Weighty Matters

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Time Management of Nutrition and Not Feeling Deprived

on March 15, 2012

First off, sorry about missing a post yesterday.  I didn’t have a breather at all during the day and when I got home from Tai Chi class last night, my brain was far too relaxed to form coherent thought!

Today I’m doing well but I experienced something that really drove home the lesson that life has changed in a huge way.   Normally, I have breakfast — usually a protein shake — around 7:30 am – 8:00 am.  I then have a protein snack of some sort around 10:30 — a cheese stick, a thin slice of deli meat, or a little yogurt, for example.  Lunch hits around 12:30.  Snack around 3:00.  Dinner by 6:00.  The idea is for me to consume what I need nutrition-wise, in small portions, spaced out every two to three hours.

I don’t experience hunger in the way that I used to before my surgery.   However, whether I’m hungry or not, my body physically needs the calories, protein and other nutrients in order for me to appropriately function.  This morning I got thrown off.  Family visited the center where I work so I went out to spend some time with them mid-morning.  I remembered to bring water but forgot to shove a cheese stick in my pocket.  I probably would have been okay but then we got a surprise drop-in visit from someone who’d visited here 40 years ago and needed someone to look at his video, etc. etc.  Long and the short of it, I didn’t get back to my office until after 12 noon.  All of a sudden, I got the shakes.  Thankfully, as soon as I nibbled enough food over  the next 15 minutes, the trembling subsided and my focus came back.  I’m fine now.  Whew.  I will not forget this lesson.   I will not go out on grounds without a snack in my pocket.  Time management is key!

The whole incident pointed out some other differences to me, too.  Before, whenever I mustered up the drive and went on a diet, I’d cut out foods that I really liked.  Needless to say I always felt deprived.  I hated not being able to have chocolate or other sweets.  As soon as I knew I wasn’t eating fried foods, I’d begin to crave them.  I might feel temporarily virtuous about substituting spaghetti squash for fettucine, but inside my psyche was wailing, “I want pasta!”   Feeling deprived soon led to resentment.  I might be happy about the pounds I lost, but I was eternally grumpy about the measures it took for me to lose them.

I feel differently today.  Maybe it’s the honeymoon period, but for the first time in my life I understand the “eat to live, not live to eat” thing.  When I plan out my day’s worth of food, I don’t even think of what I’m not having and don’t feel deprived.  Instead I freely make decisions based on what my body really needs versus what I used to think I craved.  The priority is getting in the protein.  Just as a for instance, the other night a few hours after dinner I was ready for the evening snack.  At that time, I’ll often allow myself a little treat of a no sugar added Italian ice or sugar free popsicle.  (I’m slow working some more fruit back into my plan.)  However, that night I checked my day’s food counts and saw that I hadn’t met my protein target for the day.  So, instead of the Italian ice, I poured a cup of non-fat milk.   No cookies; just the milk.  I think I amazed myself.

I also don’t feel deprived that I can’t physically consume greater quantities of the foods that I do eat.  I’m doing much better with my mindful eating, so I thoroughly enjoy the small amounts of tasty food.   I’m satisfied physically.  If I ever get a regretful twinge that I couldn’t delight my taste buds with more at the time, I remind myself that there will be another time when I can enjoy that particular dish.

This is all very freeing and pretty empowering.  I’m transforming my relationship with food from one that was wildly dysfunctional at best to one that is healthy and nurturing.



4 responses to “Time Management of Nutrition and Not Feeling Deprived

  1. lunarmom says:

    Gah. I needed this tonight Mary. Not doing well with my own “deprivation consciousness” over here in the Rain Forest. So, thanks.

  2. londonmabel says:

    “I remind myself that there will be another time when I can enjoy that particular dish.” That’s a good way to think of it, for all of us.

  3. Mary Stella says:

    Hi, Marti,

    Right now my goal is 60-80 grams of protein a day. I can hit this consistently, particularly if I start the day with a protein shake. I don’t really like the ready made drinks from the stores any more and prefer to make my own with a scoop of Solar protein powder and a cup of non fat milk. This starts me off with about 28 grams first thing. I can also consume it easily over half an hour without overfilling my stomach. I’d need to eat more eggs than I could fit in a single sitting in order to get that many grams.

    I don’t know if the protein goal will change in the coming months, but this is what the doctor instructed me to do, so I’m trying to stick to the guidelines.

    Thanks so much for following the blog and for all your supportive comments!

  4. Marti says:

    Hey Mary!
    I’m curious, what is your target for protein?

    I’m really enjoying your blog and witnessing the changes in you as a person… You’ve grown a lot and your commitment to putting it (and yourself) out there is nothing short of courageous!

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