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A Change I Could Do Without

Warning:  This post is not for people with weak stomachs.  If watching someone vomit has ever triggered a sympathy hurl, you might want to skip reading.

I hate to vomit.  Fortunately, I don’t often get sick.  The last time that I was ill enough from some sort of virus to throw up repeatedly over a few days was years ago.  There’s only been one time in my entire life that I drank enough alcohol to make myself kneel before the bowl.   That was back in college when I drank several different types of alcohol at one party.

Prior to recent weeks, I hadn’t upchucked (There are so many different ways to refer to vomiting.) since 2007 when I had an acute gallbladder problem which necessitated surgery two days later.  The gallbladder problem, not the actual vomiting.

In the almost eight weeks since my weight loss surgery, I’ve thrown up more often than the last 35 years total.  No lie.  Granted, these aren’t huge bouts of heaving, but that doesn’t mean I’m loving the process.

It all has to do with the drastically reduced stomach sitting at the end of my esophagus.   There isn’t much room down there and I’m learning to be very, very careful about not only how much I eat at any one time, but the pace at which I consume even small portions.   I’m working very hard to retrain my eating habits . . . taking small bites and chewing thoroughly; waiting between bites and swallows; not drinking for 30 minutes before a meal or snack; stretching my small meals over at least half an hour; stopping before I’m full; and so on.

Even all of this exquisite care doesn’t protect me all of the time.  Last night, I served myself a single baked chicken thigh and a quarter cup of carrots and broccoli.  I ate it in small bites that I chewed and chewed before swallowing.  I really engaged in mindful eating and was positive that I had not pushed the limit of my stomach.

I was wrong.  The final bite did me in.  First I was just uncomfortable, then the “foamies” set in.   Yes, it’s gross, but foam starts to form in my mouth and I begin to burp air.  If I’m really fortunate, I can breathe through the foamies stage and resolve the situation before it progresses.  last night, however, after the foamies, the secretion of salive drastically increased and that was my sign to proceed to a sink, toilet or trash can.  Within a minute, I gracefully “cast up my accounts” in one delicate, upheaval.  Problem solved.

Earlier today at lunch I slowly drank a Soup at Hand container of chicken soup.  I waited a while for it settle before slowly munching on a couple of baby carrots.  I honestly thought I was fine.  Twenty minutes later I went into a meeting with my bosses and realized that it felt like a piece of carrot was lodged at the base of my esophagus.   The process started again and I excused myself, went to the restroom and took care of matters, and returned to the meeting.  Thankfully, my co-workers know this sometimes happens and, when I assured them I was okay, we carried on as if there’d been no interruption.

I guess it sounds a little bit like I’m whining, and I really don’t mean to.  Most of the time I do just fine.  There are many more mealtimes that pass without incident.  I also know that this too will improve with time.  I’ve only been on solid foods for shortly more than a week and my stomach is still adjusting.

It just sucks to spend time mindfully eating and savoring flavors and textures like a wls patient who’s paying attention and walking the walk — only to have the experience revolt in, well, a revolting way.  I guess there’s always the opportunity to slow down even more and make the individual bites even smaller.  If I’m chewing twenty times now, I can increase that to thirty times.  It’s all part of the positive changes that I’ve already made and will continue to make.

In the meantime, more frequent hurling is a change I could do without.

Thanks for listening! 🙂


Clothing Assessment and Purge

As of this morning, I’ve lost 55 pounds with the weight loss surgery.  Before the operation, I made up my mind that I was not going to hold onto clothes once they became too big.   I’m still sticking to that resolve with the exception that I’m going to get a few items taken in by a seamstress just to help me budget-wise.

I’m going to a convention in mid-April and I decided it was time for me to assess my wardrobe.    I have a whole closet of clothes that I usually only wear to conventions and conferences or the occasional business meeting.  Life here in the Keys is pretty casual, my job included, but I also have some other garments that I wanted to take a look at to decide whether it’s time to put them in the bag to be donated.

I spent a fun hour going through my “conference closet” and trying on various outfits.    Clothes that I could no longer wear when I gained a big chunk of weight now fit comfortably again. Other tops and bottoms that I bought in the largest sizes I’d ever had to wear are hanging on me like sacks.  The bottoms that are in good shape are going to the seamstress for alteration.  The tops are going into the donation pile.

I have enough clothes to see me through the April convention.  The pants that I get altered will help me transition through the next 20 or so pound reduction.  I have a few pairs of denim shorts that I can only wear if I roll the waist band over once.  I think I need to buy a couple of new pairs in my current size or ones that are a little snug, which will also get me through.  I think I have enough tops that fit okay to last me for another month or two, depending on how much weight I lose.

All in all, I’m in pretty good shape with my wardrobe — no pun intended.  My budget is happy,  too.  Hopefully the Salvation Army will be pleased with the big bag I’m dragging in tomorrow and those clothes will find new owners.

Even more than the money aspect, it was great to pull on outfits and feel the weight loss — both in the garments that now fit when I was stuffed into them before as well as those that are loose and baggy.   When I look at my body in the mirror, I still don’t see the weight loss.  (I need to read up on body dysmorphia.)  The clothing exercise really helped me greater appreciate the improvement in my body.

