Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Visit to the Doctor

My doctor, bless her heart, decided that it was "time to do something" about my weight. And in truth, I have to admit she's right. I'm not in prime "Biggest Loser" territory, but I do have some health issues that should be a lot better if there was less of me. So, while I wouldn’t commit to being on some really controlled diet, I did agree to try to make the numbers on the scales head in the downward direction.

Looks healthy, but at 840 calories
I need to skip this at Arby's..
Diet has always been a nasty word in my vocabulary. “Diet” conjures up thoughts of strict calorie counting (omg! that ‘healthy’ chicken salad sandwich has 800 calories!), limitations of certain foods (whaddya mean, no bread?) and drink (oh no! not my wine!) and in general a sense of a feeling of dissatisfaction. So I simply refuse to go on a diet.

My doctor suggested that I might give up carbs, meaning rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread. I countered that this would be an issue since half of me is hillbilly and hillbillies practically live on potatoes, it’s simply in my genetic makeup. Bread would also be an issue since I'm an avid home baker and this is a big part of who I am (obviously literally as well as figuratively). For heaven’s sake I have eight different types of flour in my pantry!

Finally, after a bit of well-intentioned prodding, she agreed to let me come up with a solution on my own so I promised to give it some thought and we’d see how things were coming along in a month.

Well, I tend to put my deep problems on the back burner and let my subconscious work on them for awhile. Or, put another way, I had other things to worry about. After a week where I thought I had been half-heartily watching my food intake, I stepped on the scales and nothing had changed. No gain, but more importantly, no loss. Somehow I must have thought that I could simply will the pounds off without making any modifications to my very comfortable world.

Friends and food - part of my
social life.
So I began to think more about my food world. Anyone that knows me can tell you I love food. Food and I get along pretty well. I like to cook, I like to eat out, and meals with friends are a big part of my social life. Still.....there are many times when my relationship with food is somewhat less than healthy. To paraphrase Othello, I have dined well but not always wisely.

The difference between dining and eating doesn't seem all that great. Truly, when you dine you are eating. But most of us eat without dining. The difference is the mindfulness we bring to the table. All too often, I find myself eating at the computer or sitting in front of the television. Eating without noticing what, or how much, I am eating and it is a waste. It is a waste of the good food Providence blessed us with. It is a waste of the joy that could, and should, have come from the food. And it is waste of the health of the person who eats negligently – namely me.

I had a similar conversation with myself last year when the Fibromyalgia diagnosis hit, so I’ve already been working to eat healthier foods in general. Plus, as I’ve gotten more involved in the local food community I do my best to promote the idea of local foods and sustainability. What I seemed to be missing was the quantity discussion, as in ‘too much of a good thing’.

So, beginning this week, I am trying to eat mindfully and with awareness. To continue to pay attention to what I am eating…where it comes from…how it was prepared… what it tastes like…whether it is building me or damaging me…whether it is sustainable, and whether it sustains me. I will try to differentiate between just plain food and GOOD FOOD and aim to consume only food that is appropriate for me and food I genuinely like. And overall, to eat just a little bit less but try to enjoy it more.

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