Week 18: Control issues


By Dawn

I spent a lot of time focusing on my food choices this week. What should I eat? When should I eat it? How should it be prepared? Im not unhappy with this need to focus, but rather am determined to put more structure around the nutrition portion of what Im doing. As Ive discussed with Marissa, my challenge regarding food isnt that I walk around craving it. My struggle centers around trying to fit in the smaller meals that should be spaced out evenly throughout the day to keep my metabolism in check and energy levels steady. When Im at work, I tend to be more focused on my eating schedule because many things in my world revolve around a clock. I can get breakfast on my way in, schedule a good lunch by 1:00, and work to have a light but good dinner before 9 p.m.

But when the weekend rolls around, that type of schedule is harder for me to stick to, since time is a bit more leisurely and thoughts of meals can be overtaken by my mental list of errands to run, household chores to do, etc. Marissa has helped a lot by encouraging me to keep my food journal, and pushing me to think of innovative ways to eat well in a way that works for me and my erratic schedule.

Im also finding that, should I happen to eat something thats not quite as pure and well-intentioned for me as I know it should be, I actually feel the difference (sluggishness, headache, a general “blech” feeling) in my body fairly quickly. In a strange way, Im kind of psyched by this sense of being in-tune with my body—something I don't remember ever having had to this degree before. Rather than feeling deprived, I feel in control over both my body and what I choose to put into it. Thats empowering.

And this is a good thing, since the week is rife with lunches and dinners with friends and colleagues. Because I love to talk and share quality time with the special people in my life, I look forward to outings with them. Not surprisingly, these outings are usually centered around food and drink. Im determined to not let my relationships suffer by restricting my social interactions, so I devise a way to spend the time without piling on the calories. With my crew, as long as you have a drink in your hand, youre good—so I make sure I have one, but its often seltzer with a twist of lime, which I really do like. Im not much of a drinker anyway, so I dont suffer much by employing this strategy.

When it comes to meals, I have to start getting used to the concept that I will likely be leaving at least half of my meal on my plate (I dont care much for leftovers) because I cant/dont want to eat it all just because its there (and I don't care much for leftovers). This inspires some strange looks from some companions, concern from others, but I never, ever make a big thing about the fact that Im cutting back on my bad eating habits or that I am satisfied with smaller portions than in the past. I find people who go on and on and on about the diets and fitness regimens theyre on—especially when others are trying to enjoy their meals—to be incredibly boring and self-absorbed, and Ive vowed to never be part of that group. I make it through some meals more easily than others (mashed potatoes, if on the menu, tend to up the challenge a bit), but all meals now happen after I make a conscious choice about what to eat, and that's a big change for me.

I continue my three-days-in-the-gym routine this week. It isn't getting any easier for me, but I hang in there and try, try, try—even when it hurts, which it often does. Tehera is patient but tough, and I make it through, feeling happy that I can check off another week in which Ive gotten my exercise in, both at the gym and at home.