Confession: Sometimes it feels like the majority of adult female life consists of torturing myself back into the correct shape after forgetting myself for, you know, six hours.
One of the things I’ve realized about myself in the past few years is that I come from a long line of Eves addicted to food. And the other is that for me, eating assists both my grief and my celebration. Double whammy. Worse still, the less time I have to think about my own care, the less mindfully I eat.
(You might wonder which way this goes. Sadly, I am not one of those women who wastes away.)
I have spent time this year undoing the lazy patterns into which I slipped last year, through a combination of stress, busyness, and an overdose of toddlers. I’ve found some interesting writings on food addiction (which I can strongly identify with – not to minimize the intensity of the struggle for women who fight a bigger battle). Glenn Livingston writes about our lizard brains in some really helpful ways, and about returning to “rules” instead of “guidelines.” And I’ve discovered that how well I am taking care of myself in the food department is nearly always enmeshed with how well I am taking care of myself in other ways.
Though I do not like the idea of a “diet,” the truth is that we all have one, whether we choose it intentionally it or not, and it does me good to think of mine (and modify it) occasionally.
the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
I have realized that because of my age, culture, and genetics, I am not the kind of person who will ever again be able to eat whatever I want wherever I want whenever I want and be healthy and feel good. But I also like food, and I think it’s meant to be enjoyed with freedom and gratitude, not with shame, and I don’t like cutting out food groups or food styles (even ones that would commonly be labelled unhealthy), or in general doing anything radical in the culinary department if I can help it.
I have to live in this world and eat at its table, contaminated or no, and so far the Lord has extended his mercy in allowing me to do so without severe reaction.
However. From time to time, I realize I need to get in charge of bad habits, remember how to deny myself, and reinforce my independence from constant calories. Despite the snark in my opening statement, I prefer to focus on the health of my choices rather than on a specific shape or poundage. (Such a lovely, light word, poundage.)
My ordinary diet of normal living, which I regularly return to and keep when I can, is what I call the “One” diet.
1 piece of fruit
1 item, usually a great salad
1 cup of coffee
1 treat, 100 calories or less
It looks Spartan, but it includes all my favorite things and allows flexibility. I love it as a rule of thumb.
I tend to veer from side to side of the ditch – eating strictly and eating indulgently. Occasionally I know I’m not in charge of myself and then I do something sterner: liquids + dinner, for a few days or a week. I would not recommend it for longer than the latter.
While avoiding rich drinks, I find this a good time to enjoy a Brisk tea (70 calories a can), an Italian soda with homemade fruit-and-honey syrup, a cup of milk, a cup of coffee, and plenty of water. I also like broth: chicken or beef, warmed in a mug.
I don’t starve, by a long shot. I feel pretty comfortable and happy, and I enjoy my dinner for sure. I suppose it is a modified fast, and it helps me feel like I’m the boss of me, and that I can do without.
Do you have to get in charge of yourself sometimes? How do you do it?
This is a vulnerable topic. Anyone who beats up on me for it, or who shames any confessor in the comment section, will first be buried alive in raw vegetables and then dug up and force fed dry toast for a month.