Full Fat

or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the calorie

I never struggled with my weight, at least not until I stood on that Wii Fit board for the first time and it told me that I was well into the overweight category. I made all sorts of excuses; BMI calculations based on height aren’t accurate; I worked out, that’s just all my bulk muscle; I … I was fat.

Truth is, in the few short years after university I got fat. I thought I was mildly athletic, but I ate a lot of junk. We’ve done a good job on curbing the “junk” part of that sentence, but I am still working on the “a lot” part.

I’ve always tried to eat healthy, and I’ve always had problems with portion control. Only now I’m starting to think the two may in fact be related in a counter intuitive way.
You see, I always shied away from non-low-fat dairy and used as little salt* and oil in my cooking as possible. I always bought no-fat/low-fat sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. Given the choice at the grocery store, I could never choose the higher calorie version when the low fat “healthy” version was right there for the same price.

As I cook more of these back to basics recipes, I am cooking with more butter, cream, and yes, ‘regular’ yogurt and sour cream. What I’m finding is that not only do these “fatty” foods taste better (duh), but they leave me feeling full longer. I’ve noticed that I eat less at dinner, and am often able to go from breakfast to lunch without a snack.
Many years ago I started cooking with large quantities of fibre in all my meals in hopes of achieving the same result, but it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

This doesn’t mean I’m going Paula Deen and embracing the deep-fried mars bar. I’m simply making the conscious decision that when selecting ingredients, I chose the regular-old-fatty version over the new and improved low-fat version.

I don’t know if this changes my overall calorie intake higher or lower; and I am well aware that my weight and physique are affected by more than just my diet. All I can say right now is that I’m less hungry; I have a lot of energy, and generally feel good. I’m curious to see if this continues.

* One day when visiting a surgeon, I collapsed. The surgeon was able to guess my activity level (moderately high at the time) and diet (mostly “healthy” home cooked food interspersed with fast food) perfectly. Turns out she saw this often, and it was actually the junk food that was keeping me going. I did not cook with any salt beyond salting my pasta water and my body was routinely suffering bouts of insufficient salt. It has taken me years, but I finally feel comfortable sprinkling salt on my veggies.

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