Eating to Live/Living to Eat

This week’s newspaper column:

I have fallen off the wagon. Though I must admit, at best my perch was pretty precarious. I ate two toaster strudels this morning (yes, with the icing) for breakfast. I am saved somewhat by the fact that at least I had a glass of 1% milk with them—so I upped my Vitamin D. I have been a bit fastidious of late concerning my sugar intake, having given up my usual three teaspoons in my morning coffee. I no longer enjoy coffee and while I still partake of one in the morning (it is rumoured to ward off Alzheimer’s) it is no longer a warm and cozy sweet treat. I have tried it with just a splash of milk. With stevia. With sweetener. But nothing replaces sugar for taste.

Last September I gave up sugar in my coffee. Perhaps if I had been satisfied with two teaspoons I would not have been so adamant about giving it up. But to make coffee palatable to my somewhat unsophisticated taste buds, I need three, and that seems excessive even to me. And anyway I was a few pounds over my self-set limit. As a young woman I was considered “skinny” which in itself is not all that attractive, but I had come to delude myself that I was still a “thin” person. Until I got on the scales. They told a different story.

even a cup of coffee is not safe anymore

It was a picture my sister took of me on the dock of her cottage in Quebec that convinced me that I needed to shed a few pounds. I have a full length mirror—-but use it as an accent piece in my living room. It lives behind a green velvet slipper chair, which I tend not to move. So I guess I was not aware that I was, well to put it kindly, kind of dumpy looking.

I aspire to accepting my body for what it is, but a little tweaking (not insufferable twerking—although that could be counted as exercise I guess) was all I really needed to get down to a weight I am more comfortable with. And now that I have lost a little weight I find that I am no longer stumping down stairs on slightly chubby legs but descending them with a lighter step. I will never be the picture of elegance (except in my mind) but taking a bit of pressure off my knees was a good thing. And I fit into my jeans a little more easily now—the stuffed sausage look I hope a thing of the past.

I am not totally diligent in watching every mouthful I eat, and I tend to treat myself to sweets a bit more on weekends (at the suggestion of my sister who also follows this “diet”). In making the decision to eat the toaster strudels this morning I told myself that if the sugar content was over 12% (I was giving myself a lot of leeway here) I would put them back in the freezer. Much to my delight the sugar content was only (I know, I know) 9 percent in each 180 calorie patisserie. Bonus! And they have a little tiny bit of fibre, and hey—some iron. I just ignored the saturated fat. Sugar was also not one of the first three ingredients (okay it was the fifth) after glucose-fructose and before dextrose and corn syrup, which of course are all sugars – but darn it, those two little pastries were good.

Despite my fall from grace today, I am finding that eating better translates into feeling better. But feeling better does not include denying myself all of my old habits—I still partake but much more moderately, coming somewhat late to the philosophy of “everything in moderation”. I realize that my metabolism has now slowed down to a snail’s pace rather than that of the energizer bunny, and have to take that into account when I eat.

I would like to adhere to the “eating to live” rather than the “living to eat” school of thought, but I am going to content myself with taking a few courses from each of their curriculums. I enjoy eating. I enjoy reading about food. I enjoy watching the Food Channel. I sometimes enjoy cooking (something I would enjoy a lot more if there were no clean-up). Food is one of the glorious things that this life has to offer—but a little restraint, a little portion control, and no sugar in my coffee are all things I find pretty easy to follow (most of the time).

I do drink more tea now. I do not need sugar or milk to make it more palatable. But I find I enjoy it much more in a social setting. Anyone want to join me for tea?

Published in: on March 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm  Comments (30)  

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30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Be there in a minute, no sugar, just a splash of milk for me. Once in awhile it’s fun to indulge a bit, my guilty pleasure is butter tarts and at Christmas, mincemeat tarts……so good!

    • I love mincemeat tarts topped with vanilla ice cream and the carmel sauce mom used to make for Christmas Pudding–your salted carmel topping would be sinful with this

  2. I too need to shed a ‘more than a few pounds’. I have lost about 7 just because of having to eat mostly liquid or soft foods for the past month… I would love to shed 10 pounds.. won’t make me skinny but more comfortable…. I’ll for sure join you for tea….Diane

    • I think I should have a blog tea party soon–what do you think? You will be on my invitee list for sure

  3. I am wondering if there are very many women (or men) alive that don’t want to shed a few pounds. Enjoying your philosophy of *moderation*. Like you, I am trying to eat healthy and not over-indulge, but it feels wrong to entirely exclude coffee creamer or a glass of wine when required. 😉 Keep up the good work!

