(Richard Goodman, April 2016)
A few years ago, I was dieting and lost a decent amount of weight. During this period, a couple of friends said “Don’t lose too much weight!“ This made me laugh since I’ve never worried about being too skinny before and I don’t imagine anorexia will be an issue for me at any point in the future. In fact I’ve unfortunately gained back a lot of the weight I lost and the reasons for why that happened are why I will never worry about losing too much weight if I ever diet again. Here are ten reasons why this will not be a concern.
1) Dark chocolate- If I had to, I could resist milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is a different matter though. Something about the slight taste of bitter enhances the sweetness of the confection and I’m powerless to resist it. It can be a basic square of chocolate or something that has been dipped, coated, smothered or infused with dark chocolate and I’ll happily ingest it.
2) Ice cream- People have been making great things with staples like milk, eggs and sugar for centuries. Ice cream is one of the big successes to come from those culinary experiments. There are hundreds of different flavors, and then you throw in fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc… and you have an irresistible treat. From plain vanilla to Americone Dream, from the Neapolitan flavors all kids debated to luxurious Dove Dark Chocolate covered bars, ice cream is a comfort food essential.
3) Bread- plenty of people here have done their variation of the Forrest-Gump-shrimp-speech for bread and I’m in total agreement with them- fresh from the oven, toasted and buttered, turned into French Toast, dipped in oil as an appetizer, turned into pretzels, used for grilled cheese sandwiches and so forth. It is good any way and almost any style but there is such a thing as bad bread (for example if it is soggy, mealy, undercooked, processed, rosemary infused, etc…) so don’t waste calories on anything less than excellent bread..
4) …and speaking of (grilled) cheese, I could live off of just bread and cheese. It wouldn’t be the healthiest thing for me but it would be delicious. Some days for supper I’m happy to just snack on Edam cheese and smoked Gouda Triscuits. I love all the standard cheeses- Gouda, Edam, Havarti, Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Asiago although I’m not a fan of the runny Brie-ish or smelly cheeses. Cheese makes everything better.
5) Processed sugar- I have a sweet tooth and have to stop myself from picking up my favorites whenever I see them. Temptations include Red Vines Family Mix bags; Take 5 candy bars on Halloween clearance; Whatchamacallit bars from in 7-11; gummi anything- bears, sharks, rats, worms, frogs, Ferrari race cars; Cadbury Mini-Eggs; Swedish-style marshmallow (Skum) like Bilar cars. And then if I can resist all those, there are M&M's. I adore them, every kind. Yes, even the crispy, peanut butter, pretzel and almond M&M’s. All of them. Sugar addiction is the closest I come to experiencing something like alcoholism. I just can’t quit it.
6) Steak & shrimp & crab- Yes, these are a bit better for me then processed sugar or bread but portion control is the issue here. I feel like I could almost eat my weight in shrimp and steak. If I go to Outback, I laugh when they ask if I want the 6, 9 or 12 ounce steak. How about putting an 18 ounce steak on the menu?
7) French fries & chips- I can do without potatoes if I put my mind to it, but every now and then I just really want some shoestring fries and ketchup. Or crispy kettle-style jalapeno flavored potato chips. A touch of a salt, a potato flavor and a crunchy mouth-feel is what I’m looking for. Although the occasional steak fries smothered in cheese or a baked potato with butter is nice too. Lots of empty calories and the excess salt isn’t very beneficial either.
8) Pasta with Alfredo sauce- I enjoy pasta with white sauce, butter or cheese sauce. With a red sauce, I can take it or leave it and if it is cold, like pasta salad, I just skip it. Doesn’t matter what type of pasta though- spaghetti, cannelloni, bow tie, elbow, shells, it is all good. This is something I eat until the plate is clean which is unfortunate since pasta is fairly cheap so serving sizes are usually generous. When I was at Noodles and Company last week, I opted for the small size since I wasn’t sure I could keep from eating all of the large size in one sitting. I still ended up taking some of the small size home so good for me!
9) Pizza- Since I love bread, cheese, and meat I of course have to love pizza. I really like white sauce pizza but red sauce and BBQ sauce are also good. It’s hard to make bad pizza if you start with good crust (bread). I only have it once a month or so but in just one slice there are so so so many calories and since I don’t live in New York, it is hard to find places that will serve by the slice.
10) Chocolate chip cookies- Do I even have to discuss this one? You can debate whether chewy or crispy is better or how many chips should ideally be in the cookie or what a real-life serving size is, but everyone has loved chocolate chip cookies since they were a kid. If that wasn’t bad enough, some evil genius decided to add M&M’s to the chocolate chip cookie. M&M’s in a chocolate chip cookie! What a sick, twisted, delicious idea. I want one right now!
An honorable mention has to go to Vegetables & fruits, by the way. I love fruits and veggies too, but I don’t eat as much of them as I should because unfortunately the things that are best for you are more costly than the things that are bad for you. I can get a tub of 36 cookies for $3 but a pint of raspberries out of season will cost at least $5. Plus, fruits and veggies have their own issues. Bananas can go bad within two days, Brussels Sprouts need a dose of butter to taste really good, salad ingredients need to be mixed fresh- you can’t really stockpile salads for a week at a time, I put too much butter on my broccoli and add cheese to a baked potato, and some restaurants don’t have good lowfat salad dressings. Even if I’m eating things raw, having six big Navel oranges in a sitting isn’t a great idea since they contain natural sugars and citric acid.
So you see, temptation is everywhere. I have no fear of anorexia but rather of that sneaky cousin- obesity. I know I have to use discipline and consume things in moderation to avoid both of these extremes but if it was easy, it wouldn’t require discipline. It’s cheese, and bread, and shrimp and M&M’s- they take lots of willpower! For the record, if anyone ever thinks I’m getting too skinny, just wave a grilled cheese sandwich in front of my face and then offer me some Red Vines. That will get me back to normal in a jiffy.