Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2. Give up potatoes and rice for one month. Instead eat fruits and vegetables as side dishes.

I'm sure you're thinking, yeeesh, this guy is crazy, how can I live with my fries and potato chips? You'd be surprised. I gave up rice and potatoes for a month when I first started losing weight. I can't tell you exactly what happened physiologically, but when I tried fries or chips later, they just didn't taste the same. Something changed in me. It was like the curtain was lifted on the Wizard of Oz. Fries tasted like salty, grease sponges and chips were the hardened version of the same thing.

During that month I had switched out chips and fries as side dishes for fruits and vegetables. Instead of having chips with my sandwich at lunch, I ate an apple (still do). Instead of having fries with the burger or chicken sandwich at Chili's, I ordered the grilled vegetables.

What I found is fruits and vegetables add a new dimension and flavor balance to a meal, kind of like matching wine with food. And any spuds or rice-based side dish is just cheap filler.

Think about it. Restaurants want to make it look like they're giving you a great value. And, in the U.S. that means getting a large volume of food for the money. They'd go broke piling the plates high with good food. But potatoes and rice are cheap. They can heap that stuff for pennies per plate and make huge margins. And, we just eat it all up. I shouldn't have to tell you that one heap of fries that comes with most fast food and casual dining meals probably contains at least half, if not more, of our daily caloric needs.

So, now, I always look for the vegetable alternative when I eat out, not only because I want to maintain my weight but also because I like it.

Give it a try. You can do without potatoes and rice for one short month. And, if you kick that habit like I did you've just removed one big obstacle that kept you from acheiving your New Years resolution in the past.

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