Rants, Rules & Recipes

An Effort to End Nutritional Ignorance

RANT: I Have a Problem, People!

Friends who’ve known me since high school and have seen me in action, often joke when I arrive at a party, “Hide the furniture, or Maddy will eat it!”

So, having reported my propensity to inhale all things edible, I must reveal, that I’m not obese. Nor am I overweight (most of the time). A fluctuater yes, pudgy, yes, but I’m very active and somehow, despite the colossal intake most days of the week, I have kept a fairly healthy weight. Probably because I enjoy exercise. Thank all things holy for that.

But because I’m fit, when I have sought help with my eating compulsions (once through a anthropomorphologist and once through a counselor, both of whom, interestingly, were severely overweight), they seemed to think my problem, given my athletic appearance, was my concern about my food intake.  My “problem” was that I thought that I had a problem.  The more I tried to explain I’m not anorexic or a work out fanatic– because I happened to have ridden my bike here and may go to a yoga class afterward–the more suspicious I sounded.

My problem is not that I’m not yet obese and I’m seeking help to prevent that outcome.  The problem is no one thinks I have a problem.  So how do I improve?  Yes, I’m 15 pounds heavier than my wedding day and could definitely look better in a bikini, but more importantly, I’m in my 30s and I have high cholesterol.  And can’t stop over-eating.

My father, not overweight, survived a heart attack in his 50s. His doctors kept telling him he was in good shape and not to worry.

My mother, who weighs a buck-o-five and ran marathons, has high cholesterol, and had a heart attack at age 55.

I’d like to prevent their outcomes.

[For those of you living under the American-food-is-good-for-you rock: cheese, butter, mayo, fried food, fast food, chocolate, ice cream, and red meat are high in cholesterol. All fast foods and processed foods cause inflammation. Why do we care? Because high cholesterol and inflammation = clogged arteries = heart attacks]

So, I’ve never had a heart attack, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want one.

Knowing the above facts

1. parents with heart attack history puts me at risk

2. having high cholesterol puts me at risk and

3. cheese and ice cream have high cholesterol, processed foods cause heart disease

the obvious jump would be to eliminate cheese, fried food, ice cream from my diet…that would really make me the “fittest”, in Darwinian terms, right?  Yet I can’t seem to. And I REALLY try not to use the word “can’t” (this should be a rule for everyone BTW, but that’s a whole ‘nother self help section).  The more I restrict a food, the more likely I am to eat it.

That is UNTIL! I learned once I gave my body REAL FOODS and crowded out the bad stuff, my cravings would subside.  I eat Sweet potatoes during the day and have fewer sweet cravings at night.  I always start lunch or dinner with a salad (and preservative free dressing) and then eat a something else if I’m still hungry.

Instead of restricting, I select things I know to be good for my body.  After getting in 90 ounces of water, 2 cups of tea, and 5 fruits and vegetables, each day, I’ve little room for the bad stuff.  The junk I used to crave (and inhale) has slowly been “crowded out” and replaced by whole foods that I now love.  And I feel amazing!

(But I’m still not 100% sure what the stuff on the right side of that photo is? sugar bread and …frozen chocolate dessert? starfish? lamb lungs?)

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