The very word conjures up less than complimentary reactions unless it is tied to cat, wallet or baby cheeks.
I lived with the cruel taunts of being called fat for most of my school years. I can recall going into the bathroom and crying in school as early as third grade for being told by a classmate I thought was a friend that I was a fat whale. When the book Blubber came out, I learned what fiction really was because I never had the flip experience in the book—it was just pure misery at times to be the dorky tall girl with the bright red hair who was socially awkward and, undeniably, fat.
And so, when the adult me chose to embark on a life where I was going to live without that last descriptor being accurate any longer, I initially thought I’d be living a non-fat/low-fat kind of life.
It’s one of those things people struggle to wrap their heads around. however there are some basic truths I know, and one of them is this…
To stay slim, I need to eat fat.
Sounds like the statement of an idiot, I know. But here is what I found to be true for me, and my husband has found to be true for him.
When we have a high protein intake and use good, healthy fats, we are more satisfied with small portions. We feel full longer. Our skin, hair and nails are lustrous.
Our cholesterol levels are well below the area of concern (I actually have low cholesterol and am working on increasing it), we are enjoying FOOD and not fillers and we are able to use that intake as fuel for our lives.
It is clear, however, that many people are not fans of full fat anything! When we are in the market, the number of low fat and fat free cheeses are staggering. Whole milk is 3.25% fat, 2% is well…2%, then you have the increments down to skim…which can still have measurable fat content.
A cup of whole milk is 148 calories. A cup of 2% milk is 124 calories, while 1% has 103.
When we get our lattes out and about, we ask for ‘full fat’ lattes. Some places that is whole milk, others it caps at 2%. It is almost a fun little experiment for my husband and I to hear them say back “non-fat latte.”
FULL FAT. And I had a barista once lean over in a somewhat conspiratorial tone and say to me “Rough day, huh? Going for the gusto with the whole milk latte?”
When did having a satisfying beverage mean I was having a rough time of it? So I started listening and SO MANY people—men and women—come in and order fat free or low fat.
The obesity epidemic, in my very basic research, has a similar curve to the adoption of low fat items from formerly high fat items. Now a lack of recess in schools and the absence of exercise for many children factor in as well.
I cannot help but see a correlation between low fat this-and-that, and fat kids becoming fat adults in a fat society that seems to be so mean and unforgiving to those that are, in fact, fat.
Which is not to say I eat fatty foods. I choose lean cuts of meat. I don’t excessively pile on the cheese or drink quarts of milk or eat huge portions of yogurt. I make sure that protein is my primary intake macro. That I am honoring the need for my body to burn real food for fuel and that includes fat and if I make a dairy selection it is going to be the full fat variety.
Interestingly enough, I accidentally bought a part skim ricotta a few months ago. It was B1G1 at the market and the front facing container was whole milk, the one I selected behind it apparently, was not. I discovered this when I got home. Didn’t want to go through the effort to return it and decided to simply use it and be done with it. I made a dish I’d created countless times previously and did not even think to mention it to my husband.
We sat down to eat and he finished his portion and said he was going to get a little more. About 2 hours later we were in bed and he said he was hungry and going down for a bite to eat. That’s unusual. He has his popsicle and small bowl of sea salt popcorn at bed and that’s it for him. To have him get up and go down for more was odd, but I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was thinking of how I was going to use the other half of that ricotta…it does go bad, quickly! He liked it so much last night I should just make another. LIGHTBULB clicked on! And so I did a little experiment. I made another dish, identical to the one the night prior. Froze it and made a small notation to myself on the foil I wrapped it in. I waited two weeks and heated it for dinner.
Guess who got out of bed to have a little something more again that night?
It was extremely powerful to me to see, without any prompting or subliminal messaging, that he was genuinely hungry. I’d added a few slices of avocado to my plate (he won’t touch it!) and so my level of satisfaction was fine and I could do a single blind study with my very favorite guinea pig! The calorie savings were negligible in the dish I’d created from whole to part skim. All other ingredients were the same. And when you factor in the additional calories consumed a few hours later, it was actually detrimental to his overall caloric intake that day.
Butter, avocado, nuts, nut butters, full fat dairy…found them all to be the best choice for me. It was difficult to wrap my head around…but makes the belts I wrap around a lot smaller than they once were on all that low fat junk!
Are you a full fat eater? Have you had similar experiences?
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