As of today, I've lost 120 pounds. I only have three more pounds to lose before I reach my major goal of 200 pounds. As I continue to run and work out, I'll probably lose another 10 pounds or so. Once I dip below 200, I don't have a specific weight in mind. Through healthy eating and plenty of exercise, my body will gradually settle down to its own ideal weight.
Most people will tell you that when you lose this much weight, you can expect to be more energetic, have greater mobility, and feel more confident. This is all true, but one surprise is that my taste buds have changed. Last April, when I first began a concerted effort to lose weight, I constantly craved all the foods I had been gorging on for the past 15 years: chips, pizza, burgers, fried foods, sweets of any kind, and my favorite treat of all, Ben and Jerry's ice cream. For about a month, I fantasized about these foods constantly. It took real effort to avoid these foods and switch to a cleaner diet.
Somewhere along the way, I actually began craving foods that were good for me. At first, I attributed this to sheer hunger. It's not that I'm starving on my current diet (far from it), but when you're running a caloric deficit, you're going to get hungry. I just figured that if you're hungry enough, just about anything tastes good. I first noticed this when I went for sushi with a friend a few months ago. I never used to like sushi, but I gave it another try, and, lo and behold, I like it now. Later, I noticed that I was craving vegetables. These days, when I go out to eat, I walk into a restaurant hoping they have good salads or a wide range of grilled entrees.
It's not that I wouldn't want to snarf down a bag a chips or a pint of Ben and Jerry's if someone brought them to me, but I just don't search out these foods anymore. I think part of the reason I didn't enjoy eating the healthier foods was that the super rich junk food interfered with my palate. When I first changed my diet, my fantasy was that after I reached a certain weight, I would treat myself to Ben and Jerry's or some pizza, but even that has changed. Instead, I'll be treating myself to some new clothes and running gear, and once it warms up, I'll get my bike fixed up so I can use it for weekend rides and local errands. I'll certainly enjoy ice cream and other treats now and then, but in moderation.
All you dieters out there take heart. If you've just started watching your calories, you're probably craving junk food right now. Keep the junk food out of the house so it's not easily accessible. If you go out to eat, order a salad instead of fries. I know you're longing for some candy or some tasty fried goodness, and unfortunately, you're going to continue craving them for a few weeks. Such is life. Just focus on making good choices from meal to meal. Stick with it, and you'll eventually discover that healthy eating has become a habit.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.