Posted on 16 Comments

Mending my junk food junkie ways

Trying to improve our diet

I don’t think I mentioned the change in my diet here yet.  A few weeks ago, Neil‘s doctor recommended he try the South Beach Diet to get his triglycerides under control.  I decided to join him for a few reasons:

  1. It’s easier to plan our meals if both of us are under the same restrictions
  2. It might be easier for him to stick with it if he had a partner in crime
  3. If that already-slim spouse of mine ended up losing weight while I sat here wishing my extra 20 lbs would just magically vanish, it would probably depress me greatly

So, we started with phase one, which was pretty strict, and required we stick to lean meats and green vegetables for the most part.  This wasn’t terribly difficult for Neil, who eats out of biological necessity, but it was near torture at times for me, who is an emotional eater, if ever there was one.  More than once I found myself pining away for my regular afternoon snack of pretzel sticks and Dr. Pepper.  Or wishing I could just have a big bowl of spaghetti.  Don’t get me started about bagels, either.

With perserverence, though, we made it through the two phase one weeks, and as of today are embarking on phase two.  Glorious phase two, where we can slowly begin introducing fruits and breads back into our lives.  I won’t lie: I have spent the last three days gleefully imagining going back to my happy afternoon carb-fest.  After all, as long as I avoid breads and pastas most of the day, it wouldn’t be a problem to have a starch-heavy snack.  Right?

Maybe not.  Last night I did some research so I could make my food shopping list for this week, and although I’d read it before, it finally sunk in: the diet is not about being low carb so much as it’s about being good carb.  That means no foods made with enriched flour. It’s whole grains, or it’s nothing at all.  Ouch.

I am starting to wish that I’d eaten better as a child.  Not that my parents didn’t try to ply me with vegetables, but if I could have lived on hot dogs, french fries and cans of coke, I would have.  My taste for whatever my mother was serving was inversely proportional to how much time it took her to make it.  I hated, hated those Sunday dinners of pot roast and three different kinds of vegetables.  But burger night?  Or Friday fish and chips?  Yummy.

Trying to improve our diet

So now I have a lifetime of bad eating habits to overcome, and it’s not just a weight loss issue, although the desire to slim down is certainly a factor.  No, it’s more about the fact that the stuff I like just isn’t good for me.  And I’m realizing it more than ever.  I’m also realizing that I have to help my kids develop a taste for the good stuff, too, or they will be in exactly the same boat I am when they are older.

Does all of this mean I will never snack on a bag of Nutzels again?  Um, no.  (In fact, I suspect a small handful is in my immediate future…) But it does mean that I am going to read more labels and make better choices wherever possible.  This is not going to be easy in a house full of picky eaters, with a chef who is essentially lazy 4 out of 7 nights of the week, but I’m thinking that if we keep at it, eventually a whole-grain lifestyle is just going to come naturally.  I hope.

Posted on 16 Comments

16 thoughts on “Mending my junk food junkie ways

  1. Hang in there. It is hard changing your habits in the beginning but it *will* get easier. Reading labels is a good thing to do any way. Looks like you picked up some great stuff. I love eating like that.

    1. I’m learning all about what things shouldn’t be in the things we eat. It’s depressing and exciting all at the same time, LOL! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  2. My mom is an emotional eater bred from a British mom who’s many talents did not include cooking.

    I learned to cook early out of self-defense and I was never that picky. My kid, thankfully, is pretty happy to try things in a variety and while she likes her super-refined-sugar-coated stuff she’ll eat salads with me and lean meat and only occasionally mentions that her friends sandwiches have white bread and no seeds on them…

    We compromise by buying small quantities of junk food only. One bottle of pop or one bag of chips or one small box of snack crackers… that sort of thing. I find I am much less likely to eat junk if I have to get my shoes, jacket, purse and walk to the store.

    And since I am a lazy cook, we have a LOT of salads lol.

