Eating the elephant, not the fries

Peter Shankman is on a quest to move himself to 10% bodyfat this year. He’s already thinking about his remodeling his diet with some serious changes.

In switching my diet, I’ve tried to make only one firm change, and even that one has a relevant (and enjoyable) exception.

The most significant changes I’ve made have really been slow implementations rather than cold turkey sorts of differences.

First big difference was to stop drinking pop (what other people persist in calling soda). At various times I’d gone with the pop in mixed drinks only routine (the exception I’m keeping), which worked well until hot weather. For some reason, a can of regular Coke tastes a lot colder to me on a hot day than a glass of ice water, The obvious answer, diet coke, didn’t really work since I hate the taste of diet soda. Weird taste that doesn’t equate to “sweet” on my tongue.

But finding some great carbonated fruit juice drinks at Starbucks and then at the grocery, which led me to explore with mixing juice with seltzer (another drink that had never appealed to my taste buds), was a big step. I decided to mix them because I’d been doing that 50-50 with fruit juice for my kids since they were very little.

And slowly, I increased the amount of seltzer from 10 to 25 to 50 to 75%. Eventually, I starting drinking flavored seltzer and now it’s what works for me.

I’d done a similar thing changing my milk habits, slowly switching from whole to 2% to 1% to skim, both in cereal and in my tea at Starbucks. Two sugars turn to one, and now it too has skim rather than whole.

So small changes made bigger, previously unthinkable or undesirable changes, far more palatable. It’s the boil the frog model.

One key test for me came after ending up with far too much pop after Nathan’s birthday party this summer. I cracked open a can of Coke but couldn’t even bring myself to drink it. Surprised me but made me feel good that the change had really stuck.

The other thing I’ve done is avoid any flat prohibition, like no fries, choosing instead to not order fries myself or simply eat one or two when they’re there. Finding ways to succeed is better than creating ways to fail. (Life lesson there, by the way.)