Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 281 - Out with the Old

Mood: Disappointed

Weight: 152 lbs

Today is Thursday, March 8, 2012. I've gained 2 pounds. I know exactly why: I haven't been exercising, I've skipped breakfast more often than not, & the things I've been eating are more for convenience & have very little nutritional value. I'm admitting to this because it's a sign that I'm falling back into old habits. This is not acceptable.

Not only have I fallen into the habit of not taking care of my body, I've fallen into the habit of not caring about my body.

The past few weeks I've been really distracted. I started looking for a new job. And just days ago, I gave my notice of resignation at my current job. Change is happening all around me. It's scary and unsettling. I think I've subconsciously found this time of great change to be an excuse to turn to what I'm comfortable with in other areas of my life. I've made food my comfort, and that disappoints me after all the hard work I put in initially. 

It's true that for the past few months I haven't been going at it as hard or as dedicated as I should. Even this blog has fallen off my priority list. When I come back to post, I'm ashamed at how misrepresented my reality has been. I'm embarrassed when I read my older posts and all my enthusiastic moments: "I'm motivated again! I'm going to get back on the wagon now! I'm committed to achieving my goals!" 

The voice of self-criticism speaks up again: "Yeah right, Michelle. You're a liar. A fraud. A failure."

I'm not going to let that voice get the best of me today. But I'm not going to proclaim that I'm determined to rise against it either. I'm just going to accept that I haven't been as healthy as I could be & ask myself why. That's what this blog is about, in large part, anyway. It's about finding the reasons for my habits. Healthy-living still isn't one of my habits, despite the fact that I've lost a bunch of weight. I still have the mind of a lazy, overweight child instead of that of a self-sufficient, confident adult. Unless I really take the time to find out why I am what I am, it will be difficult if not impossible to become something else.

Today I had a salad for lunch. It wasn't delicious, and it wasn't even low-calorie (560 cals with dressing). It tasted like obligation. I ate fast because I just wanted to get it over with. I didn't savor it. I didn't even like it. But I ate it all, and now I'm full, but I'm not satisfied. Why do I feel that food has to satisfy me emotionally instead of just nutritionally? 

Satisfaction, by definition:
The fulfillment or gratification of a desire, need, or appetite.
Pleasure or contentment derived from such gratification.
A source or means of gratification.
Compensation for injury or loss; reparation.
The opportunity to avenge a wrong; vindication.
Assurance beyond doubt or question; complete conviction.

Am I seeking pleasure from food? If so, why? Am I attempting to use food to gratify something else? Some other loss or wrong-doing? Does it provide some kind of assurance or peace of mind I'm not getting from other means? If so, what can I do to obtain those feelings or fulfill those needs without relying on food?

The only true purpose of food is to provide nutrients to keep the body functioning. It's not supposed to solve my problems or bring me joy. So, why is good-tasting food such an exciting experience? And why do I feel ripped-off if I don't get that experience from food?

These are questions I need to start asking myself every time I eat, and even before I eat, when I'm making decisions about what to eat. Am I choosing this food because of the experience or because of the nutritional content? What's more alluring about a bowl of mac & cheese than a plate of veggies? Is it the temperature, the texture, the saltiness, the flavor? How can I recreate that experience with foods that are good for me instead of always getting it from the unhealthy ones?

I don't have all the answers yet, but hopefully by thinking about this more I can begin to identify some. 

In the meantime, here are some pictures of my weekend with my family. We had a BBQ for my Dad's birthday. Typically, we'd go out to a restaurant and order high-calorie, high-fat, tantalizingly delicious food as a "treat". Instead we grilled fresh veggies & meats on the BBQ and it was not only cheaper but also pretty good-tasting! I'm especially proud of the healthy snacks & appetizers we had instead of the usual chips & dips.

Appetizers & Finger Foods
(The garlic-stuffed olives were the best!)

Pasilla Peppers stuffed with cheese, chicken legs, & sausages.

Marinated steak & veggie kebabs.

This year, my Dad's "treat" was a healthy blood-sugar level. Both of my parents have Type 2 Diabetes, they both take insulin, and they both sleep with breathing machines. They know I want them to be around for as long as possible, and they know I love them regardless of their weight or eating habits, but I'm glad they both see for themselves the difference better food has on their health. Now I just have to remember to take my own advice! :)

Mom & Dad

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions or substitution ideas for how to make healthy foods resemble comfort foods, please post them in the comments or on my Facebook page! If you need some ideas to get you started, check out this article with 5 Comfort Food Swaps.

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