You’re on a Diet? Eat the Pasta.

As soon as word gets out that you are trying to lose weight, there are certain people that will come out of the weight loss woodwork to offer you up some unsolicited advice. They will tell you what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, foods to avoid, red meat versus vegetarian, weight loss program tips — the amount of advice is endless. There are even some people that will act as the food police if they see you eating certain foods after you have voiced your desire to lose weight. After months of munching on salads and zucchini noodles, if you pick up a French fry in their presence they’ll ask “are you supposed to be eating that?” I’m here to tell you all of their words are rubbish, because your body isn’t their body; and nobody knows your body better than you.

As someone who has been a member of the Weight Watchers program for nearly three years, I have found that each individual person needs to find which foods and choices work well for them in order for their body to achieve its version of success. The only way for this to happen is to start the journey and gain some experience. Movie theater popcorn, for example, never causes a gain on the scale for me. I add butter and two pinches of salt to my popcorn, and it’s never caused the numbers on my scale to rise. Several people have told me to avoid popcorn at the theater since it is unhealthy. I have seen people sneak carrot sticks into a movie theater as an alternative snack because popcorn, something so saturated in butter and sprinkled with salt, has detrimental effects on weight loss success, right? Maybe for some people, but I eat it anyway because I can.

I typically avoid pasta. Throughout my time as a Weight Watchers member, I have discovered pasta dishes are what lead to a temporary higher number when I weigh myself within a few days of consuming the dish. The keyword there is temporary. Heavy meals are not my norm anymore and the scale always returns to a lower number after a few days because results will happen as long as you keep trying. For ten of the 28 years I have been alive, I weighed over 300 pounds and I have a very real fear of gaining it all back. Because of this worry, I tend to avoid pasta because anything that causes a bigger number on the scale for me, even if it’s temporary, I try to go without.

Life is too short to always avoid pasta. I am currently on a three hour break from student teaching this afternoon, and I have a gift card to an Italian restaurant, Chicago’s Labriola Cafe. I have never spent it because I’ve been avoiding pasta for roughly three years. Well, today I’m using the gift card and enjoying the best spaghetti and housemade Italian bread that I have ever eaten in the Windy City. This restaurant has an authentic Italian atmosphere, the food is delicious, the service is incredible, and I am very happy to be here.

Healthy choices need to vastly outweigh unhealthy choices in order to produce weight loss results. Choosing to eat one salad won’t lower someone to their goal weight, and one bowl of spaghetti is not going to cause me to become over 300 pounds again. Eating one meal does not define a person’s entire journey with food. What works for me may not work for the next gal, but the only way to gain knowledge about yourself is to keep trying until something does work. As for lifestyle changes, the destination you wish to go is up to you; but don’t avoid all of the pasta along the way. Life is way too short for that.

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