Yesterday I said I’d provide the name of the book and author I mentioned. The book is In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, and it was written by Michael Pollan. He also wrote the bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and several other books. His main interest seems to be food. Also, I misquoted him. He said “Eat food,” not “Eat real food.” I added “real” for clarity.
OK, here are some questions that you might have about my eating program.
Why do you need to eat several times a day? Isn’t that fattening?
Not if the meals are small. The point is to keep from getting too hungry. At the first twinge of a hunger pang, go eat something. If you’re hungry again two hours later, have another snack. If you wait too long and get really hungry, you’re going to pig out on whatever you can find. I’ve always been a grazer, so eating several times a day came naturally to me.
Yes, but what about going to restaurants?
One really nice thing about my “diet” is that I can go out to lunch occasionally and eat pretty much anything I want. If I had to stop eating Mexican food, I’d shoot myself. Just set down your fork when you’re satisfied. And try to eat out at lunchtime, so you have the rest of the day to burn it off. If your job requires you to eat at restaurants more often than once a week, choose sensible meals. I don’t need to tell you what they are. Grilled instead of fried, green beans instead of loaded baked potato, blah blah. Or just a salad with dressing on the side. Avoid croutons, bacon bits, crackers, and other junky add-ons.
Yes, but what about cooking dinner for my family?
Go ahead and cook dinner for your family. Just don’t eat it. Dine on your plant food. If you must, have a few token forkfuls of the dinner you cooked. If it’s something you really like, save a portion for yourself to eat for lunch the following day.
Yes, but what about at the office?
Bring your lunch and snacks, if you can. To head off random hunger attacks, keep a stash of almonds in your desk. It’s easy to nibble unobtrusively on almonds. Or peanuts or unbuttered popcorn, things like that. Fresh fruit is good but not recommended to eat at your desk. Sooner or later you will get juice or bits of food on Very Important Papers. I know. I’ve done it.
Yes, but what about my sweet tooth? (or craving for salty snacks, pizza, pork rinds, whatever)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I got out of the habit of eating sweets, I didn’t crave them anymore. This is true of any other food you think you can’t live without. If you really must have some chocolate ice cream, go buy a one-dip serving of it, sit down, and savor it. Just don’t go to the store and buy a half gallon of it.
Yes, but what about alcoholic beverages?
I often have a glass of wine in the evening. A mixed drink, including, alas, a margarita, contains more calories than a beer or a glass of wine. At parties, assuming you don’t party every night, have two or three drinks. If you need more than that, then you have an altogether different problem that’s too big to address here.
Yes, but how do I keep motivated?
It’s very motivating when the pounds start to melt off. It may take awhile for your body to let go of that extra weight it has gotten comfortable with. Then one day you’ll find you’ve lost a couple of pounds. Then another. Your pants fit better. You look and feel better. You have more energy. People notice the difference. That’s motivating.
The most important thing is persistence. If you go berserk and eat an entire batch of brownies (I’ve done that, too), just climb right back on the wagon and carry on.