Eating Better

There are lots of meth­ods that folks evan­ge­lize about in terms of eat­ing bet­ter. I don’t like to lis­ten to evan­ge­lists, I learn from mod­el­ing and men­tors. I learned some good things this sum­mer that have helped me eat bet­ter and they’re pret­ty basic, so I want­ed to share. Not evan­ge­lize. I don’t expect these things to work for every­one, but some of the ways of think­ing about food may help change habits.

My fam­i­ly is all in Indi­ana. They eat like basic Hoosiers. Lots of meat and carbs. Basi­cal­ly every­thing from this cook­book would be right at home at one of my fam­i­ly’s din­ners. The only veg­eta­bles like­ly to appear are a sal­ad and green beans. But the sal­ad is a sev­en lay­er sal­ad drenched in ranch and cheese, and the green beans are in a casse­role. I start­ed mak­ing fruit sal­ads to bring to meals a few years ago. I can tell whether my friends or my fam­i­ly post­ed some­thing on Pin­ter­est based on a glance at the pho­to. If it’s super unhealthy it was post­ed by my family.

When I moved to Cleve­land, I took a fan­cy to cook­ing. I enjoy it. But for years all I knew how to make was Hoosier home cook­ing. I slow­ly grew fat­ter. This year, after top­ping out at 205, I decid­ed to lose some weight. I’m down to 185 now, and here’s how I did it.

  • Por­tion con­trol. I put my meals on sal­ad plates and only fed myself as much as I fed my son.
  • Tac­ti­cal willpow­er. Instead of hav­ing to exer­cise willpow­er at home all the time by avoid­ing junk food, I just used that willpow­er at the gro­cery. Don’t buy it there, you won’t have to resist it at home.
  • Eas­ing into bet­ter choic­es. I did­n’t just go all veg­gies all the time. I start­ed buy­ing avo­ca­dos, and eat­ing half of one with a meal. I’d roast car­rots and broc­coli. I’d make the eas­i­est sal­ad imag­in­able: a hand­ful of spinach, a small splash of bal­sam­ic vine­gar, a dash of Parme­san. All easy, tasty, and un-intimidating.
  • Learn­ing by exam­ple. I learned a great many easy things to do with rice and veg­eta­bles in a very short time by being in the kitchen with some­one who knew how to do things I did­n’t. Find­ing a friend or mak­ing a new friend with some­one who is handy in the kitchen in ways that you aren’t is great!

That’s basi­cal­ly it. After awhile I start­ed crav­ing my now dai­ly sal­ad. I look for­ward to mak­ing an avo­ca­do, beet and goat cheese sand­wich. Hell, you just have to steam, peel, and slice the beet. It’s not hard. The fla­vors take care of them­selves. And because my por­tion sizes are small­er, and veg­eta­bles slow­ly increased in per­cent­age, I’m eat­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly less carbs and meat. I’m not becom­ing veg­e­tar­i­an, but my diet is much clos­er to a veg­e­tar­i­an diet than it was. I don’t dis­dain junk food, the Pop Tarts I just had are proof against that. But the four lit­tle changes I made have added up to a big difference.

Food evan­ge­lists demand­ing a sea change in eat­ing habits did not affect me. Being around peo­ple who were good dietary mod­els but not preachy about it and mak­ing my own small choic­es has made much more of an impact.

16 thoughts on “Eating Better”

  1. I was going to go the seed/nut route on my sal­ads. Sesame seeds, maybe some shaved almonds. It’s fun­ny how good a sal­ad can taste with­out cov­er­ing it in all the sal­ad bar crap that’s available.

  2. I agree about por­tion con­trol, espe­cial­ly when you love carbs like I do. But, I think I need to eat more than a 6‑yr old Melin­da and have fell in love with beer. 😉 I also love Quinoa and use that often, instead of brown rice. 

    Great job on reduc­ing — it will pay off in the long run — and thanks for shar­ing [un-Evan­ge­lis­ti­cal­ly].

  3. Melin­da, I should say that I’m most­ly done with por­tion con­trol as a weight loss mech­a­nism now that I’m at the right weight for me. I’m still keep­ing the same por­tion sizes for meals, but now I can have a few drinks or an irre­spon­si­bly large bowl of ice cream to keep me where I’m hap­pi­est. Mod­er­a­tion in all things includ­ing moderation!

  4. Adam, its your 2nd cousin, Melis­sa! I have been so impressed by your poet­ry youtube & now this… I have also changed my Hoosier eat­ing ways for yrs.. It took about 10yrs of Mea’s 1st 10 to let go of the dai­ly pota­to por­tion, but I did man­age to nev­er make her jello!
    As a sin­gle par­ent, I learned the mag­ic of one pot cook­ing ie… pas­ta & broc­coli, or peas or eggs & ham …its only ben this past yr that I have cut my pork eat­ing habits down 95%. ( Although when I was last in Logans­port for a funer­al I did hon­or my cousin who passed by eat­ing a pork tenderloin).

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