Posted in food, mindset, tips

Evolution hasn’t solved this food problem

We know that we shouldn’t eat unless we’re hungry (a few health issues aside–there’s always an exception, isn’t there?). All of the ins and outs of that is another post for another day.

But when should we stop eating?

It’s a national pastime to eat until it hurts. We plan out which pants to wear so we can overeat with less discomfort.

I think we know that this isn’t healthy.

But (I think) the majority of us don’t do this the majority of days.

On a normal day-to-day basis, when should we stop?

When you’re no longer hungry. When you’re sated.

Not when you’re full.

“Enough food” isn’t the same as “no more food.”

Eat slowly. Chew a lot. (I’m bad at both of those.)

If there are many foods that all look good, like at a buffet or a big holiday meal, take literally one or two forkfuls of each. When you’ve slowly finished eating those, enjoying each, if you’re not done, pick the one(s) that were the best and have another bite or two of that.

Advice I should take for myself: put your fork (or spoon) down between every bite. Chew and swallow before you pick up the next bite.

Also, it takes time before the stomach registers that it’s full, so eating slowly helps you help yourself not to overeat. It leaves time for signals to make it from the stomach to your brain, and then for you subsequently to decide to stop eating.

It’s easier to stop eating if there’s not food in front of you. If you’re eating at home, serve from the stove or the counter instead of putting all of the food on the table. If you’re eating out, split a meal or bring a to-go container (or ask for one up front).

How fortunate we all are to have the problem of too much food. It just means we have different problems to solve. Instead of “where is my next meal coming from?” it’s “how do I not kill myself with the abundance of food?”

Eat only when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re not hungry anymore.

Posted in food, meandering, storytelling

An interesting challenge: Canada edition

The Climbing Daddy is friends with the couple who own the fishing lodge we stayed at in Canada. As a result, we were there the week before they officially opened for the season, so they weren’t serving meals.

They were apologetic but assured us that in terms of appliances and equipment, there was a fully stocked kitchen.

We flew into Williams Lake, a small town northeast of Vancouver, where we were picked up for the 90-minute drive northeast to the lodge. Before heading up, we went grocery shopping.

This was the challenge: what were we going to make?

It’s always challenging to cook in someone else’s kitchen. We didn’t know exactly what “fully stocked” meant. We didn’t know what foods would be available or not in small town Canada. And we needed everything for cooking—no set of oils, spices, dressings, etc. on hand. And we didn’t have international roaming, so no internet while we were at the store.

It turned out, there was a fridge/freezer, oven, stove, microwave, coffeemaker, kettle, toaster. There were pots and pans and a few but enough cooking utensils. Dishes, bowls, plates, glasses, mugs, forks, spoons, knives. There were a few Tupperware-type containers. There was a grill and tools on the patio. Some napkins, aluminum foil, hand towels, dish soap, and a drying rack.

There was salt, pepper, honey, and packets of artificial sweeteners.

At some point, we borrowed a colander.

The biggest challenge in preparation was making food that was tasty without a spice cabinet. We had prepackaged pasta and salads (that came with dressing) and made other things from scratch. We had fruit and nuts and cheese for snacking. Eggs, potatoes, a bag of fresh stir fry veggies.

Overall, we ate well and it was, if nothing else, entertaining to pull meals together.

If we had thought of it, we would have bought a couple more storage containers (and just left them for the next guests). We couldn’t keep many leftovers, and it would have made life a little simpler (and fewer dishes!) if we could have made larger portions with leftovers.

If you had a “fully stocked” kitchen (without really knowing what that included) and only one chance at the front end to go food shopping, what would you plan?

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, food, meandering

Junk on vacation: how I managed it

We’re recently home from a trip to the area where I grew up. We did some sightseeing, we spent time with many people, and we ate.

If it wasn’t clear to me already, I have a solid understanding of why I was overweight when I was young.

All of the “we have to eat there” places were junk food: two pizza places (though only one for pizza), two ice cream places (though friends we stayed with out of that area took us to another ice cream place that was also amazing), fudge and salt water taffy, a bakery.

It was all delicious. Tasty in its own right, but also tasty sharing it with my new* family—making new memories with old foods.

*That’s “new” relative to the last time I ate most of these foods.

So much more junk food than we typically eat. We might have had as much ice cream in 10 days as we’ve had in 2019.

But all the servings were small—the smallest available ice cream or split a sundae. One piece of salt water taffy. A tiny piece of fudge. A cream puff instead of an eclair.

