As I’ve gone through the process of making all of these lifestyle changes, I have had to face a reality about myself. I like to eat a lot. I tend to eat too much, I have a hard time stopping when I am full. This has always been my problem, and it is why I ended up 100 pounds overweight. Did I somehow make this behavior go away, is that how I lost the weight? Nope, I didn’t…I am still working on it, still working on listening to my body’s cues, eating slower, putting my fork down between bites, all those things I’m sure everyone knows you are supposed to be doing. So, how did I lose the weight if I haven’t yet got a handle on overeating?
I eat a ridiculous amount of vegetables. I eat huge platefuls of vegetables as part of my lunch, and I cook so much vegetables for dinner that it probably looks like it could serve 6 full grown adults. I control portions of all the other types of food I eat (more on this in the next tip), and I fill up on vegetables. I fill half my plate with vegetables for my first serving, and if I need to eat more after that I only take more vegetables. I save the leftovers (if there are any) from dinner to use in other meals. I eat vegetables or fruit (though only 2-3 servings per day of fruit) with every meal and snack.
If this doesn’t sound that appetizing to you, consider finding different ways of cooking your vegetables. I love almost any vegetable grilled with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. You can saute or roast–a lot of people’s favorite–your vegetables. Try lots of different kinds of vegetables to find the ones you like the most. Search for interesting sounding recipes. When I first started, I usually had my raw veggies with some kind of dip–hummus or something made with nonfat Greek yogurt–but as my palate has changed from eating less processed foods, I’ve come to appreciate the taste of fresh vegetables more, especially in the summer. Don’t be afraid to use olive oil, it is good for you and the amount you will use to cook up a batch of veggies is not that much when it is spread out over the whole batch. Unless you have high blood pressure, don’t be afraid to be liberal with the salt. Especially if you are eating less processed food, the amount that you will use to make your veggies taste great is so much less than was in the processed foods you used to eat.
Add veggies to other dishes: chilis, pasta sauce, taco filling, pile it on pizzas (just use a very thin crust), stop using a top bun or piece of bread and have your sandwich open faced with a pile of veggies on top. Eat a giant salad before dinner, just make your own dressing with olive oil and vinegar, maybe a bit of mustard. If you like soup, make a big batch of veggie soup and freeze it, and eat that before your meals to fill up a bit. You can still eat the non-veggie foods you love, just eat them in smaller quantities.
I will continue to try to listen to my body better, and stop eating when I am satisfied. I still find it hard to eat healthy in restaurants, because not only do they not serve the veggies in ridiculous quantities, they are often cooked in loads of butter or sauce. I am also challenged when I go to a friend’s house for dinner, or to a party. It may always be a struggle for me all my life.
Maybe overeating is not your issue and you don’t need ridiculous amounts of veggies like I do. No matter what, it is good advice to eat a variety of vegetables each and every day. Have fun with it, experiment, and eat more veggies!