Sunday, August 18, 2013

Confessions of a Veggie Hater

Photo by: Sadik Khalid and released to the Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

One of the reasons "dieting" can be difficult for me is that most healthy meals found in dieting books are chock-full of veggies. I have never enjoyed vegetables. If anybody ever put a scoop of something like the above broccoli and carrots on my plate, I'd have to fight my revulsion (though I'm sure it's a perfectly lovely dish for folks who enjoy that kind of thing). When I was a kid, I'd fall asleep at the kitchen table when my mom tried the "you aren't leaving the table until you eat your veggies" trick. I'd still rather spend the entire evening sitting at the table than force myself to eat most veggies. Yes, I know vegetables are extremely healthy, and I know that taking vitamin pills just isn't the same as getting nutrients from real food sources. I WANT to like veggies. However, the taste and smell of most vegetables literally makes me feel nauseous.

I've often heard thing like, "There have to be some vegetables that you like! There's no way you can hate all of them." or "Your mom probably didn't cook them right when you were growing up. Try them prepared different ways." Well, I've tried several kinds, and I've tried them prepared many different ways. I almost always end up unable to force myself to swallow - as gross as it is, I end up gagging and spitting them out. I have found I can force myself to eat a little bit of raw baby spinach or asparagus, but I can only eat a small amount before my taste buds say, "Okay, enough!" I've also heard the tip to chop up vegetables and add them to meals I already really like, and I've tried that, but I can taste the vegetables, which ruins the flavor of the rest of the food for me.

I do like most fruit, however, so I try to eat at least a couple of fruit servings every day (though I sometimes run out of my supply and need to go a day or two without). I also discovered "Amazing Grass Green Superfood," which is basically dehydrated and powdered wheatgrass and other vegetables, so I add a scoop of that to my smoothies and protein shakes. The chocolate in the protein powder and the fruit in the smoothies masks the flavor pretty well. I know it's not as beneficial as fresh stuff, but at least it's something. Now that I'm in my 40s, I have to try to get at least some vegetable in me any way possible. I can also manage the V8 Fruit Fusion stuff, but don't ask me to drink a plain V8! Blech! I've also recently found that I can add a very small handful of greens to my blended smoothies and consume them that way. Still, I know I'm probably not getting enough.

I'm sometimes made to feel like something is wrong with me due to this. That's it's all in my head. Well, it very well may be in my head, but in my mouth rather than my brain. I recently found out that there's an actual biological basis for veggie aversion. Some people simply have more taste buds than the average person, and therefore taste things more strongly. These people are called "supertasters," and the bitter compounds in veggies are often overwhelming to them.

I'm not completely sure I'm a full-blown supertaster, however, since it seems that most avoid things like coffee and sweets as well. I can't get by without my morning cup of coffee (though I only like mild or medium roast coffee - I can't do the "robust" stuff), and my enjoyment of sweets is one of the reasons I'm trying to lose weight! Still, I definitely taste the bitterness in veggies, and strongly. I know that people often say iceberg lettuce doesn't have a taste, well, I taste it (and I don't like it). At the very least, thanks to a taste experiment in biology class, I know I'm sensitive to PROP, which is a chemical similar to the stuff that makes veggies bitter.

Anyway, I'm still trying to find some milder veggies that I may be able to tolerate. If anybody reading this has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know!

Friday, August 16, 2013

My TurboFire First Month Results

I just completed my fourth week of the TurboFire fitness program. If you're not familiar with TurboFire, it's one of those "extreme" fitness systems put out by Beachbody - the same company responsible for the more well-known P90X and Insanity programs. TurboFire is basically a series of kickboxing and dancing hybrid workouts on crack. There's some HIIT (high intensity interval training), and a little bit of strength training and stretching incorporated as well.

I admit that I haven't followed the calendar exactly. I've needed to flip flop some of the days to get them to work in my schedule (it seemed like the long workout days always fell on days I had limited time, and the shorter HIIT workouts fell on days I had all the time in the world). I also added a little extra resistance training, because the official calendar that came with my set only had three strength training days for the entire month! I prefer doing strength work at least twice a week.

Anyway, on to the results! (Sorry... no pictures. I'm not comfortable putting those half-naked "before and after" pics of myself online for the world to see).

5 pounds lost
1" lost from my waist
3/4" lost from my hips
1" from my arms (each one!!)
3/4" from my thighs

Not a super-dramatic change, but still pretty good! I'll take it, especially since I'd been stuck on a plateau for three weeks before I started TurboFire. I still have at least eight weeks to go. My set has a calendar for 20 weeks, but I don't know if I'll stick with it for that long. The workouts are enjoyable for the most part, and the instructor, Chalene Johnson is fun and very motivating. However, I tend to get "workout ADD" after awhile, and I'm sure I'll be ready for something different before long. We'll see.

*For the record, I am NOT a Beachbody coach, and I do not have any sort of connection with the Beachbody company.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yet another weight loss blog...

Like many people, I'm trying to drop some excess weight. It's not the first time for me. I was always pudgy as a kid and teenager, and when I started college, I finally decided to do something about it. I started working out and following a low-fat diet, and within six months or so, I'd dropped 40 pounds and was finally at my ideal weight. Unfortunately, I quickly became so obsessed with keeping the weight off that I completely deprived myself of foods most college students enjoy. I desperately missed those foods but wanted to stay thin, which led to the development of an eating disorder. After a three year battle, I defeated the disorder.

Some years later, I'd gained back all the weight I'd lost and then some. I lost it again a few years ago by exercising and controlling my food portions. Then, about a year later, I became laid off from my job. When people get laid off, it seems that they either take advantage of the time and spend more time working out and cooking healthy meals (in between job hunting and figuring out what they're going to do for money, of course), or they sit around feeling depressed and eating whatever they can buy for cheap. I was part of the latter group, and gained that good ol' forty pounds yet again.

That brings me to now. I'm back to work, and I'm also working on ridding myself of those pounds once more. I started exercising and watching my food intake three months ago as of this writing, and so far, I've lost 17 pounds. I started this blog as a way to keep myself motivated (and to maybe help me keep those pounds off for good this time), and also to post my random thoughts and musings about the world of fitness, nutrition, body issues, and weight loss.*

*I am not a nutritionist, doctor, or certified fitness instructor, so please take what I write with a grain of salt.