If this is your first time reading this series, you might want to catch up here.
One last matter of ‘business’ – next week is Fall Festival 2009 – a celebration of fun, food, and friends. Four of my bloggy friends and I are hosting a week long celebration of fall. Best of all – you can join in the fun! Read about the themes here and get your posts ready for next week! I’m hosting on Wednesday & will have a great give-away. (BTW – I’ll be posting and linking up some of my favorite fall recipes all week long…)
I think this is my last post in this series. It feels done, at least for now, except for what I’m sharing today. I say ‘I think’ because I may come back to this, or a similar series in the future.
Eating everyday. We must do it. Food is a funny monster if you have, or had, a problem like I did. There is no complete abstinence – it’s full of gray areas and loopholes that require vigilance and surrender on a daily basis. Vigilance because I have to be mindful of everything that goes in my mouth and the attitude with which I eat it, and surrender because it just doesn’t go my way all of the time, no matter what I do.
If I could design everything to go my way, I would eat 5 small meals a day, about 3 or hours apart, each perfectly balanced, fresh, and satisfying. I feel best this way, never too hungry or too full, my energy stays level, and would never have to eat anything that doesn’t nourish my body.
My life doesn’t work that way, though. I have vet appointments, doctor appointments, lunches, dinner reservations, a husband that rarely gets home before 7 pm, conference calls, community commitments, grocery shopping and erranding to do…not to mention travel and airports and delayed flights. This is where the surrender comes in, and where I had to learn to eat everyday in a way that takes care of my body.
This has been another huge key to my long-term weight loss. There are days strung together when, due to circumstances beyond my control, my food just isn’t right – I don’t get enough of the right foods, which causes me to feel unbalanced and unsatisfied. I do the best I can in the situation and let it be what it is. It’s just one meal, or one day or three days – whatever time period it might be.
And then, as soon as I can, I get back to eating in a way that works for me. This is key. Notice that I don’t decide I am a failure, I don’t quit just because of one day or one week. I noticed and accepted that I was off course, did the best I could in the circumstance, and then got back on track.
There are times when there is nothing in my way at all and I eat past the point of being full or I choose the wrong food. Generally, this means that I’m upset about something and I just haven’t admitted it to myself. Though I never enjoy this experience, it’s something I’ve learned to be grateful for. I’m not always good at noticing the emotion but I do notice if my food is off. This gives me the opportunity to stop, look at what’s going on and find a solution.
The other big surrenders are constant change in what my body needs and my weight. If I could eat the same thing day in and day out, I would. It’s simple to manage and I know the outcome when I eat those foods. To me, they feel safe. Recently I’ve had to overhaul my diet and it’s not been emotionally pleasant. I’m incorporating new foods and sometimes they work and other times they don’t. Again, listening to my body, accepting what is, and making the necessary changes has been my saving grace. I constantly remind myself that it’s not forever, it’s just for right now and then look for things to be grateful for, which always changes how I see the situation.
I would love – and I mean love – for the scale to say the same number every day for the rest of my life, no matter what. I’ve had to accept that it just isn’t so. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. My weight is not a constant. For years this was an emotional roller coaster ride, one that I couldn’t get off of no matter how hard I tried. Two pounds up I was devastated. Two pounds down, I was thrilled. Today, I weigh myself once a week (when I remember to do it!) to gauge where I am. My weight doesn’t change much and I no longer worry about two pounds up and two pounds down. Instead, I focus on living a good life.
So often when it comes to weight, I hear people say they’re a fatty failure or that they’ve fallen off of the wagon and they can’t get back on. I understand this feeling – I’ve been there over and over again. Today, though, I see this differently. This is a place of choice, a turning point, where it often feels dark all around you and uncertainly wavers in the air. It’s that place where you can decide to just quit and give up, or you can decide that the only failure is quitting, and to keep going uncertain of the outcome.
You can call this whatever you want – preserverence, determination, stubbornness. I call it faith.
My diet is the one area of my life where I have consistently been able to have faith and do what works for me regardless of what anyone says, the criticism I get, the attempted shaming to ‘eat just one piece of cake – gosh, you don’t want to offend them!’ I know, without doubt, that if I want to live a good life I can not eat wheat and I can not eat refined sugar. And more than anything, I want to live a good life.
In the end, that’s what it’s really all about. It’s not really about food at all, though it looks like that to begin with. The food was just my way to hide, a big obstacle that I chose not to get past so I didn’t have to face myself and life as it is. When I’m doing my best to do the right things and to be a woman that I am proud of the rest of the stuff just doesn’t matter.
I’d love to know some of your favorite ways to manage eating everyday. Let’s talk about it.
A recipe for this week – I mentioned the diet overhaul, and one part is adding more whole grains. I came up with a great muffin that works for breakfast or anytime of day – Carrot Date Spice Muffins. It uses teff and a higher protein flour blend that I find deeply satisfying and delicious. If you haven’t seen them yet, let me know what you think.
May you find balance and freedom.