    • I mean the good work of fitting better in your clothes. Not of falling off the wagon. LOL!

      • unless of course I fall on my head–might knock some sense into me!

  4. I think we are all in the same boat – loving our treats but not loving what the years have done to our bodies. I, too, have been cutting back and have lost 10 pounds, but I still have a ways to go. I am not eliminating anything totally from my diet, but I am limiting the number of calories I take in during the day. My problem is that the only hot drink I like is hot chocolate, and those yummy Timmies hot chocolates are really high in calories!! That’s ok, as long as we make progress, bo matter how slow it is, that’s all that matters. I’ll be over for a low fat hot chocolate if you can find one :).

  5. I’ll join you for tea! And congratulations on achieving a goal

  6. I acquired a taste for tea over the last two years. I’ll put a little honey and lemon in it. I like ginger tea. I too use fat free creamer in my coffee with Stevia. I think sugar (too much) is the culprit for a lot of health issues. But I do treat myself to a treat, as you do. Life is to be lived and that living includes these beautiful works of art we refer to as desserts every once in awhile. In moderation, right?

    • I guess moderation is my new mantra–not that I have ever been an over-eater–I am just trying to eat better–I like how yuou describe dessert–a work of art–and I agree totally!

  7. I’ll bring the rooibos! Years ago, I read Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. An eye-opener. Since I do enjoy eating, I strive to make my choices consciously and then enjoy them. The conscious part doesn’t always happen, lol xoxoM

  8. You are a far stronger woman than I, LouAnn. I could never forgo sugar in my coffee. I cut the sugar but I still need a little. Kudos on your will power and shedding the lbs!!

  9. I have started watching my eating habits as well. I always seem to forget how much better I feel when I avoid anything processed. I love to cook too, but now I am using more spices to add flavor and lots of veggies, which I love. I spend Sunday nights making salads in a jar for the whole week of lunches as well as refrigerator oatmeal for breakfasts. I find if it is already made, I don’t have the option to make a bad choice. At least I know now that I have someone going through the same thing if I need a kick in the ass!!

  10. I find myself laying in bed at night giving myself a slap about the body for eating certain food but when I get up the next morning it doesn’t stop me eating those same foods

  11. I give up on trying to lose weight. I’m healthy. That’s all that matters. Life is too short to live miserably. All things in moderation is right.

  12. I’ve got some loose leaf black tea I brought back from London so I’ll bring some of that.
    I think no matter what age, gender, or culture you’re from, most everyone is looking to shed some pounds. Carbs are my enemy but I’ve switched to eating mostly the whole wheat type so I don’t feel too bad. I tend to indulge when I’m out with family or friends because nothing says party pooper more than declaring, “I can’t eat that, I’m on a diet” when you’re supposed to be out having a good time.

  13. I’d love to join you for a cup of tea! I’ve given up coffee too as I find it very hard on my stomach but I do crave that sweet, warm cup once in awhile.

  14. I have always been a tea drinker and love my green tea. But I also love the variety of flavors. As far as toaster strudels go I love the blueberry ones! When I indulge, I try to heat up only one and eat it very slowly. Sometimes I go crazy and have two! Life is too short to not indulge a little bit!

    • I agree we have to indulge a bit–I love the mixed berry strudels and I love all the varieties of teas–right now I love one called Warmth–has cinnamon and other stuff in it

  15. I’m with you on watching what I eat — kinda’ 😉
    I have to watch my dairy intake. It wasn’t easy at first. But – now it’s not so bad. Once in a while though…
    And – I do like tea more than coffee. So – pinkies up!

  16. Congratulations on achieving a goal. I would love to join you for tea, but would you mind if joined with freshly squeezed lemon and freshly grated ginger in hot water? It’s become my morning go too, the last few months,as it culls my sweet tooth somewhat 🙂

    • I like the sounds of your morning go-to–anything that keeps a sweet tooth in check is good in my books!

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