A few weeks ago I got a new housemate named Jennifer. We didn't know each other before she moved in, but it was fate that brought us together. Well, that and a mutual friend on Facebook! When she came to scope out the house, we just hit it off instantly! She's also in her 40s, smart, funny and just had a great personality to keep up with my spunky little self. I knew she was a good fit right away! I shared with her my weight loss story and she shared her desire to want to lose weight. I suggested that since I really enjoy cooking, I could make the meals and she could reap the benefits of healthier lifestyle. She said, "Uh, hellooooo, of course I want to move in and live with a Wellness Warrior - how cool is that?!"
So far, it's been a win-win! Jennifer moved in weighing 292 lbs. And in just 2 weeks of eating my meals, she's already lost 10 lbs! Jennifer works long hours at a retail store at the mall and had been grabbing the fastest meal: a slice of pizza or 2 and a soda. I told her the deal is that I would make the meals for her to take to work, but that she cannot have pizza anymore. She agreed. So far she has really loved all the food I've made. The only complaint is that I use more garlic than she likes! Sorry! I can't help it! Must be my fear of vampires.
It's been an interesting process making the meals and sharing them with Jennifer. She said to me last night that she used to use a lot of salt before moving in, and now she doesn't. I do use some salt, but not nearly to the levels of a processed meal from a box. Jennifer told me that her taste buds have changed in just a week or 2. That she can actually taste the vegetables MORE now than ever before. I think that's fascinating! I know that is true for myself as well now. If I were to have a few potato chips now, they would be too salty for me to eat. But before, I would have easily wolfed down a few handfuls without any hesitation.
I told Jennifer that in these first few weeks, I was going to focus on getting her to eat different foods rather than putting too much emphasis on portions or even exercise. To me, just getting her to agree to eliminate 3 things from her diet (like I suggested in my previous blog) and rewiring her taste buds would be a great achievement. Once she gets over cravings of salt and sugar than I will scale back portions more and focus on that with her. Then comes the exercise!
To me, food is something to savor and enjoy. I never wanted food to be my enemy on my own path to wellness. Nor did I ever want to be on any kind of planned program that I had to purchase each week. For me, I really enjoy cooking. I love how flavors and textures come together! I really enjoy experimenting. Some readers may really do well with prescribed meal plans and prepared portion control. But for me since I enjoy cooking, I just worked at it on my own. I never had a major food “issue.”
My relationship with food has been fairly consistent my whole life. My problem was in portion size and what types of foods I was eating. It was learned behavior from how I grew up. I remember coming home from college and waking up to the delicious aroma of fresh applewood smoked bacon, my dad's homemade sourdough French toast AND scrambled eggs with American cheese melted in. And if that's not enough, we always had a pastry strudel too. Oh yeah, now that's food for the gods right? Except that by the time I had eaten all that, I my heart was racing because of the sugar in the French toast; my body was in carb shock and I had to go back to bed because I was in overload! If I were to eat even half of that meal now, I know I'd probably feel sick for days. Oh, and then for dinner just a few hours later - my dad's homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes with sweet tea! I was bound to have a bulging belly - we called it the "Matthews Way." But I've broken the tradition! And so have my two nieces Lindsay and Melanie!
For some, food is really truly an addiction. Some folks are closet eaters or binge eaters. I was never really one of those folks. I definitely ate too much at times of stress. For some of you, there may be some very serious underlying medical disorder that needs to be addressed by a professional doctor or therapist to help you. I hope that if you are one of those folks that you seek the help you need. Food is not the enemy. It is here to provide energy and nutrition for us. I will post some of the recipes and photos of Jennifer and I on facebook: bonnie on oz matthews.