Hello Friends! Thanks to everyone that stops by to browse my journal as I figure things out with the rest of you. As I look back over the month of October I want to review my challenges and count my accomplishments.
In the past, October began the slow crawl up the scales that did not stop until the New Year’s resolutions started to form in my brain. Even with the best of intentions, often times the weight gained through the holiday season was not easily shed and the next October would start the weight ascent at a heavier mark than the year past.
This year, I asked myself why that had to be the case. I am a strong, even stubborn, woman. I do not let anything deter my progress when I set my mind to something. I am not afraid of hard work to meet a milestone. I am a goal-driven detailed-oriented perfectionist in so many areas of my life. Why does this body and health issue continue to trump my best efforts??
Determined to not repeat an annual tradition of weight gain through the holidays, I thought about the actions I carry out traditionally each year. Beginning in October, in preparation for the huge crowd of Halloween revelers ringing my doorbell and to help share out the cost over the month, I would buy a couple bags of the best chocolate candy bars each week.
A huge metal tub slowly filled with irresistible treats as each week passed. Eventually, a bag would find a small tear in the corner and once that filmy barrier was breached, it was game on. Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Ways and Butterfingers found their way to my mouth daily. But, I reasoned, they were “Fun Size”. How bad could a couple of itty-bitty chocolate bars be? (And seriously, as my son says, “What is fun about a candy bar that disappears in one bite? If they want to make it fun size, how about they make it as big as a loaf of bread??”)
I did things differently this year. I waited until the last shopping trip before Halloween. I bought the cheapest candy I could find. It was filled with stuff like Dots and Tootsie Rolls, all the stuff that I used to toss out of my candy bag as a kid. The ingredients were just awful too. I cannot believe that the food industry still uses hydrogenated fats!
I fell back to the quote of the month ever since reading FrozenVeg’s Star McDougaller story. “This is not food”! It would be like eating a candle or a cardboard box. Although my carpooler succinctly told me that if her candles tasted like Junior Mints, she may be tempted to nibble on them.
On the day after Halloween, I bagged up all the leftover candy and sent it to work with my husband. It was in my house less than 48 hours and gone. Problem solved!
Speaking of shopping for groceries, I am renewing my efforts of reading labels of any packaged foods I opt to buy. It is amazing how things change so quickly. Products that I purchased forever that met the McDougall guidelines now show added oil and other unnecessary additives. It takes me longer to finish the grocery shopping, but when I go through the check-out, I feel good about what is in my cart.
On this last trip, the checker commented on how many natural foods were in my cart. To be honest, I don’t like to chit-chat with the checkers about my food choices. It feels like scripted small talk. But, for some reason, on this day I felt very talkative.
Checker: “You really buy a lot of organic and natural foods and fresh vegetables. That is good. “
Me: “Yes, I try to eat as close to the whole food as possible.”
Checker: “Oh yes, Whole Foods is kind of far away.”
Me: “Oh no, not Whole Foods the store. I have shopped there but they are very expensive and I can buy everything I need here. It is easy. When I say whole foods, I mean as close to the natural state of the food as possible. No packages. And if there is a package….”
I picked up my bag of frozen peas.
Me: “… look … just one ingredient. Peas. Simple! Healthy. Life-sustaining.”
Yeah, that’s what I thought. I didn’t think she was as interested in my food choices as she originally seemed. Her script lacked the dialogue to respond to my conversation. But, it is all good. Another seed is planted. It takes a lot of pine cones to grow a forest.
Even my own forest needs tending from time to time. Because even though I buy the healthiest foods for myself and more or less enforce that on my husband, who willingly eats everything I cook with a smile and a compliment, (smart man!), I found I was being less ingenious with my son.
I found that items I would not even consider buying for myself were jumping into my cart with his needs in mind. Things like frozen bean and cheese burritos or toaster waffles. The grocery store I shop at gives away a free item each week for $20 spent. This week’s item was a dozen eggs. Free is free right? I thought that would supplement my son’s food budget.
When he moved out on his own, he only allocated $20 a month for food. That works if all you eat is Top Ramen. So, he is home most nights for my McDougall dinners and a bowl of leftovers for his lunch the next day. I can still provide him nourishing food that keeps him healthy and warms my heart. So, why, I ask, was I willing to put the crap in my basket for him that goes exactly against everything I strive for and believe in!? Why do I want to buy food that poisons his health if I would not ingest it myself!? When I ask him, he doesn’t even want the stuff I bring home.
I made a conscious choice when I was at the grocery store on this last trip that I was going to stop buying foods for my son that I would not consider eating myself. No more! It felt like it was another ratchet tightening on my health resolve. I felt something lock into place. I felt a little more connected with the fact that I am never turning back. Ever!
Those moments are so liberating and powerful! It is the moment when you know you are eating this way because you crave it! It is the moment that you can walk past the pastries and chips and they don’t scream your name anymore. In fact, they don’t even get a second glance. It is the moment you step on the scale and see the numbers you want to see, go out for your daily walk because your body is eager for the movement. It is the feeling that everything is falling into place and it feels right, not forced!
I love McDougall’s quote cited in another journal this week and from Mike Teehan’s success story, “You know what you need to do.”
And, you will know when you are doing it.