Throughout the day, I have a lot of conversations with myself about food, or more specifically, about my food choices. I’m beginning to realize how often I talk myself into making bad choices. It is obvious to me that in those mental conversations, I can influence my behavior either way.
Even when I’m doing well, as I have for the last several days, I still have the internal chats arise — usually when I’m stressed, short on time, something’s happened that’s made me cranky, I’m tired, etc. All of the vulnerable times open up the conversation. A few days ago, I told you about being face to plate with a large red velvet cake and withstanding the temptation. Trust me, I went back and forth about it a few times, but the positive program choice prevailed.
Last night, I almost got thrown off course. I’d decided in the morning that I was ready for some lean chicken as a protein for dinner and planned to get a cooked rotisserie chicken at the supermarket on the way home from work. Thinking even further ahead, I also wanted to pick up some onions and more carrots so that on Sunday, I could use the chicken carcass and vegetables to make some stock. I needed a couple of other things to get me through the weekend, too.
The best laid plans went a tad awry when I got to the store around 5:15 and discovered that the only prepared/cooked chickens left were either the barbecue or maple-bourbon varieties. (Side note: While I love the maple-bourbon combo on, say, ribs, I think I would find it disgusting on poultry. I’m not fond of barbecue sauce on chicken either.) I asked the guys behind the counter about more chicken and discovered that it wouldn’t be ready for another 45 minutes.
Ack! I was already hungry for dinner. I couldn’t wait that long at the store because I needed to get home and let Nat and Pyxi out in the yard. I could have picked up the fried chicken tenders that were sitting there all ready, or some of the pre-cooked pork roast but, darn it, I’d planned! I’d committed. I’d gone so far as writing down my meal in the morning.
The chatter of my own mental process was considerable and annoying. Finally I took a deep breath and let the calmer, sensible side of me take over. I decided that staying with my plan was more important than a little inconvenience. I drove home to let out the dogs, staved off the hunger with a couple of pieces of celery, and went back to the store a little later to get the chicken and other items that I wanted.
This morning, the plan was to go to Tai Chi class, come home for my mid-morning snack, and then go to the massage therapist for some body work. Well, I was delayed leaving class and didn’t have time to go home for the snack. I knew that I needed to eat and drink something before the massage or I’d be starving, and possibly light-headed, by the time we finished the session.
There are a lot of places to go and get something to eat between where I was and my destination. Lots of places with lots of easy, but unhealthy choices. In my mind chatter I considered numerous possibilities, all of them poor. Then I remembered that I also had to pass the only Health Food store in town. Instead of going to a convenience store for a chocolate bar or almost-as-bad-but-masquerading-as-healthy protein bar, I went to the health food store and got a raw, no-sugar added-veggie & fruit juice and a package of organic walnuts. Even though they were not the foods that I’d previously planned for that morning snack, they were the best possible option given the circumstances. So, I gave myself a pass and counted it as a win. Yes, I had to have another talk with myself to get to that point, but it worked.
I hope this doesn’t make me sound all crazy. I haven’t reached the point where I walk down the street and talk out loud, after all. I don’t blurt things out verbally in public places. Communicating with myself is part of my process, and it’s proven to be a useful tool when I use it to successfully stay on track. Granted, there are times when the chat goes more along the lines of, “#*$& it, I need a cookie”, but the goal is to not give into those urges too often.
As of today, I’m on Day 6 of reclaiming my recovery and if I sometimes need to talk to myself to stay on track, I’ll use it like I will every other available tool.
Healthy snack suggestion: A lonnnng time ago, I talked about baking kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack. A few days ago, a friend shared on Facebook that she’d made her kale chips in the microwave. I just had to try doing this today. You see, I love kale chips when they first come out of the oven. Unfortunately, after they’ve been in an air-tight container a while, they tend to get a little chewy. I decided that if the microwave technique worked, I would always be able to make snack-sized portions in a snap.
I am thrilled with the results and it was so easy. Just take clean, dry kale (stems removed) and toss it in a little bit of olive oil and salt or other seasonings. Spread it on a microwave-safe plate and put it in the microwave oven for 3-5 minutes, depending on the wattage of your appliance. Mine took 4 1/2 minutes. I checked them and retossed about half way through. The finished chips were crisp and tasty!