Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fridge ...

It's been nearly a month now that I've been consciously selecting my daily meals to meet certain nutritional goals (a month in which I've lost 12 pounds so far, thankyouverymuch), and I've noticed a startling change in my eating habits. Specifically, I'm no longer interested in the high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar content foods that dominated my cravings as recently as December. For instance, I have had two mini boxes of the delectable candy-coated candy known as Nerds sitting on my desk for the past week and a half. Two! In October I'd practically down these things two at a time, if given the chance. I'll eat them eventually, I'm sure -- it's not like I've stopped loving their crackly dissolving sweetness -- but it'll be a box at a time, probably several days or weeks apart, when I've easily come under my calories for the day and want a little sugary treat. Totally doable.

Further evidence: I had a particularly stressful meeting today and hadn't eaten lunch yet (nor was I very well-hydrated) when I stopped at a colleague's desk and spotted her candy dish. Behold, an individually-wrapped Reese's peanut butter cup! I snatched it up instinctively, joyous at the prospect of such bliss. And then, nothing. I didn't open it, haven't eaten it, and haven't wanted to. It was so much of a pick-me-up to have it in my hand, I didn't need to put it in my mouth. Like the Nerds, I'll probably have it eventually, but I find it odd and somewhat reassuring that I'm not greedily scarfing it down.

I did have a bit of a treat today, though. When I did make it downstairs for lunch, I made up a salad -- another strange development in my eating habits, I must say, the way a salad can suddenly sound so good -- but because of somewhat meager offerings on the bar today it wasn't a very big one and I knew I would need more sustenance for the rest of my day. I browsed around a while and finally selected a container of rice pudding -- oh, how I love rice pudding. Really, 140 calories wasn't going to break the bank by any stretch and given I'd eaten exactly zero grams of fat all day, I kind of needed some. Balance, after all. The thing is, it was almost too sweet and too heavy. I didn't want that much of it, and what I did eat left a lingering taste in my mouth that was almost distracting in its artificiality. The pudding wasn't any different. I've had it many, many times before and I can attest to its perfect sameness. I suspect that it's me who is different, which is both an exhilarating and a worrisome prospect. After all, I want to live a healthier lifestyle and be more fit and provide a better example for my kids, but I also think I will miss the cookie-cutter ease of a fast food combo meal or a mid-afternoon vending-machine-candy-bar-boost, and I'm not sure I'm up for all that work involved in planning and preparing smarter options. My life is stressful enough as it is.

Then again, if I don't like those types of foods anymore, I guess it follows that I won't really miss them and that seeking out the foods that I do crave won't seem like such a chore.


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