Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Observations of the Eating Habits of Fit People in the Wild

Since beginning my fast in early January, I've had a lot of time on my hands to watch people eat.  I've sat with people at restaurants, happy hours, family gatherings and house dinner parties.  It has been very interesting to observe what and how "normal" weight people eat.  Here are a few observations:

  • My friends who do not have weight problems seem to eat little snacks throughout the day, and do not particularly eat large portions at a meal.  One of my colleagues whips out hummus and veggies at 10am, or eats some sort of small snack in the morning.  She then has lunch and fruit for a snack later.
  • They bring water bottles with them EVERYWHERE and drink water all day
  • The healthy eaters are making healthy choices most of the time.  I watch what they bring in for lunch, and many times it is a salad.  Sometimes, it is a healthy leftover from dinner.  They aren't angels -- I've been with them at happy hour, and they eat cheese and meat and more decadent   choices - but they are small portions.
  • Many of my colleagues shy away from refined carbohydrates, and tend to go with meat and vegetable choices.  They leave most of the rice on their plates.  I can understand this as the arguments against simple carbohydrates become more mainstream.
  • They are not compelled to eat what is in front of them - such as a basket of chips, an appetizer or cookies
Happy, healthy choices.
As someone with a food addiction, I can see where I might have a difficult time with adopting some of these lifestyle habits, while others I feel are completely within reason.  Here's what I think I can do, with some practice:
  • Optifast (and Medifast for that matter) taught me the wisdom of eating every three hours.  I feel terrific with this steady level of blood sugar.  I will have to see what will be best for the between-meal snacks -- perhaps a protein shake or other protein-rich snack.  Personally, I think I will avoid anything with sugar or carbohydrates as I know that it has a biochemical affect on me and often leads to cravings.  I'm going to have to test fruit with this in mind.
  • I love my water bottles now, and I don't see myself changing that habit!
  • I will aim to eat well 90% of the time, and record my meals on MyFitnessPal.  Given my past tendency to eat mindlessly, I think that logging foods will keep me accountable, and even when I splurge on wine or something special to eat, I will have evidence of my regular good choices, and will be less likely to "fall off the wagon" with a bad bout of eating too much of the wrong things
  • I will keep the mental image of myself as a thinner person saying "no" when I want to grab one more stuffed mushroom or tortilla chip (didn't I agree to give chips up anyway??)  I admire my friends who can chat away without thinking about the food in front of them.  I have become one of those people now that I'm on Optifast.  I would love to continue to be able to do this when I resume eating, but it may be a struggle based on past experience.  At least I've proven to myself that I'm capable of making healthy choices and pushing back on my cravings - yay Optifast program!  
  • Given the huge portion sizes served in the United States, I will count on only eating half of what is served to me in a restaurant and taking the rest home.  Some people ask the waiter for smaller portions when they order.  I don't know anyone who has actually tried this.  Have any of you ever done this?
  • I've given a lot of thought to the way I'd like to eat when I return to food.  My verdict is that a diet low in simple carbohydrates will probably make me feel better and lead to fewer cravings.
A girl has to do something while she sits around sipping her tea!  Even though I dearly miss the social experience of eating, I'm still content with drinking shakes and watching my body shrink.  I have a long way to go, but hopefully when the time comes to eat, I will be stronger for having had this prolonged experience without eating solid food and observing and learning from the habits of the healthy.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

It's so interesting to see what healthy people do for food. I have a friend that is able to take just a sliver of dessert and says it satisfies her. To me, these people have been someone I've wanted to emulate, but just couldn't figure out how to do that. Great ideas for continuing to incorporate healthy choices after you're done with Optifast. You're doing great!