Posted by: Hil | May 25, 2009

Trial and Error

 

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One lesson I’ve learned about food is that what works for you at one point in time may not work at another.  Bodies, schedules and seasons all change, and its important to take stock every now and then of how well things are working for you.  I’ve been in the process of reevaluating my eating for the last couple of weeks now that I’ve started my summer internships.  The last six months of my life have been interesting to say the least.  I took a leap of faith and let go of my food journal, which I had been absolutely faithful to for almost a year.  I stopped weighing myself and learned to gauge my body by my clothes and the way that I felt.  I got involved with yoga again.  I worked at busy, stressful job that I adored.  I took time to examine my attitudes about a lot of things and found a sense of peace with my life and with myself that had been lacking. 

It was a wonderful and rewarding six months, but, to be honest, food fell to the back burner for me.  There were other things at the forefront of my mind, and I think that on some level, I needed to reassure myself that I could eat well and maintain my weight without spending as much mental and physical energy on food as I had been.  All things considered, I did pretty well.  I didn’t eat as much produce or walk as many miles as I used to, but I maintained a basically healthy diet and my weight didn’t change much.  I think that my average weight may have settled at a slightly higher point, but I’m still within my comfortable range.  All of my clothes still fit and I definitely didn’t experience the out-of-control gain that I was afraid of.  Looking back, I feel that I could definitely live happily like that for short periods of time if the busy-making things in my life were really worth it.  That externship was worth it.  However, I don’t feel as physically vibrant now as I used to, and I don’t feel as in tune with my food as I used to.  As I said, the externship was worth what I gave up, but I want phases like that in my life to be the exception rather than the rule.

I’ve been rereading French Women Don’t Get Fat, which I love, and it has inspired me to try to get back in touch with my gastronomical appetites and joys.  After last semester, I know that I can live without my food log, but I am going to go back to it at least for a few days while I try to get back to my previous level of self-awareness and joy with food.

Today was day one.  I wasn’t very hungry at breakfast, so I had a small banana sliced up and topped with a spoonful of peanut butter, and a small glass of milk.  The weather was beautiful, so the Lemonator and I went on a three mile walk.  Full time work in heels really put a damper on my walking, and I forgot how much I love it.  I felt invigorated, but hungry when I got back, so I set about making lunch: spinach salad with avocado, chicken, dijon vinaigrette and a whole wheat pita.

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While I was making the salad, I caught myself going on autopilot with the amount of ingredients I was putting in, starting to add whatever I had in the fridge and needed to use.  I put in the amount that I thought I would need (significantly less), and sure enough, I was full and satisfied at the end of lunch.  Would it have been the end of the world if I’d eaten a little bit of extra chicken and avocado?  Absolutely not.  But small things add up, and I want to get back to a place where I eat what I want rather than what happens to be in front of me.

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After a full afternoon of errands, I was pretty hungry, so I had a midafternoon snack of another small banana with peanut butter.

I was especially happy with dinner tonight.  Much to my glee, I found perfectly ripe mangos at the store, so I had about a cup of diced mango as an appetizer.  I love mango because although it is so healthy, it completely satisfies the part of me that wants something sweet.  Mango that is perfectly ripe is so sweet and juicy and has this magical zing to it.  When I have a perfectly ripe mango to eat, I honestly do not mind (or even think about) not having dessert.

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The Lemonator and I wanted to have burgers for dinner in honor of memorial day, but I felt like doing something different with them.  So we decided to make pita burgers with wilted spinach and homemade tahini sauce.  This experiment is a definite keeper and I have every intention of making this again over the summer.  The flavor combinations were great, and it was just plain fun to eat.  They were also very filling.  I couldn’t quite finish mine, but the Lemonator was happy to help me with my last few bites.  The Lemonator, for his part, was shocked that he had no desire for a second burger, which is his usual habit.

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I started out just to make something different and tasty…we had pita in the house (and no hamburger buns) and things went from there.  But as I was eating it, it occurred to me that these pita burgers are actually healthier than your standard cheeseburger.  Pita gives you just enough bread to make the burger seem complete, but not nearly as much as a hamburger bun.  Wilted spinach allows you to get a serving or two of vegetables into the burger.  And the tahini sauce gave the burger the creaminess that I wanted without all the saturated fat that cheese would have added.  I call that a win win!

I know that this new venture of mine isn’t going to be easy.  My summer is going to be very busy.  I will have a long commute three days a week, and I won’t have the flexible schedule that I do during the school year.  But I know that I can find a way to take care of myself and stay in tune with my body, even if I am busy.

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Responses

  1. That’s awesome that you’re doing things your way and taking these little steps. It’s too easy to grab an extra handful/mouthful of something when we don’t need it- and so satisfying to eat a little less and realize it’s the perfect amount!

    And completely agree with you about the mango 😀

  2. I think it really is about knowing yourself and being comfortable with your food decisions!

    And I think any fruit can make the perfect dessert if it’s delicious and juicy and mmm yummy.

  3. Mmm, those pita burgers look delicious!


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