I was talking to Jane this week, who was gently telling me off because of all the low-calorie drinks I was having. She said it was much healthier to drink fruit juice. This was an easy conversation for me, because I have lived with this sort of discussion in the last couple of years of losing weight – I have lost weight merely by counting calories, and not by taking any notice of whether what I was eating was ‘healthy’ or not.
I know this is a bit controversial, but it was all part of my ‘keep it simple’ approach. Restricting calories was hard enough and, for me, already a tough enough target to aim for. If I also had had a second target – to eat healthily – it would have become too complicated, and I would have failed with both targets. And the situation is especially confusing, because it is easy to mix up ‘healthy’ food with low-calorie food. It’s common to read about people who eat a lot of ‘healthy’ things such as avocado, nuts, salmon and olive oil, but they are struggling to lose weight. Unfortunately ‘healthy’ food is not necessarily calorie-free food!
Having said all of that, I have noticed recently that I am taking more interest in what is ‘healthy’ eating. It seems to me that that’s because in the twenty months of losing weight, eating low-calorie was my only priority. I probably thought that, whatever I ate, my body could not be harmed in just twenty months. And maybe I was right. But now it’s a different game. I am maintaining, and if all goes according to plan, I will be maintaining forever. And forever is a long time to be eating and drinking things that are not great for me.
Emma Brown started me off being thoughtful about what to eat forever, when she said that my low-calorie diet didn’t give me much calcium, and so I started to eat more calcium-rich food. Then I added some healthy-but-calorific things, such as nuts and seeds. And now I am wondering whether Jane might have a point, especially because I have cut right back on alcohol, and instead I am drinking pints of low-calorie tonic. And then I saw ‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’, which suggested that 20ml of olive oil a day (a whopping 180 calories!) might be a very good thing. Clearly this could mark the start of never-ending tinkering with my diet, in a bold attempt to live forever, but without putting on any weight.
So, that’s where I’m up to with ‘healthy eating’. I think, as a maintainer, I do need to take more interest in what I eat, beyond the number of calories in it. But at the same time, I do need to avoid irritating my long-suffering wife by turning into more of a DietGeek than I already am!