Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Biggest Loser awakening

From an article in today's NY Times, a quote from the trainer on The Biggest Loser:
“The food that got them to this point is salty, sweet, fatty, crunchy,” said Bob Harper, a trainer on the show since the first season in 2004, describing the fast food and snacks that are the steady diet of most contestants. “They lose their taste buds, they lose their hunger cues and they want what they want when they want it.”

So true. Salt, sweet, fatty, crunchy. How many times have I described foods I like that way on this blog? Although I fancy myself a person with a refined palate, the truth is I have probably lost a lot of what I was born with by eating the way I have been eating. Of course, I've mentioned that a broccoli spear, steamed and plain, can taste pretty good. But for the most part, I'm looking for bangs of flavor and texture. I want my mouth to sing. I want my tongue to be happy. A plain grilled chicken breast doesn't produce that sort of rapture in my mouth. But coat it with a crisp covering and pour some fatty sauce over it and I'm in ecstasy.

And, yes, I want what I want when I want it. Hunger has nothing to do with it. Even when hunger does have something to do with my food seeking behavior, it's flavor and texture that guides my choices. I'll go hungry until I get what I want or what my mouth wants. I'm not satisfying my tummy most of the time. I'm satisfying my mouth (and my brain and my eyes).

So does knowing this make a difference? No. Because I would have to be thinking about this at the time that I make an eating decision. And most of the time when I'm at that point, I just go for it. Stop and think about what I want to eat....does it provide the right mix of nutrients; are the calories in line with my needs; is it a good nutritional choice? Ugh. No. I just think about the taste. Does it appeal to me at that moment.

Yes, my taste buds did get somewhat retrained early in this dieting saga but I let that slide because I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. Just as Bob says. Sounds kinda selfish. Interesting that I am selfish about food but not really about other aspects of my life. Something to ponder today as I dash off to meet someone for lunch!

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