Counterconspiracy · 4 September 2012
Day 8: September 3, 2012
For every conspiracy, there must be a counterconspiracy. (For a God conspiracy, you might think that thoughts like, “The devil made me do it,” would be in order, but that kind of thinking gives the enemy too much credit and control. Those thoughts also place blame and give away responsibility, which go against my way of living.) In my case, the counterconspiracy has taken several different forms. So far, none of them have derailed my efforts.
I have told a few of my coworkers about my efforts to become healthy. No, I was not shamelessly promoting myself. At least not completely. In one case, I was asking our resident vegetarian expert, Andie, about recipes and such. She was excited about my journey and was happy to gather some recipes and give me some book titles (which I will share). We talked about how being vegetarian or vegan is a lifestyle and not just an eating choice. And of course, she mentioned my sweet tooth.
In reality, I do not have a sweet tooth as much as a seemingly insatiable appetite. I have written about being a Human Garbage Disposal (HGD) on my MediocreMan.com blog and the people at our lunch have seen it in action. Since we often have sweets in the staff lounge (leftover cookies and cake after banquets and other events), when Andie naturally asked about my sweet tooth, she was really pointing at my HGD nature. That was when I told her about the sugar rush I had gotten the day before and my lessening interest in sweets. But Andie was not the only one who mentioned my appetite.
The Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) provided lunch for us on our Friday work day before the kids show up. It was a barbeque feast with chicken, ribs, cornbread, potato salad, brownies, and cookies. (I was too late to get any salad.) I partook of a chicken wing, potato salad, and cornbread. Another coworker, Chelsea, asked me if I was not going to have a cookie or three. When I told her no, I explained why and told her about my blog in case she wanted more information. She was excited to see what I had written.
(I must admit that I shamelessly self-promoted my blog another person, but to be fair, she is a health teacher. Besides, she was talking to one of my pesky friends who got me blogging in the first place.)
Another friend had already been following my journey so far. My friend Mike (a coworker, faithful reader, and different pesky friend) had the following dialogue on my Facebook fan page:
“That you are trying to change the well deserved super hero name of garbage disposal man to healthy man is a combination of admirable, cute, and may I say crazy.”
“Crazy like a fox.”
“True. And the fact that a fox is a scavenger for food would also fit in with the old you.”
Mike really does think I am crazy, and he may be right. After all, what he and all my friends have pointed out is true. None of them are part of a counterconspiracy, I am. I am or at least have been my own worst enemy when it comes to food. But doughnuts and cookies and even leftover food do not have the same draw for me as they used to. (The jury may still be out on that last one.) Still, I am amazed that I do not crave those foods like I used to. I do not think it is self-control. I think my system has reset itself.
While my friends at work have this perception that I am some sort of cookie monster, my family sees me as the HGD. However, they also know that I go all in when I set my mind to something. As a result, they have all been wondering about this vegan thing.
So far, I have not said I am going vegan. I am not ruling that possibility out, but I am not at that point yet. It will take some time to educate my immediate family if that is the way we choose to go, but currently, I am just cutting out dairy (mostly) and reducing my intake of meats.
What I have done so far is to essentially switch the portion sizes of meat and vegetables. My wife said it seemed like the anti-Atkins diet, which did give me pause (since I ate that way too). In reality though, if I switch the amount of calories I get from meat with those I get from veggies, I end up having more volume of food on my plate than I used to have doing it the other way around. At least if I had eaten properly according to the USDA. The problem with eating the USDA way was that I usually stuffed myself with the meat instead of with the vegetables. That never seemed to satisfy me. Consequently, I almost always ate too much and ended up not really following the USDA way in any of its incarnations.
Last night, I had a veggie burger (never say never) and baked fries. I was satisfied and even full with just one “burger.” I have been stopping at one for quite some time, but it was always a struggle to keep from eating more. From getting so stuffed that I could barely move. Last night, I was satisfied and even a bit full, but not so much that I could not go out and work. Not so much that I had to be rolled from the table. Last night, I got up from the supper table and went to dig more fence post holes.
Which brings me to the other misconception I have had to face. I am not so worried that my family thinks I am going vegan. They will support me in whatever crazy endeavors I undertake. (More on that later.) The misconception that I have been facing is that I cannot eat so much.
A friend and former student once said, “Diet is just ‘die’ with a ‘t’ at the end.” It fits with my experience of dieting. Like I said before, I have tried to eat in different ways in order to stay or become healthy. The problem has been that I have not had enough calories to really satisfy my stomach or my activity level.
As I have swapped the portions of meat and veggies, I have not changed my thought process right away. I have tried to eat less in keeping with the diet mentality. The problem is that there have been times when I have been hungry. I have not craved the processed foods I have always gobbled down, but I have had a little gnawing in my gut. The thing is that I did not need to experience that at all.
A whole food, plant-based diet is actually more satisfying than an animal-based diet. When I eat fruits and vegetables as the main course and meat as a smaller course, I actually take in more volume of food for the calories I am ingesting. Or at least it seems that way. I have not done any calculations yet, but I am sure I will at some time. After all, I will need to put in some numbers for anybody to want to read this blog. (Or maybe not. There are plenty of books that tell us all the numbers when what we really want is somebody to tell us their thoughts and feelings about the process. I will not give medical advice, but I can tell my readers my story. Then, they can decide what they want to do with the information. That being said, I would tell people who want to change their diets to consult a physician. A physician who does more than just prescribe medicine.)
This weekend was what convinced me that I can eat until I am satisfied with a whole food, plant-based diet. Saturday, I ate pretty lightly and worked pretty hard. My stomach was a little grumbly. I woke up hungry Sunday morning and had a small breakfast. Then, after church, I ate a lot. I had a snack break from putting up our fence and then had what I thought was a large supper. I also had a snack after 9:00 pm, which is supposed to be bad for us. I woke up this morning without that gnawing in my stomach. In fact, I thought I had a little too much in there and figured I had overeaten this weekend. I hopped on the Wii fitness board and lo and behold, I had actually lost weight. (I was excited to get under 160 again. Only by 0.2 pounds, but I have spent too long above 160.) I am still a bit surprised, but the fruits and veggies and grain products I had yesterday had satisfied my mind and body so much so that I thought I would be heavier this morning. True, I could have lost much of the weight from Saturday’s smaller portions, but that does not totally compute with my feelings of fullness. I suppose I could have lost the weight with the exertion of digging post holes all weekend, but I still think that eating less meat and more veggies has satisfied me more than I have been when I have had meat as my food focus.
So far, I have been satisfied swapping my portion sizes of meat and vegetables. I am looking forward to having meals with whole foods and lots of greens. It means more work preparing food, but The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi is indulging me because we want to be together for a long time. In reality, I have been fortunate that the counterconspiracy has been lackluster. So far, nobody has tried to convince me I am wrong or ripped my head off for writing about what I am doing. In some ways, I hope the counterconspiracy picks up a little speed. That everybody notices I am eating differently. Then, I can tell them how I am eating differently and shamelessly promote my blog to get more information.
© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi
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