Sometimes, changing the things we eat is hard. At least, it seem that way. I know when I first stopped drinking sodas I thought I would *never* lose my taste for them, but I did. I went from craving sodas on a daily basis and wanting Coke Zero with every lunch to not wanting it at all, ever. The same goes for my old frenemy, Little Debbie. Back in the day, I used to freely binge on boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls and Oatmeal Creme Pies. Seriously, they were so addictive. I'd buy a box intending for it to last a week but get home and eat them all before nightfall. It was crazy, and it is no surprise I weighed 280 pounds with habits like that. But I had little desire to change. I *liked* the taste. And when I finally *did* change and cut those things out, it was hard. I thought about them a lot. I wanted my Little Debbie cakes. I craved them and not being able to have them felt like deprivation. But a funny thing happened. Over time, I lost my taste for them. How do I know this? Because at one point, after losing 80 or so pounds, I went off plan and bought some of my old favorites. Swiss Cake Rolls were among them. I wasn't planning to (or able to, as my stomach had shrunk) eat the whole box; I just wanted *one* because it had been so, so long. I anticipated it being oh-so-yummy. But it wasn't. It was disappointing, flat, and fake tasting. I threw out the rest and never looked back.
Somehow, my taste buds also went from wanting salads to be piled with cheese and drenched in dressing to *preferring* naked salads, with perhaps a bit of dressing on the side to dip my fork into occasionally as an accent to the fresh vegetables. Somehow, I went from feeling deprived when I ate a plate of broccoli without cheese sauce on it to actually desiring my vegetables steamed and plain. And the one time last year when I ordered trout in a fancy restaurant and it came breaded and pan fried in lots of oil, I was very turned off by the crispy, greasy, salty coating that used to be my favorite part of the meal. I gingerly picked it off and ate the plain fish underneath. Crazy, since I used to pick the crispy stuff off and eat that, taking only a few bites of the fish. Taste buds have definitely changed here!
A more recent example: before I started losing weight, I drank my coffee with lots of sugar and cream. I know I used a few tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup or more of cream in each mug. It was like a dessert! Anything less and it tasted "bitter" to me, but I was convinced I wanted, liked, and needed coffee in the morning. So I started to change. I started gradually cutting back on the sugar and cream. I kind of resented it, because every time I cut back my cup of coffee didn't taste good anymore. For awhile I switched to Chai tea but even that "needed" sugar or agave and milk for me to enjoy it. Eventually I started using a sugar free creamer (lots of it) and then decided to switch to half and half and Splenda and gradually cut back. So I did that and over time, came to enjoy the taste of unsweetened, black coffee. I did enjoy the flavor but would have preferred my sugary creamy version. I often would drink my black coffee and wish I could put something in it. But something strange happened. Last week I thought I would have a "special treat" and put some half and half in my coffee. And guess what? I didn't like it! I did not like the distinct dairy taste in my drink and I did not like the fatty feeling and how it covered up the good plain roastyness of the actual coffee. I added some sugar free syrup and yuck! It was awful. I dumped it out and made my now-preferred plain black coffee and enjoyed it thoroughly.
So you see, what starts out feeling like deprivation can actually turn into a *desire* for healthier things... even a preference for them. I no longer wish for lots of my old favorites, like Hot Pockets and frozen pizza, chips and candy bars. Oh, I still get a yearning for certain things like cupcakes or garlic bread, but that's ok. Maybe when I eventually have them I won't like them anymore either. It does make it easier knowing that those old foods are not as good as they seem in my imagination and memory. Taste buds do change. If you'd told me a year ago I would EVER drink a nasty bitter cup of plain black coffee I would not have believed it. Yet here I am, preferring it now. I think a key is to stop eating the old junk long enough to let your taste buds evolve and enjoy the new, fresh foods on your plate. Time fixes lots of things! Even tastes.
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