But—it was special. A week and change of special occasion, I suppose. We don’t have health issues that we needed to ignore to be able to indulge. And the rest of the time, we ate relatively well. Lots of fruit. Some salads. Veggies. Burmese food one night. (New to me, and delicious!) Veggie burgers at all of our hosts’ homes (all different kinds, and all tasty!)

Now we’re home, and we’re getting back into our swing of things. I’ve been craving sweets, but I know cravings kick in when I’ve had sweets more than maybe two days in succession. It’ll take a week or two of no sweets before the cravings mostly go away, but I know that ahead of time and am ready to take back that power.

No problems here (so far) with some extra indulging. But counterbalanced in healthy food with a solid period of recalibrating upon return.

In case you’re curious, these were my go-to places:

on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ:

  • Manco and Manco for pizza
  • Kohr Brothers for ice cream (frozen custard)
  • Shriver’s for salt water taffy
  • Steel’s for fudge

elsewhere in NJ:

  • Franco’s Place in Haddon Twp. for panzarotti
  • McMillan’s Bakery in Haddon Twp. for nearly anything. (Their cream donuts are amazing. According to the Climbing Daddy: “Guy walks into a bakery … ‘how good can a donut with whipped cream be?!?!’ … Guy walks out of a bakery fully educated … that was the best donut ever …”)
  • Friendly’s around the area but dying out for ice cream sundaes (the options are crap around here for sundaes)
Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health

Go get what you deserve

Get out.

Exercise.

Eat real food.

Cut the processed crap.

Cut the added sweeteners.

Quit smoking.

Get enough sleep.

Cultivate relationships with people offline.

Turn off the TV.

Why?

You deserve it.

Feeling good in your body, being healthy, having energy, are worth it.

We’re told at every turn that it’s not.

“You deserve a treat.” Sure you do! But a “treat” isn’t deep-fried or chocolate-covered.

Can you really think of no way to reward yourself for whatever you feel you need to be rewarded for other than to eat junk food?

(How often do you need to be rewarded?)

Have you lived in a sluggish, tired body for so long that you forget how good it feels to have energy and mental clarity?

Being tired all the time is not the inevitable result of hitting a certain age. Neither is weight gain. Many significant health ailments are avoidable or reversible.

When I was in my mid-20s, people who were in their mid-30s told me I would understand when I was their age. Same thing happened in my mid-30s from people in their mid-40s.

As I pass through their ages, I understand that they were blaming it all on aging so they didn’t have to accept that it was really something they had some control over.

Make healthy choices.

You deserve it!

Posted in food, mindset, motivation, physical health

When is the best deal not the best deal?

Who isn’t on a budget?

The economy’s been bad, budgets are a little (or a lot) tight. Everyone wants to get the best deal possible.

Sometimes, though, getting the most quantity for your dollar isn’t really the best value.

A cheap meal from a fast food restaurant is not a better deal than a slightly pricier one from a restaurant that serves fresh food.

Packaged food from the dollar store sure costs less than the equivalent at the local grocery store (and way less than at the health food store!) but you get what you pay for.

Go to Costco and you can get a great deal on way too many chips.

The problem with these “great deals” is that they’re on food that aren’t ideal to be eating in large quantities. (You could argue they’re foods you don’t want to be eating at all, but I’m looking to the “moderation” mindset.) Getting twice as many fries for only 20 cents more (or whatever) is really just selling out your body for twenty cents.

“I got 400 pieces of fried chicken for $10!” Yeah. But how much does it cost you down the line?

I know—we’re all about instant gratification. But there are very few middle-aged to older people who are sick in some way who say, “Yes, I knew this was coming, I did it to myself, and I’m glad I did.”

Mostly, we attribute it all to getting older. It’s all unavoidable.

False.

Big difference between normal wear and tear and breaking down from years of abuse.

Treating ourselves badly is so common that we often don’t even see it. And really, how many people are mentally or emotionally strong enough to say, “I am responsible for my sickness”? The only people we’re allowed to blame are smokers, right? For everyone else, it’s just dumb luck.

People think I am crazy for giving up added sugars for any period of time. (Sometimes a week, sometimes a month, occasionally though rarely longer.) Sugar is toxic. But it’s common and it’s tasty and we’ve been trained to believe we deserve it and/or we can’t have fun or celebrate without it.

Change your mindset to change your life. Be wary of great deals on junk food.

You can do it. One step at a time.