I am really proud of myself, really. Here I am, starting off my fourth day of a strict fresh-healthy-balanced meal plan and 1) I feel pretty good, 2) I'm totally getting into the swing of things and 3) I made my very first risotto last night and it did not suck!
The trick I think (not to the risotto, the other things) is that I eat every 3-4 hours. And since all the meals are really filling it seems like I'm getting to snack time right as, or even before, I'm hungry again. Since my traditional style is coffee for breakfast, starving by 11, grazing on little bites of whatever I can find (like a bite of Anna's sandwich, goldfish, some toast, crackers, cookies, etc.) that by dinner time I'm full but unsatisfied and eat way more than I need.
This wasn't always true. Last year, with all the wacky and crazy going on, I got WAY addicted to my routines. I had lists of lists sub-divided into alternate lists. Totally a control thing in a world gone mad. Anyway, as part of the recovery education, Kurt and I both learned a lot about the nutritional side of mental health. These days it seems the go-to solution is medication and a lot of docs leave it there. But with my compulsive lists, research and goal-oriented behavior I found out there is a lot more to it than that. Don't get me wrong, I took my pills and still do. Some things a vegetable alone will not heal.
But there's so much evidence that a healthy lifestyle, even down to something so simple as water, can have a major impact on depression. At the hospital the nurses were constantly following us around with cups of water to help our bodies process the medications more effectively. Turns out there are some meds that won't even work if you don't take enough water with them.
From water I jumped to sugars and processed foods, learning more about how they effect your brain function as well as your bodily functions. I got into a very, very healthy eating and exercise plan last year that did a lot, A LOT, to carry me back to me.
But time goes on and things start to slip. I've been skipping workouts as more "important" things come up, eating on the fly with whatever's at hand, skipping breakfast, drinking too much caffeine, etc. Doing this week, even just three days so far, I feel better. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel clean. Having it all laid out for me, too, in a neat little grid that I can check off and review, appeals to my inner control-freak. I'm loving having a list, even when everything on it is not so appealing.
I don't love it all. No. I do not like plain egg whites except in smoothies, I just don't. And smoothies with nothing but milk and oatmeal, flax and half a banana? Very texture-ly disturbing. The thing is, though, that it's a lifestyle, not a diet plan. So yeah, I can replace, adjust, find the things I like. This week I'm trying everything at least once, just to see if I might like it. That's what I always tell Anna, right? Turns out oats added to a regular fruit smoothie are not bad and that sucker will expand and fill you up for DAYS. Live and learn.
So now I'm contemplating adding my current comfort with flexibility to my past (ok, and present) obsession with controlled routines. And I think I can do this. Not totally limited, not without good old-fashioned chocolate cake and a tasty sweet latte from time to time, but in a general way. It tastes (mostly) good and I feel good. How nice is that?
I want all and sundry to know though, next Sunday evening we're having dinner over at my father-in-law's place and he's making a traditional, cooked-the-sauce-all-day, lasagne for us. I cannot wait. The best part? Considering how well I'm eating this week, I have absolutely no guilt about the upcoming indulgence. I plan to enjoy every. single. bite. YUM.
Day 3 in review:
I'm sticking to the grains for breakfast since the egg-whites are just gross, especially first thing in the morning. A nice whole grain cereal topped with a sprinkle of ground flax (not bad like I imagined), some fruit and peanut butter toast. Big breakfasts seem counter-intuitive but are SO working great for me. And coffee. Oh my, yes.
Lunch was a grilled chicken salad with a whole wheat tortilla-- boring but fine. Snacks are my favorites right now because there's no prep at all. The best for me is a handful of almonds and an apple, with a cup of tea. Also did the Amazing Expanding Smoothie with Magic Rolled Oats.
For dinner I made the risotto with scallops and roasted asparagus and Kurt said it was "Awesome!!". Stirring risotto non-stop for half an hour is a pain-- in the wrist. It was a time-intensive dinner and I was grumpy by the end of it, just thinking about all those dishes I now have to wash, but it was good, I have to admit. Yay, me. I skipped the after-dinner snack, I was just too full.
PS. I know you are all THRILLED to be reading blow-by-blow accounts of what I eat each day. I hope that by Day 7 your joy will know no bounds (because it'll be over, right?).