Today is a momentous occasion; I’ve lost exactly 10 lbs. in 19 days….painlessly and almost imperceptibly. Significant because I haven’t been able to lose anywhere close to that much in 20 years. The only thing I have done differently is to cut my salt intake way back and monitor that intake to make sure it stays below the 2500 mg/day mark (that’s the high end of the recommended range of 1500 – 2500 mg, depending on whom you listen to). I’ve been averaging 2200 mg. and must confess that trying to stay at the American Heart and Stroke Association’s limit of 1500 mg. is nearly impossible; it would mean a vegan diet of strictly fresh foods (nothing touched by man). But the 2500 mg limit is pretty reasonable and do-able.
Perhaps the most significant observation so far is what happens to the sense of taste and its relationship to the drive to overeat. In a bizarre twist, dramatically reduced salt intake has also dramatically cooled the urge to overeat; it seems that things that taste really, really, great entice you into wanting a lot more of them. “Oh, it was soooo good I just couldn’t help myself” (I can just hear my son, “Duh Dad, it takes a Ph.D. in Psych to figure than one out? – he’s got his mother’s genetically thin build and natural intuitive eating style).
And things that in the past would have been intolerable without salt, e.g. raw tomatoes, eggs, beans, soups, now taste pretty good (although nowhere nearly as good as they used to, I’m not kidding myself). On the other hand, I’ve accepted that not every meal has to be a dining extravaganza; it doesn’t always have to be awesome – good is usually good enough. As a bonus and in Yang/Yang style (you can only know the great by knowing the not-so-great in contrast), when I do have something awesome, it tastes even better than before.
I had experienced the “taste threshold” phenomenon before. During the first 5 years my wife and I were together (no kids) we ate out at the city’s best restaurants at least 10-12 times per week. We noticed after a few years that we had become quite jaded; even the most expensive and expertly prepared meals were just O.K.
Of course, it’s early stages and recidivism in any food-related journey is always very high. For me, the stakes are also very high as my blood-pressure is only within normal range with two powerful medications. Did someone say steak??????