Just Hold the Healthy Food Please!

This is a true story. I was eating at a restaurant with some friends not too long ago. At the table next to us were two men. They looked like typical business men – khaki pants, button down shirt. Both were slightly to moderately overweight. There was a lull in the conversation at our table and I heard one of the men say to the server, “I’ll have the cheddar burger, but hold anything healthy.” The server looked at him with a curious expression on his face. The man said,Ā “I’m serious. I don’t want any tomatoes, lettuce or salad. Keep the healthy food in the back – but don’t tell my wife.” He then laughed loudly, as did his dining companion.

This exchange made me think of how differently I view food now. Back in my morbidly obese days – that man was me. I would have told the server that exact thing and laughed about it. “Just hold anything healthy.” Give me the fries, the nachos smothered with fake cheese, ground beef and some salsa. Throw a plate of fried mozzarella cheese sticks on the table and watch me inhale them. I’d order the biggest entree on the menu and ask if I could “substitute more fries for vegetables.” Yes, my friends, I actually asked the server to keep the vegetables to herself and just bring my 300-pound self more fried food.

Was I ever embarrassed? Sometimes, but usually I wanted that food so badly that I was willing to expose my love of salty, fattening food to the world. I’m sure other diners looked on with fascination and/or horror as I ate a huge fried appetizer, followed by an equally enormous entree and finished off with my own personal Death by Chocolate dessert.

Intellectually I “knew” I should be eating healthy foods, but honestly, I didn’t want them. Who cared that salad was healthier than chocolate? I liked the taste of chocolate better so I ate it.

This hurdle was one of the hardest things I had to conquer when I was losing weight. I had to learn to appreciate, and then finally enjoy healthier foods. Although I stopped ordering fries in restaurants, I still liked fries better. I quit having gigantic desserts, but I still craved them. Over time though, those super unhealthy foods lost their appeal. Now, if I eat fried food, it makes me ill. And I can’t stomach huge amounts of rich desserts any longer.

I no longer say, “Hold anything healthy.” Instead I say, “Bring on the healthy choices.”

How are you doing with realigning your thinking from “Hold the healthy to bring on the healthy?” Were there foods that were hard for you to adjust to having in smaller quantities or not at all?Ā  Diane

25 thoughts on “Just Hold the Healthy Food Please!

  1. Miz says:

    I know for me it was all about trust.
    when I first started mindful eating there WERE things/foods I wasnt sure Id know how to stop with (for lack of a better phrase).


    So I initially ate until I got a bellyache (hello taking off the reigns and initially losing my mind) and then I CUT THEM OUT ENTIRELY, and then finally I realized (slowly and filled with trepidation) that if I ate them to enjoyment or satiation I naturally consumed in SMALL RELISHED PORTIONS.

    (sorry for the ramble)

  2. Amy says:

    It’s so funny how this evolves over time, isn’t it? I know for myself there are definitely foods that I used to gorge on in the past that now make me feel sick. There are some unhealthy foods that still have an attraction to me, but they have changed over time. At the same time there are a lot of really healthy foods that have started to feel like real treats to me. It’s nice to see that our tastebuds can evolve with us and become allies instead of enemies!

  3. vickie says:

    please help me remember what age your children were during this time? and how much of this rubbed off on them? I guess what I am saying – were they old enough to understand and think this was ‘yummy’ and then how much undoing did you have to do (with them)?

    my carpool family’s (obese, that you have heard me mention) youngest daughter just confessed to me that while she ‘knows’ it is ‘bad for you’ their favorite (as a family) thing is to go to Mac’s and get sandwhich/fries/pop and then drive across the street to chinese restaurant to each get an order of crab ragoon (fried) because that combination (all together) is wonderful tasting. The family eats based on ‘what sounds good’ or is ‘yummy’ and all events are food based.

    • Diane says:

      My oldest was six when I began losing weight. My second was three and the baby was just a few months old. By the time my second child came along, we had cut back on restaurant trips due to the cost. So, I don’t think they thought that restaurant food was yummy – instead my oldest thought it was fun to get a happy meal at McDonald’s on occasion.

      It’s funny now – because my youngest boys have never been to McDonald’s and make disgusted faces when the girls tell them what they cook there!

  4. Marcelle says:

    Reading this makes me see I have always had a healthy streak as I have never told anyone to keep the healthy away. Even while being overweight I ate veggies and a salad with every meal…it was the portion sizes and the snacks inbetween with no training that was my problem…
    Its amazing that there are people who dont love healthy…I cant imagine….:)

  5. Karen says:

    On the rare occasions I get a Starbucks latte, I joke that I take all the good stuff out. I use skim or soy milk, sugar free syrup, no caffeine.

  6. Dr. J says:

    Even though most people don’t say it, from what I’ve seen in restaurants, they do it!

    If you want that indulgent taste, it would probably be wiser to just ask for the “healthy” parts on the side, and then eat them separately.

  7. Sagan says:

    It’s amazing what a hold those kinds of foods can have over us – unhealthy food can be super addictive!

