Picky Eating Is a Good Thing

Most of us have a lot of events to attend during the year. Even someone like me, who doesn't work outside the home, is invited to weddings, showers, meetings, meals with friends and more.

Most of us have a lot of events to attend during the year. Even someone like me, who doesn't work outside the home, is invited to weddings, showers, meetings, meals with friends and more.

I've been to my share of events where food was a part of the function. Most recently, I attended a committee meeting for a Wellness Walk in our city. When I got to the meeting location, there were boxed lunches sitting on a table. The choices were sandwiches with luncheon meat, chips, and cookies or a salad. I chose the salad, thinking that would be healthier than the sandwiches, but was quickly sorry I did.

I opened up the salad box and there was iceberg lettuce with lots of ham, turkey, bacon, boiled egg, and onions on top of the lettuce. I am a bit picky, so I knew I wasn't going to eat much of that salad. I don't eat lunch meat at all, so that was out. I don't eat pork, so the bacon was out. That left the egg, the onions, and the iceberg lettuce. Using my fork, I started pushing aside the stuff I didn't want to eat. The bacon was all throughout the whole salad so I had a hard time! I felt someone looking at me.

The gentleman sitting next to me said, "I see you are trying to get to the healthier things." I laughed and explained that I was a picky eater. He then said, "I wonder if that has served you well during these years of maintenance." I agreed that it most likely had.

I've always been a picky eater. When I was young, I probably drove my mom crazy with the phrase, "I don't like that." As I got older, I was still picky. I didn't like most vegetables, but loved french fries! I liked lots of salad dressing, mayonnaise, and sugar with my foods. I loved all desserts but not many healthy main dishes. So I was picky in a bad way. Once I began to change my lifestyle, I had to learn to like those foods that I thought I didn't like, and stop eating so much of the foods I thought I loved.

It was hard to reverse the pattern. I didn't really want to make fruit salad without adding 1/2 cup of sugar. But over time, I learned that the taste of fruit was good just by itself! I weaned myself off drenching my salad in high fat dressings and switched to vinegars or nothing. I stopped eating fried food and figured out ways to make baked and grilled foods tasty and not dry.

I reversed my picky tendencies from unhealthy to healthy and I'm so glad I did. Now I'm picky about wasting my calories on "treats." If it's not really good, I pass completely. I'm picky about food at events and functions and if I don't want to eat it I don't, or just push it around on my plate. I've found that very few people pay attention to what the people around them eat - thank goodness! I'd encourage you to be picky about your food in a healthy way!

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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