Hungry again

I really hate having to count calories in any way, shape, or form. (I think I may need to change my attitude about this.)

Once again, I stared at my weight and realized that the five pounds I had lost were now regained. So once again, I had to return to focusing on what I was eating, how much I was eating, and when I was eating it.

The first time I significantly lost weight was when I used Weigh Down Workshop, which was lovely. I didn’t have to count calories, I just had to pay attention to what my body was telling me about being hungry and being full. Being hungry was never the problem, but stopping when full — a little more challenging. I probably would have stayed with this program when I needed to return, if some peculiarities hadn’t occurred with the woman who founded it, which led to me just not feeling much trust in either her or the program overall.

In the meantime, I had begun to revise my eating habits in connection with my own interest in natural food, locally produced, and made at home. While I am not obsessive about this — I do eat out, I don’t fret too much when I eat at someone else’s house, etc. — nonetheless I do have a primary focus of avoiding processed foods and eating healthy stuff, not limited by the fear-mongering of the media that constantly touts one type of food as being the magic food that will help you lose weight.

Unfortunately, this makes it a little more difficult to work with diets that tell you to eat this food so many times per day, when it is out of season and I am not going to the grocery store to buy it. This approach to cooking and eating actually adds to the difficulty of doing something like Jenny Craig or LA Fitness. Weight Watchers? maybe, maybe not. I may choose to look into it, eventually.

One book that has been interesting and helpful is The Beck Diet by Judith Beck, as well as a blog I very much enjoy that helps me see that the focus doesn’t need to be so much on the calories as it needs to be on the habits. But in the meantime, I am using the food diary/calories to help me be aware of what and how much I am putting in my body.

Overall, let me be clear, I am healthy. I am not carrying so much weight that I look bad or anything, plus I exercise regularly enough to know that I am in fairly good shape, but I am well aware of the fact that I could look and feel better if I carried a bit less weight.

(actual amount to lose? somewhere between 20 and 40 pounds. I’m not quite sure what is my “ideal” weight, so I am uncertain of the actual goal. But let’s start small — five pounds only.)

So this morning I stick with the simple stuff; the calorie count says I have eaten over 400 calories, it’s still two hours until snack time, and what is my problem? I am hungry.

Eating lunch early! But then what do I do when I am hungry tonight? Figuring out the balance is frustrating and confusing to me, so once again I start to wrestle with this problem. Let’s hope I can keep it up.

Exploring new vegetables

For the past few years, I’ve been making an effort to add vegetables into my diet in tasty ways. It’s been a process of exploration, as I figure out ways to cook that I had never tried before and to flavor items that I had no experience with. For example, roasting vegetables of all kinds was a revelation. Suddenly I liked things cooked that I had never liked before.

But there are still challenges.

One thing I’ve definitely learned is that there are still things that I simply do not like. Example: cooked spinach of almost any kind. If I have something with cooked spinach in it, and I can taste the cooked spinach flavor, I really don’t like it. I’ve tried. More than once. The only cooked spinach form I have found acceptable is lightly wilted with flavorings, and even that is just acceptable, not a favorite. If the spinach flavor is buried, though, it’s okay, such as in spinach quiche, where I mainly taste egg and cheese.

But there are other items where it’s just a matter of finding the right way to cook it. Example: beets. Roasting definitely seems like a good choice, though I still need to try steamed. That way I can put flavoring on it that makes the beet flavor palatable. And perhaps even better, eating it with things. Beets don’t seem to work all that well as a standalone dish for me. The beet flavor is too strong, and I’m not wildly enthusiastic. But this past week I roasted some with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper, and ate them mixed together with hamburger and stir-fried squash/zucchini and onions. The beets seemed to work better in the mix, whereas alone they seemed rather unbalanced.

So, tomorrow I head to the farmer’s market, and I may pick up some beets, if they are there. Maybe a roasted vegetable salad? Cauliflower, beets, potatoes, onions… hmm, that is sounding rather good. I just hope they are all in season right now — I think it may be too early or late for some of those. But something else will appear. To me, that is part of the challenge and appeal of buying at the farmer’s market, finding a way to make something with what is there all together.