Learning to Love Salads

I’ve noticed that I’ve been being forcefully opinionated with you recently. I blame Atlas Shrugged and Sherlock. Not that this is entirely out of character for me. But Rand’s a bad influence. As is BBC’s Sherlock. They bring out all the impossibleness and forcefulness in my nature that I try to tame. I think it’s time to tone myself down a bit. So I’m going to share with you more about this quest to get down to my actual size.

One of the reasons that ranked high in my list of why I didn’t want to bother shrinking down past 175 is because it would mean not just being healthy but being really healthy. Like a salad as lunch everyday healthy. In my head, that sounded terrible.

It’s not that I dislike salads. When I first started losing weight I ate a lot of salads. When I pushed myself to slim down into that blazer for the conference last spring I ate lots of salads. Ever since I got past 180, I’ve been eating a salad as a meal three to four times a week. But I’ve done it grudgingly.

I don’t like to think of a salad as a meal (unless we’re talking about a pasta salad-that’s entirely different). I’ve always thought of it as a side dish or appetizers. Maybe temporarily I could be satisfied with a salad being a frequent meal but the idea of doing it all the time forever…not interested thank you.

Well…that was how I felt. Deciding to keep going with my weight loss has meant changing this attitude.

Now that I’m smaller, now that my body needs less calories than ever before, and a little less than that if I want to lose weight and not just maintain, having a salad as a meal is a smart move. Having a salad for lunch allows me to have a more satisfying dinner and maybe also a sweet (maybe two if they’re both low in calories-I keep finding more and more low calorie ways to appease my sweet tooth but more on that another time).

I’ve tried to avoid this route but what I’ve noticed is that, on days when I don’t have a salad as a meal, using just 28 Weight Watchers points a day is barely enough. If my parents happen to bring me home a dessert or decide we should go out for dinner, just forget about it. Whereas, on days that I eat a salad, 28 points seems like a lot. I don’t have to have to worry that unexpected plans will throw off my diet (not that I don’t always have to eat moderately and choose entrées wisely).

If I want to not just lose the rest of this weight but maintain a weight under 175, daily salads have to be my normal (just as they are for food/weight loss blogger Andie Mitchell). Knowing myself, this has meant that also have to learn to love them. Otherwise, I’d never stick to this.

Part of the solution was simply setting aside my childish prejudice. Telling that part of me, which has been so convinced that a salad is not a justifiable meal option, to shut up and stop being ridiculous. Beyond that, I’ve needed to explore new salads. To find salads that’ll make me salivate and happy to choose them over something else but aren’t packed with calories.

Both Andie and my demo job have been helpful.

Andie post “How to Make a Delicious 400 Calorie Salad” is incredibly instructive. The best part is that she introducing me to the possibility that hummus could be a salad dressing. I LOVE hummus. But I never thought about putting it in a salad. It’s a great idea!

(What she didn’t mention is that, in order for it to have the perfect consistency to coat the lettuce and other vegetables, you have to put it in a salad with tomatoes or cucumbers whose watery juices will dilute the hummus. Then it’s absolutely wonderful!)

My demo job has helped by broadening my view of salads and dressing. I’ve never explored the world of salads much. For a while, each weekend I seemed to be scheduled to make and serve a different kind of salad. I was pretty much the salad queen. I picked up some great ideas and ended up purchasing some of the low calorie dressings I was serving (I especially like Meijer’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette).

The more I branch out from the typical spinach and cobb salads that I grew up with, the more enjoyable it has been for me to eat my daily salad. I’ve even begun making some of my own low calories dressings. Taking Andie’s advice, I started preparing a base salad on the weekend that I can add something different to each day. This way it’s a low effort lunch without being boring and entirely repetitive.

Now, I actually look forward to my daily salad. How about you? What do you  think about salads?

One thought on “Learning to Love Salads

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