I should write something spiritual for Holy Week but food is on my mind.
I am in the 147s this week, two pounds to go. This morning, however, I felt like eating and eating so I ate two pieces of GF toast with honey and coconut butter along with my smoothie. It was not hunger. It was loneliness and relief and any other emotion you can name. Heightened feelings of any kind can make me want to eat. Not always, not as much as they did six months ago, but often enough to remind me of the need for continued vigilance.
It helps to have eliminated whole categories of food from my diet–we’ve gone gluten-free vegan for Lent and perhaps, with some minor modifications, forever. I am no longer tempted by real bread. Meat has no appeal whatsoever though maybe some fish. As soon as I think about taking myself out to lunch to celebrate getting through a difficult conversation I think about wading through a menu of glutinous, cheesy, meaty gunk and say no thanks.
It is funny to see a big gloppy sandwich in a TV commercial and be tempted for an instant and then imagine biting into it and thinking, no, I just want a tiny slice of that sandwich, three bites. Really. The thought of eating the whole thing or even half of it is overwhelming. But it is bread and meat and cheese so I don’t have to even think about it.
“I don’t eat any of that stuff” is my new mantra. I was repeating it and laughing when my daughter-in-law was describing the perfect mac and cheese she’d had at a restaurant. There is a great sense of freedom in having liberated myself from even having to consider foods that I know are bad for me, and, progressively, from even the hunger for them.
The rewards are considerable. I continue to lose weight steadily and my cholesterol and Vic’s blood sugar and blood pressure are back within healthy range.
It is very much like giving up cigarettes (I speak from experience; I smoked for two years when I was old enough to know better). You may wish for a cigarette or a cheeseburger now and then but you just don’t want to go down that road. The hunger goes away if you don’t indulge it.
The difference with food may be that you can usually have a few bites of a bad food, if you really want it, because depriving yourself might make you want it even more. This is what most experts say and this is the Weight Watchers philosophy: Don’t deprive yourself.
I don’t totally buy that. Here is where narrowing down what I eat helps. If I feel like indulging myself I can usually find a substitute within the categories of food I allow myself–because self indulgence is really what it’s all about. Treats. Want a cheeseburger? How about, instead, a salad loaded with goodies like avocado and nuts and dried cranberries? Want a slice of Chicago-style pizza? How about, instead, two slices of Amy’s GF-DF Spinach Pizza with a glass of red wine?
Pulling this switch on myself reminds me of how I often handled my young children: how about playing with this set of measuring cups instead of that glass vase? The hungry little kid in me wants something but it doesn’t have to be a cheeseburger. This morning’s treat was the extra toast. It was enough. I stopped wanting to eat and eat.
So. No ham and scalloped potatoes for Easter. I don’t even want them. I may break the vegan fast and serve salmon with the usual grilled asparagus and maybe a pilaf and strawberries with whipped coconut cream and have two glasses of wine. That sounds like a feast to me.