    Luckily, with time our tastebuds can change so that HEALTHY food becomes the stuff we crave. And that is awesome (as long as we’re still eating within appropriate portion sizes. Which I still struggle with. Sighs).

  8. Emergefit says:

    Similarly, I heard it phrased this way once by a man speaking to a waitress, “My body hasn’t seen a vegetable in months, please don’t bring me anything that will break the streak.”

    Unlike you, it did not get me to view my eating differently, it reminded me that the game is already over.

  9. fittingbackin says:

    For me I just have to hold the take-out altogether. I can’t go to McDonald’s and make a good decision you know? I will get fries. And a burger. And extra fries! haha It’s setting myself up for success by making things myself and trying (still struggling) to eat more and more veggies!

  10. 'Drea says:

    It’s amazing to me — I used to eat so many fried foods and, now, I wouldn’t dream about it and don’t miss it.

    I have a few fast food stories for you. I was standing at line in Wendy’s years ago and this guy asked for his hamburger to be extra greasy and, at Auntie Anne’s, someone asked for their pretzel to be double-dipped in butter.

  11. RNegade says:

    I deprived myself of treats like chocolate for years, and ate healthy foods almost exclusively, with an exception for my birthday cake and christmas pie. I remained obese. It was the amount of healthy food I ate that caused me to remain obese. Now I eat chocolate every day because it tastes good and it brings me pleasure. I’ve lost 80 lbs. this year.

    I could probably lose faster if I eliminated the chocolate but then again I might feel deprived, in that case, and be tempted to overeat. I’ll stick with my daily chocolate *fix*. šŸ™‚

  12. Cheryl says:

    I’m one of those ‘all things in moderation’ gals . . . but gotta say that most processed foods do weird things to my innards now. I follow the 80/20 rule, my diet is mostly primal whole foods, but on occasion, man, I still love me a good steak french fry. My weight is coming off slowly but consistently.

  13. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I used to let them bring it but then leave the stuff on the plate so I didn’t look odd.

    Now I’m the one saying hold the bacon and other things for health and for my stomach issues.

    I even pick restaurants differently if it is just me and Hunni. We tend towards the more veggies the better approach.

  14. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, all I can say about me is that I am Sally in When Harry Met Sally… asking for the healthy stuff.. that says is all! šŸ˜‰

    When I first started out, for me, I am more a sweet person so those are the things that tempt me, not the meat & potato stuff so the regular dinner ordering was not big deal..

  15. kwithme says:

    I had to retrain my taste buds as well. I spent 6 months doing just that. It was also an adventure in what other tastes I like. I had to cleanse my palate of the sugar, salt and fat to really appreciate some of the wonderful tastes that exist in nature. Who knew that artichoke hearts are sweet?

    I still don’t like iceburg lettuce on a sandwich but if I can get spinach or spring greens, then my sandwich looks like a salad on bread.

    We also pick restaurants on favorite healthier items. Our special night out is a restaurant that has great veggie sides and one sinful chocolate mousse. Given that we go about 3 times a year, I indulge and savor every bite. It makes it much easier to turn down the desserts that I am indifferent toward.

  16. Nicole W. says:

    “but don’t tell my wife”

    …I’m sure tons of men get the naggy approch from their wives with she is ready to make this kind of life change.

    Sadly, men are harder to inspire and are usually happy, maybe because there is less of a Hollywood image for them to live up to?

  17. LovesCatsinCA says:

    It’s interesting–I’ve become really picky so I’m not afraid to order foods without sauces, how I want them. How I’ve always been with wine (quality over quantity–I’d rather have a glass of really good wine than more cheap stuff…) has become how I am with food. I love chocolate–in fact, I will have a small quantity of dark chocolate daily–but I haven’t had an M&M in years. But I won’t touch chocolate cake because I don’t really like it.

    As for fries, I do still love fries… and chips… Because I have gallbladder issues, I’m pretty disciplined about not eating fries–and either sharing an order or ruining them after I’ve had a few so I don’t keep eating more. If I want fries at home, I’ll do a few baked ones that are lower in fat. I’m having a gallstone attack right now and people at work are asking why I haven’t taken it out–partly, I don’t want to have surgery–and partly, because it helps motivate me to avoid grease!

    I just don’t find it worth it to eat things that are super unhealthy unless I really love them and most of the time, I make modified recipes like on Eating Well magazine’s site or Hungry Girl’s and they’re satisfying. And I’ve expanded different types of vegetables that I enjoy now, and have also learned to enjoy cooking more.

    If someone told me 25 years ago that one day I would prefer an ounce of dark chocolate to 1/2 a pound of M&Ms I would have thought they were crazy. We can and do change!

  18. Siobhan says:

    For regular food (i.e. not desserts) I do generally prefer healthy … a plain baked potato over french fries, a salad with no croutons and no dressing, baked, roasted or broiled instead of fried. Desserts are a rare thing, but when I do eat them I want the real thing.

  19. Tami says:

    I read one time that we crave the foods we eat. I think that is true. When I ate junk food I craved junk food.

    Now that my diet is full of healthy good tasting real food, that is what I desire to eat. The other stuff has pretty much lost it’s appeal for me.

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