I have learned that if I am hungry enough, I will eat anything. Honestly, I would probably eat a clod of dirt when I get to the point of ravenous no return. So when I am hungry and I only happen to have healthy options on hand, it is devoured as if it were a filet mignon accompanied by cheesey potatoes.
I remember attending this seminar when I worked for a bank in Wisconsin; we had a guest speaker who competed in this race with Navy Seals in Australia. I think it was like Iron Man times five or something. I will always remember her for how she inspired me and this story she told:
She talked about having to climb mountains and waterfalls, walk for days in the desert, trek through rivers and finish with kayaking through the ocean. At one point, she and her team of Navy Seals were low on food and everyone began to empty their packs to see if they could find something, anything to eat. A small bagel was found at the very bottom of her pack floating in some murky water. Triumphant, she inhaled this soggy, dirt-flecked bagel and she maintains that to this day it was the best bagel she’s ever eaten.
Hunger will do that to you. Now this is not to say I am advising going to these extremes of hunger just to be able to happily choke down your veggies, no. But I definitely have discovered food just tastes better when I’ve earned it.
I did this strenuous four-mile mountain hike in which I got to the top and pulled open my backpack to find a clementine. Oh, but it was like plucking an orange out of one of those Tropicana commercials, those ones where the happy farmer gives you a cheer before stabbing a striped straw into the orange tempting you with all that Florida goodness. That’s how my clementine tasted. Like that.
Obviously everyday isn’t going to entail mountain hikes to properly enjoy my daily dose of fruit. And sure, some days even when I am hungry and ready for my next form of sustenance, I peruse my kitchen to find only options like almonds, pistachios or hummus and veggies and that doesn’t sound right at all. I want sea salt and vinegar chips. I want peanut butter M&M’s. Or like today, all I could think about after I finished my hideously hard Alpha workout (where when I pulled out my hair-ties afterwards, sweat rained down to the floor from my drenched hair) were warm chocolate chip cookies. And the dough for good measure.
Yet, I was at the gym so there would be no warm cookies, or globs of chocolate-chip laden dough. I would eat what I brought which was my own version of a Chipotle bowl, with brown rice, black beans, steak, homemade guacamole, pico and jalapenos. It was packed with protein and not half bad. I then took my vitamins which are supposed to help curb my sugar cravings and I forgot about the chocolate chip cookies. At least for now.