Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Step away from the cereal

Date: March 29
Mileage: 17.1
March mileage: 344.3
Temperature upon departure: 37

If you could give up just one thing - just one - that would instantly improve your nutrition and diet, what would it be? Trans fat? Refined flour? Red meat?

You know what mine would be? Artificial coloring. That's right. Not because I believe this colorful little chemical has any negative effects in itself, but because Yellow No. 5 seems to grace all of my most secret, most shameful indulgences.

In most bad eating situations, I'm a rock. I can turn down chocolate without flinching. Pizza? No thanks - I had yogurt for lunch. Even the free morning donuts at work, which my coworkers would argue have a gravitational pull equal to that of the Sun, don't get me excited. My coworkers think I'm a health food hero, known even to turn my nose up at Girl Scout Cookies (which I love, by the way.)

But then I leave work. I go for a bike ride. I come home to a house filled with produce, look around my kitchen with wary eyes, and begin to chow down like a 3-year-old turned loose in a grocery store. Fruity Pebbles - I can stuff whole handfuls in my mouth without even losing any to the floor. Jelly - who needs bread when you have a spoon? Cheetos - they got rid of the trans fat, so why not?. Capri Suns - they're like a goo packet you can actually digest! And then there are Goldfish. Oh, Goldfish. When will artificial colors stop tempting me with the sugars and simple carbohydrates they hide?

Last year, when I was making a conscious effort to cut calories, I decided to give up high fructose corn syrup. It seemed like a good idea at the time, until I got addicted to diet soda and learned the hard way about too many cherries. Since then, I've let my diet slip a little (a lot), and I'm trying to think about ways I could start eating healthier again. It's so hard. I could give up chocolate, no sweat. Full-fat dairy would be a challenge, but doable. I'd probably cry if you went for the Lime-Flavored Tostitos, and then I'd get over it. But try to take away my Cranberry Crunch, and you better have a gun. I guess we all have our weaknesses.