    1. I wish we weren’t picky, but all four of us are, to some extent. My repertoire is much more varied as an adult than it was as a child, thank goodness, but salads have always bored me. Until recently, anyway, when I realized I could put interesting things in them like a small handful of pine nuts and some crumbled turkey bacon.

      It’s funny you should call salad-making lazy. Yesterday I was more than ready to rebel against yet more vegetable chopping. My version of lazy cooking involves a bag of frozen chicken fingers and a bag of frozen french fries dumped on a tray and baked.

      That may be why we are in this predicament, come to think of it 😀

      1. I call salad making lazy because the bags of pre washed salad and those other insanely over priced but useful conveniences are staples. I don’t have any chicken fingers and fries right now (we do sometimes but not often)

        The picky thing is fine in the little guys really – just as long as they’re TRYING stuff regularly and you guys aren’t letting them have whole other meals instead of what the family eats. If there’s only 3 veggies they’ll eat… make them often. The other reason we have a lot of salads is because Chloe hates COOKED veggies.

        See what Elaine has been blogging about: Bowl Goals: What’s New Here

        1. Ah, but I *have* been making them entirely different meals from time to time. Usually I try to overlap what we’re having in *some* way, but often they end up with big differences on their plates. It’s a habit I am gradually working on stopping.

          I’m with Chloe. Cooked vegetables = yuck

  3. Sounds like you know what you need to do and I’m sure with the help of your dh and for the sake of family health you’ll manage to achieve it. It’s not easy, I know, I still battle almost daily with food. Luckily for me I do like the healthy stuff – I just like the junk stuff too :-).


  4. i’m in the same boat with weight watchers. i’m eagerly awaiting my blood test results to see if the triglycerides and cholesterol have come down in the year i’ve been dieting.

    See what gerri has been blogging about: making polymer clay awls

  5. I am a South Beach expert. I have followed it for about 5 years. I gained 40+ pounds while pregnant with my daughter and lost all of it within 4 months. I actually am thinner now than before I had her. I don’t mean that in a bragging fashion other than to say it works when followed correctly. Now I don’t have to be nearly as vigilant. It truly gets easier and becomes a way of life.

    1. That’s good to know!

  6. Try being allergic to 75% of what America eats. Guaranteed to lose weight! In fact, I can get pretty hungry if I don’t plan ahead. Good luck in your quest for healthier eating.

  7. Lisa,
    Believe me, you will do fine. My dad “became” gluten intolerant about 3 years ago. My parents had to live with me for a few months until my dad was healthy enough to go home… My daughters (16 and 13) now prefer gluten free pancakes and cookies! You don’t know until you try. And the gluten free crackers are awesome… Just because you “have to” doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and share it with the kids. You’ll be surprised what you end up preferring to the “old” stuff!!
    GOOD LUCK!!!!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. […] I’ve been shopping for some healthy convenience foods to bring with us, so we don’t have to have every meal on the boardwalk, […]

  9. Hi there i feel your pain i love all the bad stuff too and as a family we are try to eat more healthy meals.
    Things i`ve found really useful are making healthy swops, change white noodles for whole-meal etc, white rice for brown rice etc.
    I love cooking with fresh herbs it makes a huge difference and gives a huge flavour boost.
    Also invest in a good stock powder or liquid, it can make a world of difference to casseroles,soups etc.
    Try fresh/frozen fruit smoothies as a way of getting more fruit in your diet.
    And the best advice i can give which i find so useful is buy a slow cooker (i think you guys call them crock pots in the us?)
    One of the times i`m most likely to dial for a takeaway is after a busy day, but if you get up and put a meal in the slow cooker in the morning it can be cooking all day even if your at work and you can return to a healthy meal.
    Good luck

    1. Thanks for the tips. In the few years since I wrote this post, I’ve gotten a lot better at reading labels and avoiding some of the glaringly bad things. And I do use my slow-cooker a lot, and I make smoothies, too. We’re still not as good at all of this as we should be, but that may be more a factor of laziness than anything else. It’s a shame that junk food is so much easier to prepare and consume than healthy food is!

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