Monday, December 8, 2008

A Little of a Lot Goes a Long Way

Which do you prefer: eating a full portion of one thing or eating small portions of several things? Or are you like me and it depends on what day it is, how creative you’re feeling, and what foods you must use up in the fridge before they grow legs and walk away?

This morning for breakfast, in keeping with my “veggies for breakfast” pledge, I “fried” up the last of my shredded butternut squash (ala Hungry Girl’s recipe, sans the cumin and with minced garlic and a side of ketchup and mustard – you know me and my condiment love), threw the remaining half-cup of strawberries with the remaining half a small container of Greek yogurt, and sliced half a small banana into ¼ cup light vanilla soy milk and 20 grams of Shredded Wheat n’ Bran.

Looking back at my food journals, I see this as a growing pattern. Except for my big salad, I eat several little things all day. (And really, isn’t a salad just a conglomeration of a bunch of little things?) When I learn a serving of something has in excess of three Points, I get a little nervous. Four or more Points is a lot to spend on one thing. I mean, I like spinach manicotti very much, but one tube is four Points. One little tube! And it’s made with fat-free ricotta and everything! It’s not much food for the Points.

When I think of food I think of time. I like to eat slowly and in volume. How long will it take me to eat that soup or salad or to drink that latte? It takes me two minutes at most to eat a tube of manicotti, and that’s savoring it. It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to eat my big salad. Same number of Points and much more time playing Scrabble with the computer (I confess, I like to play when I eat).

When people ask why I became a vegetarian, I tell them it’s because I get to eat more. I’ve also cut way back on my starch consumption lately, which I did for several reasons. But near the top of the reasons list is because I don’t get as much food/Points time with an English muffin as I do with a big ass bowl of fruit and yogurt and a side of zucchini. And at the end of the day, by eating more I’ve eaten less and I feel better.

After four years of weight loss and maintenance, you’d think I’d have this food thing down to a science. But yet, I’m still a newbie, still learning, still messing around to see what works. It sometimes depends on what’s in the fridge, but if it doesn’t have staying power, it’s not making its way on to my plate these days. I prefer a little of a lot to a lot of a little. Say that three times real fast.

12 comments:

  1. I totally agree with wanting a lot rather than a little and making everything that goes in my mouth count. I'm going to try the hash browns recipe for sure, wonder if the family will like it? hmmmm

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  2. Eating Thin for Life: Food Secrets & Recipes from People Who Have Lost Weight & Kept It Off
    by Anne M. Fletcher

    somewhere near the center of that book there is a comparison of regular/general population food vs healthy food - showing the increased volume that can be gained by chosing carefully. I haven't seen it in a long time - but my memory is that it IS ACTUALLY ALL FOOD (and not things like sugar free jello).

    That comparison was the first time that I really understood the concept of chosing wisely.

    I loved your posting and I think opposite sex issues are at the heart of a lot of things for a lot of US.

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  3. I like to eat a lot of the good stuff. I am stuck on salads I love to have one all day everytday. Snack time is another time I like I love to take the greek yogurt (just as you said0 with fruit and enjoy. Nice post Lynn!

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  4. Oh, yeah, I'm definitely a volume girl. Big salads, yogurt & fruit, lots of veggies. I have a sweet tooth, but I've often put down a package of some sugar-free candy or cookie because the one or two little items was the same starch serving as an entire piece of fruit.

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  5. I'm a volume girl too, but unfortunately I'm eating the wrong things in huge quantities. This too shall pass! :)

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  6. I'm so with you on this one. I much prefer a little of a lot to a lot of a little! :o)

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  7. I am sooo with you on the "time" thing - that is how I decided what to eat so often. A cookie is "over" in a blink of an eye but a big ol salad can last forever.

    And also nodding my head on the vegetarian thing! I make a bolognaise pasta sauce with green lentils instead of ground beef and I can have SOOOOO much of that compared to the meaty version for a zillion less calories. OH if i'm having pasta, I'll have my small portion of pasta with the sauce but also a pile of salad leaves (baby spinach is great) so you get the volume - my plate looks as piled high as my husband's - but without the extra pasta.

    I never thought of shredding butternut squash! what a great idea.

    okay i better end this essay now :P

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  8. great post and point. for all of my like I think. I love that you pointed out that you are still a newbie as, FOR ME, when I begin to think Im beyond newbie level IN ANYTHING I cease to hunger (pun not intended) to learn more.

    from my work (writing) to my WORK (parenting).

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  9. I think that's the first time I've heard, "because I get to eat more" as the answer to the vegetarian question. :) Awesome!

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  10. I wonder - if somewhere - DEEP in my heart of hearts - that part of me is thinking that I still have more weight to loose. And that my maintenance is sort of a holding pattern - a content plateau - a resting place. And that my maintenance remains steady - because part of me is still in the loosing mode. And perhaps if I was not in that loosing mode - the regaining that sort of slides/creeps into so many lives - would ease into mine.

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  11. Vickie, that's an interesting thought. I don't know if maintenance SHOULD be any different than weightloss mode. Once I start thinking, as MizF said, that I "get it," I cease to hunger to learn more.

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  12. Great post! I really like to have a "little of a lot", and my very favorite type of dinner is a bunch of small things.

    I've also just recommitted to counting points this week (that 5-lb vacation gain has turned into 10. hmmm...) - so I can totally understand the "getting nervous if it's more than 3 points" (except for me, it's 4.)

    I also like to eat mostly vegetarian. If I'm going to spend my points on full-fat anything, it's going to be cheese or nuts.

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