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dragonfruit

To Diet Or Not To Diet

dragonfruit

Dragonfruit:  An exotic-looking fruit with a kiwi-esque taste. 

 

There’s a chocolate bar in my lunch bag that’s calling my name.

“Brandee…Bra-andee…”

It’s a King-size bar with real milk chocolate and fluffy nougat. It’ll taste so light and sweet and delicious.

“Brandeeeeee…Braaaaa-andee…”

I’ve already taken it out three times today. Its silver wrapper is so thin, so easy to deconstruct. All it will take is to turn it at the right angle, pinch a corner on one end, and twist, just so.

“Brananandeeee…Braaaaaaaannnnndeeeee!”

I reach down and yank it from my bag. I hold it horizontal before me, turn it at the right angle, pinch a corner on one end, and…

Read the fat content.

Then the sugar content.

Then the total amount of carbohydrates.

Forty seven grams. That’s more than is recommended for one meal.I return the bar to my bag.

 – – –

For the last three weeks, I’ve been eating cake, chips, pounds of bread and candy without blinking an eye. I’ve also been a little under the weather, so I haven’t been exercising the way that I did before I went on vacation in Arizona. Maybe it’s due to slacking off while out of town that has made me slack off even more than usual. For the time, I was able to ignore signs of poor eating.

Then, those pants that always fit loosely…didn’t fit so loosely anymore.

I could see the shape of my thighs through every pair of pants.

And – and why is this blouse having trouble buttoning up?

Dagnabbit.

It was time. Time to return to that which brought me to the dance. Time to reestablish my eating habits from scratch.(Hey, that kinda rhymed.)

It’s times like these that I am very proud of my lineage. My family is analytical by trade, be it in science, art, fashion, music, sales, or the culinary world. We seek efficiency and optimization and premium results. When we want a certain something, we can go for it without letting a single outside source sway our minds.

(What? Why is it taking me so long to finish my novel? Sorry; this posting no speaka writing language! Try back later!)

I confess: I love pastries more than any other food. If they were chock full of vitamins and minerals, I could eat them all day, every day, morning, noon, and night.Of course, some of those pastries would include shepherd’s pie, because I do love my beef. Red meat is beautiful, whether ground into a hamburger or delicately sliced in stirfry.

Yeah, sliced like salmon in sushi! Lightly seared, you can taste the flavors of the sea and every single crustacean placed upon an Asian-inspired plate. The water is a flavored home to a plethora of cuisines – everybody a salad for the food world.

Mmm, salad. Crispy lettuce, crunchy carrots, soft avocado slices and plump, juicy cherry tomatoes bursting as you bite into them. Drizzle them with just a touch of balsamic vinegar or a dollop of ranch dressing, and you’ve got a savory meal.

Ranch dressing? That’s got milk in it, yeah? Ice-cold milk or ice-cold ice cream can really make my day. Sprinkle a little bit of butter or margarine on that bread. Add some cottage cheese to your salad! Cheddar for that hamburger! Yogurt goes in everything!Yeah. I love food.Which is why I hate the word “diet.”

Or maybe, I should say that I hate what most people have done to the word “diet.”

I truly cannot speak towards anyone’s eating preferences. For me, food is a science and an art. It should be studied and cultivated and nurtured. When utilized properly, it is beautiful and rich and full of benefits. When used improperly, it is excessive and ugly and can even be harmful.

When I began to gain more weight than I was comfortable with in college, I found the book The Truth by Frank Sepe. Throughout this part memoir/part fitness book/part nutrition manual, Frank illustrates that it’s never necessary to cut out something entirely from your life. It’s just a matter of matching your intake with your outtake and getting active in life.

Below are just a few tidbits and personal choices that I try to keep in mind whever I dine:  

Remove fruit juices from my diet. Namely, removing the high fructose corn syrup in the juices. This in itself causes an amazing turnaround in my health. I’m at the point now where, if I drink any number of cups of fruit juices over a certain number of days, I not only gain poundage; I gain pimple-age, too. Not a pretty sight.

Know what I’m eating, and how much of what I’m eating. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s amazing how many days in a row a person (okay, me) can have chocolate fudge cake, then look in the mirror one morning and exclaim, “Hey! My stomach’s no longer flat!”

I guess the moral is, if I’m grabbing the cake, I make a note that I could slice it in half or even quarters and still get the same satisfaction. Or, I can wait to buy the cake next week. It’s not like it’s gonna be discontinued any time soon. Sometimes I succeed in talking myself out of it…other times, not so much.

I got RAW.  And no, I’m not talking about something adult-rated or watching wrestling on Monday nights (light chuckle). Nothing is more satisfying than popping a baby carrot in your mouth and hearing that crunch – except for maybe a celery stalk. And now I’m hungry again. Thanks, me.

Cook in bulk.  The only day that I seem to be home for longer than two hours is Sunday, so what really helps me to eat right is cooking large meals and portioning them out for the rest of the week. Some meals are perfect for this:

  • Beans and franks (with rice)
  • Curry beef stew (with rice)
  • Spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and ground beef (…and rice. I loves my rice!)
  • Grilled marinated chicken thighs with a grain and steamed vegetable of choice
  • Grilled tilapia or salmon fillets (see chicken above)
  • Tacos (for less mess at work, crumple the shells over your lettuce and tomatoes to make a taco salad)

I haven’t necessarily tired of any of these, but I think I’m ready to add to my arsenal.

– – –

I know—there’s really no secret to what I do. And goodness knows that I will slip and return to a few weeks’ worth of donuts and pizza soon enough. That’s alright. I’m only going live this life once, and I want to spend at least part of it eating the foods I love.

And with this sappy, fulfilling ending and my second consecutive blog entry in a week, I shall reward myself with sweetness!

That’s right – juicy red grapes for all. 

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