Adjusting To Healthy, Real People Diets

My food choices throughout college were largely poor. Many can relate. I went through an uber-healthy thing in high school for about a year, scrutinizing everything and buying 45-calorie slices of bread. I suppose I’ve made up for that, but I probably overcompensated. Grocery store staples for me used to include ramen, marshmallows, candy corn and Poptarts. Tell me the last time someone ingested two delicious, buttery, brown sugar cinnamon Poptarts and thought, “Wow. I feel stupendous, so full and balanced. Let’s go for that run.” No. You feel full of empty regret and temptation to savor another package, successfully topping off your daily calorie intake at 800 before 9 a.m. Poptarts are a tease.

Marshmallows present a similar problem. You know those jumbo-sized marshmallows, the ones equivalent to four marshmallows in one? Awesome. Stick that big guy on a fork and light it on fire. Rather than feeling satiated after eating half a bag, I felt weird. It’s an airy mixture of sugary nausea and a lingering hunger for something substantial, like a loaf of bread. Side note: have you ever microwaved a Peep before? It’s hilarious. Its little marshmallow body explodes into a puff cloud of dreams and sugar and sticky goo all over the inside of your microwave.

I’m retiring the perpetual spoon stuck in my Fluff jar, however. I’m trying to change. I graduated college, I work at a real person’s job and I pay real people bills. I eat Greek yogurt. I eat my Kashi cereal with vanilla soymilk because it’s delightful. Edamame sounds exotic and foreign, so let’s go there. It’s not that I need to lose a lot of college weight; it’s the way co-workers judged me for settling on Ramen and PB & Fluffs for lunch. I make the big girl bucks now (sort of), so show me that organic section, Stop & Shop. I’ve made a lot of progress, but a few college eating habits continue to plague me. For example: drunk eating.

I normally settle on microwavable Stouffer’s French Bread pizza after a night of poisoning myself, but I’m beginning to notice a subtle mental shift in my drunk thought process. A couple weeks ago, I came home from the bar jonesin’ for a snack. I opened the fridge and then it struck me: let’s try some flippin’ spaghetti squash for the first time. I cranked the oven to 450 at 2:00 a.m. and later awoke in my bed with a second-degree burn and buttery, golden strands of spaghetti squash strewn across my bed. I feel better about this than waking up covered in crushed dry Ramen noodles and whatever dipped in hot sauce.

Some days are dark days. I lapse into an off-diet day, or a self-hatred downward food spiral. Any number of things can trigger it, but it’s mostly me just dealing with my emotions, so stop looking at me. I recently had one of those days.

I’d stayed at my parent’s house in Massachusetts the night before. It started when I woke up way too early to drive to my apartment in Connecticut, where I planned on stopping to change. After this hour-long New England adventure, I had to go to work like an adult.  Before hitting the road, I stumbled through my parent’s house and mindlessly ate a handful of candy corn out of spite and because it would make me happy for three seconds. I normally start most mornings off with hearty bowl of Kashi and some vanilla soymilk, like I said, but my parent’s kitchen only offered poop cereal. The handful of wax sugar didn’t satiate me, so I poured myself some honey wheat fiber whatever clusters with 2% milk. My stomach doesn’t do amazing with dairy, so I felt weird almost immediately.

Weird feelings trigger sleepy feelings; naturally, I almost died on the highway. When I wasn’t dozing/accelerating, I spewed forth a stream of obscenities at anyone who drove faster than me because they probably wanted to race me and that’s not safe. I also spent much of the drive debating whether I wanted to vomit or eat toast.

I had to make a purchase at the local pharmacy before work. I needed to make a debit transaction to get cash back, because ATM fees are wack. Rather than buying a pack of gum, I bought a bag of goldfish crackers, which I intended keeping in my purse for a rainy day or something cute like that. Cut to me eating an entire bag of goldfish crackers at work out of boredom. Engagement party for a co-worker with brownies? Yes, please. Put those chocolate fudgey morsels in my mouth so I can ingest them down my gullet.

Later that day, I felt sick, but in an “I give up” kind of way. I brushed past the brownie table one more time on my way to the “bathroom,” but no dice. The brownies were gone. Why continue to eat if I feel like Pudgy the Nauseas Whale? I honestly couldn’t tell you that, Judge Judy. TC mark

image – Neil T

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