruits, stick them in the refrigerator, eat the fruit [hopefully before it spoiled] and toss the vegetables when they were beyond hope. "They" advise cleaning and cutting up fresh vegetables when you get home from the grocery, and I've been doing that. And I love having a huge fresh-fruit salad waiting in the wings for desserts.

It's all a matter of perception. Would a brownie taste better? Probably. And there are brownies in the freezer. But to indulge in brownies, I have to think about it while I'm walking to the garage and digging in the freezer. I want my food to be something I don't have to think about.

If I have to think about it, I inevitably end up feeling some not-so-great feelings. I shouldn't have had that, I'll feel terrible if I don't lose weight this week, I'm bad for eating whatever. Of course food shouldn't elicit those feelings, but let's be honest: For those of us who have battled our weight for a lifetime, it just does.

I just want to enjoy it, and I think I'm learning how to do that.


MarilynB. said...

I think recipes that add a new ingredient, to me anyway, also makes for enjoying a dish more and seems elegant.
We tried a stuffed pepper recipe the other day that called for currents, cinnamon, coriander, fresh mint, rice (we used brown rice) lo fat ground beef, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and an egg white. Sort of a middle eastern taste but very good and low fat, low calorie.
It was also fun. The book we got the recipe from was 1000 LowFat Recipes by Terry Blonder Golson. We have tried several from that book and have yet to find one we haven't enjoyed. All the nutrition info is at the end of the recipe. Just no glycemic load listed but I'm sure you could find recipes that use foods you know are low glycemic load.
Sometimes just trying new recipes help shake things up a bit.

Esther said...

You're an inspiration girl!! Fantastic idea of sitting on the exercise ball while you're on the pc - great posture :-) Wish I had your will power - I don't like very many vegetables and work outside the home about 17 hrs a day so I'm finding it hard to be "good" about my choices - ugh...but you're inspiring me!