What to eat…

Friends, you may remember that I came kicking and screaming into this 1,200 calorie diet baloney. I complained about being hangry and wanting to chew off my–or preferably someone else’s–arm.

I’m a changed woman.

I sit here, typing this blog entry, having consumed 901 calories today and thinking hard–much too hard–about what to eat next.

In the past, I’d be at this point because I was nearing my maximum calorie budget and trying to figure out how to cram 500 calories worth of food in a 250 calorie budget. This time it’s a little different.

I’m simply not hungry.

It’s 9pm. Dinner ended up being an English Muffin with 1/2 ounce of goat cheese. That’s just not adequate, even though it feels like it was. It was certainly pretty tasty.

I’m bored right now. Stuck in my house on call for work, not able or willing to start any fun projects. That’s always been prime grazing/snacking time. But no. No urge.

I’d like to consume just 199 more calories so I can hit 1100 and try to avoid pushing my body into starvation mode making weight loss even more inefficient than it already is. But, I’m not really in the mood to eat or prepare anything else, and I don’t want to just eat a bowl of sugary cereal or something equally unhealthy just to fit in my calories.

At the risk of sounding cheesy–lowfat cheese, of course–I really think this diet has changed me. Because I’m eating fewer carbs, I’m experiencing fewer carb cravings. Fewer cravings, in general. Because the carbs are high quality (whole grain breads, beans, lentils, brown rice), I’ve been able to maintain focus. I’ve always struggle with memory issues and lack of attention span when I’ve done other low-carb diets.

I’m hungry less often, and I think about food less frequently. I still appreciate good food and enjoy eating–don’t get me wrong–but I feel like I’ve lost this connection to it that has made my relationship with it unbalanced, unhealthy, obsessive or simply needy.

What in the world has happened?

I’ve also broken up with my long-term relationship with caffeine. Boyfriends (some anyway) come and go, but most consistently in my life, there has been coffee. I started drinking coffee in college, upon discovering the joys of a nonfat latte and my consumption continued to increase gradually over the years as navigating challenging work environments, stress or grad school study sessions seemed to entitle me to treat myself with a caffeine boost. Sad thing was: it didn’t even work anymore. I could have a cup of coffee and be asleep within half an hour.

While I still have caffeinated beverages every now and again (typically no more than twice a week), I don’t ever feel like I need it. And often, I also don’t want it.

Perhaps my biggest challenge was my lunchtime cookie fix. Even though my diet was very healthy and eliminated most junk food, the one habit I couldn’t break was a cookie at the campus dining hall EVERY DAY after lunch. Sometimes two. The cookies are made with whole grains, reduced fat and reduced sugar, but they’re still cookies (100 calories a pop, 3 g fat). I always fit those cookies in my calorie budget, but I didn’t like the fact that I felt as if I had no control over whether I chose to have one. I think I’ve had just ONE of those cookies in the past 3 weeks. Mind you, I previously attempted to give them up during Lent. That lasted 3 hours. I made the promise around breakfast time and broke it during my 12 o’clock lunch break with colleagues. I felt like I needed and deserved that treat.

And really, I now realize any food issues–either previously or currently–have been about entitlement. I lost weight by reducing the calories I ate and replacing crap with healthier foods, but I always hung on to “treats”–even, most recently, a daily “splurge” of a 25-50 calorie piece of dark chocolate. I had a piece this afternoon. Didn’t love it. Didn’t really feel like I needed to have it. It wasn’t worth it.

Now that leaves me figuring out what kind of relationship I want to have with food. It’s a little like breaking up with someone who is in your same social network. You maybe still love them, but you feel like you’ve lost a connection to them, yet you need to create this new relationship because you can’t really get rid of them. It’s not some kind of social networking relationship gone wrong–I can’t defriend eating. That’s me and food.

So… now it’s your turn. What is your relationship with food?


One response to “What to eat…

  1. I’m so happy for you. Conquering the cravings is the main issue, I think. That’s amazing that those have gone away. Oh, and almost eliminating caffeine? Unheard of! (At least for me).

    Food and I have a love-hate relationship. It is how I celebrate with my family & culture, yet it’s also how I sometimes overindulge when I’m by myself. I love good food, love to cook, and enjoy being healthy but every once in a while those cravings hit, and it matters little if I’m really physically hungry or not, I just NEED to eat. I hate that part of it. It’s something that I’m working on, though, and when I’m doing well with my weight loss, exercising, and eating well, I tend to be better with ignoring the cravings. The mind is a powerful thing.

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