The first year of my journey was a year of discovery and illumination. Around every corner I was learning new surprising things. About exercise, and water. About Food and non-Food. Did you know that my favorite (at that time) McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger is 12 ppvs. That’s 40% of an entire day’s food in one burger! And one chicken wing is 3 ppvs? Just one lil ole chicken wing. I can assure you I was not eating 1. Sheesh…no wonder I packed on the pounds. In that first year, I was a point plus value calculating fool. My calculator was burning wattage, I used it so much. Then the smart phone app came out, and I was in the grocery store zapping everything I could. Cookies, Granola bars, bread, cans of soup, ice cream…..yeah….my eating had improved from the McDonald’s days, but my learning hadn’t gone too deep below the surface, hadn’t sunk into the grey matter yet. The information I was gathering was still being used to figure out how to cheat the system. Looking back, my mission was, how to eat the ppv-friendly version of the foods that made me fat. It was a step forward, buuuuuut….not quite the progress I needed to make overall, for the long run. THAT’s the change I am embarking on now. The next phase of my journey. The REAL Food change.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been trying all along. Trying to be better with my eating. And I have made remarkable progress. I eat far far less sugar and sugar substitute than I used to. Looking back, I believe I was addicted to sugar. And that’s a vicious cycle. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave it, and so on and so on. And then after eating sugar, I would feel sooo sluggish. I’d get a sugar head ache. It was all bad. I still fight the urges for cupcakes and lemon pie. My mind is bonded with them. Maybe that will always be so. A long time ago, a friend who bakes alot told me — she doesn’t eat what she bakes. I remember being shocked by this, and I asked her “How? How do you manage to turn it down“” Her response baffled me. She said, “I try to appreciate the architectural and creative value of what I bake.” These sophisticatedly decorated cakes and whimsical cake pops. Architectural value? Creative appreciation? Hmm, ok. I have tried this, and have made some progress. I look at cupcakes and try to see their color, the swirls, the design, the whimsy. I do. I totally do. But the whole time, my mouth is salivating. I mean. Art Appreciation Time is up, right? Lets EAT EM!! Ok, Ok, I don’t. Well, 99% of the time I don’t. And, for me…that’s progress!
I dont drink diet soda much anymore. And I do eat tons and tons of fruits and veg. I’m eating vegetables that my mother would be shocked to see me eat. All the things I refused to let passed my lips growing up in my parent’s house. Brocoli, asparagus, leeks, spinach, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, kale, on and on and on. My attitude with vegetables now is…if I’ve never had it – then I want to try it. WHAT?? Yup — that’s the new me. You don’t “know” until you try, right?
I eat greek yogurt with fresh berries or kiwi, or any other fruit in it. Other flavored yogurt taste far too sweet for me now. THAT was a real eye opener. I eat egg white omelets for breakfast, loaded with spinach and other veg. The only potatoes I eat are sweet potatoes, and they are infrequent. I’ve tried to climb higher on the less processed side of any grain choice. I’m turned on to whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and couscous. I eat oatmeal instead of cereal. And the only bread I eat tends to be on Saturday, and its usually something special from Whole Foods bakery — like Olive Bread, 12 grain sourdough, or Jalapeno Cheddar. YUMMY!
My typical lunch is a spinach salad with shrimp or chicken — plus avocado, carrots, currents, katamala olives, carrots, cucumbers, really fresh, really great. I haven’t eaten salad dressing in years. We’ve learned to dress the protein with spices and there is so much flavor in there that to cover it with dressing would be like wearing your bath robe over your prom dress. Don’t cover up something wonderful with salad dressing!!
So, Diane, this all sounds really good, and REAL — so why do you say you still need a REAL food change? Yes — this is REAL food, and by that I mean, it’s healthy, fueling food. In my mind, I differentiate this type of food from non-food Food. Ohhh, You Know What I’m Talkin’ About!! Ice cream, chips, pretzels, cake, candy….need I go on?? So while I’ve made meaningful and lasting change in soooo many facets of my eating, I still binge. I still lose control and over eat non-food. There have been times when I eat fists full of almonds. 10 cookies at one time. A bag of chips all at once. I’m not sure why. It’s reflexive, and happens so fast, that there’s no time to evaluate the Whys. But this is Exactly What Needs To Happen. And so it Will Happen.
For the past two weeks I’ve been focused on this One thought. “Why Binge? What is driving you Diane? What do you need sweetheart? “
While focussing on this question for a few weeks, a funny thing happened. I calmed down. And. My bingeing desire also calmed waaay down. Slowing down. Relaxing my tension about my eating, caused me to slow down enough to think about my choices. It gave me the necessary few minutes to decide, to D.E.C.I.D.E if I really wanted to eat those chips, instead of just having a peach, or some cherries. You know what? Most times, with enough time to get my thoughts in control of my actions…..I chose the peach or the cherries. Heck, sometimes I had the peach AND the cherries, LOL…but it was still a better choice than the chips. These past two weeks have been very satisfying. Much less manic in the food department. I haven’t been frantic about when, When, WHEN, W.H.E.N. am I going to get my next treat??!! The food bingeing wasn’t my pacifier these past two weeks. Without realizing it, I was creating other soothing habits to take the place of the food bingeing. I have been drinking alot of Jasmine Green Tea. I’ve been making and consuming alot of home-made Lemonade (just lemons, ice, water and a splenda). I’ve been running, and biking, and walking and gardening. Basically, I have been releasing my stress into the wind….and not releasing it into a bag of chips or an ice cream bowl. The almonds miss me. Hey, we still cuddle….just not as often, and no fists allowed!
So..how has it felt?
It’s been surprisingly peaceful. Relaxing. Like a huge weight has been lifted. I don’t think I ever EVER fully realized just how wound up around food I have been all my life. Even now, almost 2 years into Weight Watchers……I have a lot more “letting go” to do. Lets face it, Dieting is kind of like a weaning process. Somewhat like taking the pacifier away from your three-year old. It’s HARD! And it’s not a straight line to the goal. There is alot of back pedaling and revisiting old, less healthy habits. But — that’s not a problem. It’s expected. The only time it becomes a problem is IF you quit. If you give up on yourself, and stop trying. Long long ago, I wrote a post about moving from Doubt — to Wonder — to Trying. Notice that I didn’t say you move from Trying — to Finishing. Nope, no Finishing. There’s no such thing. I don’t think you are ever Finished. Ohhh, Dieters HATE THIS. To us, this sounds like we are NEVER DONE DIETING!! SH#T!! D@mn!! H#LL!!
Well….How about this?? Be done Dieting today. Be done with it. Right Now. Done.
Now Take a deep breath. And start Eating Healthy and Taking Care of yourself. That’s the Weight Watchers Way, and it really is the Only Way. Never Finishing THAT feels sooo Much Better. For me this has happened in Phases over the past Two Years. And combined with exercise, running for me… making healthy choices helps me get up the hill faster. Getting up the hill faster makes me make better choices….and so on and so on. This is also a vicious cycle….but a Bad @ss one!! I’ll Keep It!!
Ciao for now…..Diane