It’s going to be great fun to keep going through my closets in the coming months and fill more bags of clothes for donation.  I’m sure that I will also greatly enjoy buying new clothes here and there in ever smaller sizes!



Not Using Food

Food was never only about meeting nutritional needs to me.   I used it as a crutch, a drug, and in my worst times, as a club with which to beat myself.   Eating huge amounts of food has comforted me and made me feel horrible.  Whenever I was scared, lonely, sad, overwhelmed, tired or happy, I ran to food.  When I wasn’t any of those things, I’d still use food because it was a compulsive habit.

Not using food in any of these ways any more is by turns miraculous, amazing, and somewhat frightening.   Right now, I still think about food a great deal of the time, but the intent is different.  I need to think about food and when to eat so that I meet my nutritional needs at the the right time.  I pre-plan, pack and take what I need, and, as the earlier post said, practice better time management.  When I say that the intent is different, I mean that I’m managing food with logic and reason instead of being relentlessly driven by compulsion and emotions.  That’s the miraculous and amazing part.

The fear comes from the “What if” and “What do I do instead”? questions that sometimes run in my head.  I’m not so naive to believe that life will be forever free of conflicts, upsets, pain, anxiety, or turmoil.  That’s life.  Shit happens.  But now I don’t have my old way to help me deal.   Since the day I decided to have weight loss surgery, I wondered and worried about giving up my crutch/drug.  Would I be able to do this successfully or would I somehow fall back down into the old way?

Granted, I am miles beyond my worst times of binge eating without control.   Over many years, I’ve recovered a lot and overall do a better job of taking care of myself and handling things.   However, while I might not have gorged myself on massive quantities of food when something upset me or I got sad about something, I still ate in unhealthy ways.  If I hadn’t, I would have lost weight naturally.

So the fear lingered.

A few days ago, something happened that caused me some definite upset and anxiety.   It made my stomach roil.  I couldn’t get it off of my mind.  It not only disturbed my sleep, but when I woke up the next morning, it was the first thing on my mind.   Not comfortable.

But I didn’t eat over it.

I didn’t run out and get a pint of ice cream or a giant chocolate bar.  I didn’t ransack my refrigerator and attempt to pile food into my stomach.  As uncomfortable as the feelings and emotions made me, I didn’t try to anesthetize myself with food.

I didn’t use food in any way other than nutritional necessity.  That, my friends, is a major victory and a sign of true progress and emotional healing.  I can build on that success and keep going with greater confidence and it feels great.

Just to bring the story around full circle, the next day at work I was able to take steps to address the situation that created the upset and resolve it in a way that relieved the remaining anxiety.  Another bonus!


Time Management of Nutrition and Not Feeling Deprived

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.




Social Eating

I’m going out to dinner with friends tonight.  It’s the first time since I’ve been on “solid” foods and only the second time since the surgery almost seven weeks ago.  Most of the time I either eat alone at home or here at work which are not exactly social occasions.

I’m confident that I will find something on the menu that I can eat.  Even though I’m ostensibly on a solid or “regular” diet now, it doesn’t mean that I can pick anything that I want.  The nutritional guidelines tell me to gradually reintroduce my body to different foods, preferably at the slow rate of one “new” food every few days.  My stomach is not yet ready for me to feed it filet mignon or a pork chop.  The guidelines suggest starting with flaky, mild fish (I hate seafood.) or dark meat of chicken.  The dark meat is more juicy and tender and they tell me I can ingest that more easily.

I know the restaurant where we’re going.  I know I can get a chicken dish, even if I’m not able to specify thigh or leg meat.  That’s okay, I’ll make sure to eat the chicken breast slowwwwwwly so it doesn’t stick anywhere.  Oh, the things to think about!  Actually, I hope that they still make their pistachio encrusted chicken wrap.  If I remember correctly, there are spring greens inside the wrap and serve it with rice and black beans.  If that’s on the menu, I can deconstruct it by picking out the cut up chicken and adding a small dab of honey mustard if needed to moisten.  I couple of modest forkfuls of beans (more protein) and rice with some spring greens and I’ll have a more than satisfying meal.

As long as I pay attention.  Social eating is a challenge to mindful eating.  It is hard to focus on what’s on the fork while simultaneously chatting and laughing.  So, that’s the big reminder that I need to take with me to the restaurant.  Whatever I order to eat, I need to still concentrate on what and how I’m eating in the moment.  I can stay within my guidelines and food plan and not overstuff myself.  Can I do it and keep up with the conversation?  I guess I’ll find out!

Since I don’t plan to live the rest of my life as a food hermit, I need to begin learning how to mindfully eat even when I’m out with others.  I know it can be done.  It’s just another new experience.  Hopefully it will work as another tool to put in my kit!


The Earth Moved

Okay, I exaggerated a bit.  The Earth didn’t actually move by any sense of the insinuation, but the number on the scale finally did.  Down a pound after well over a week of no weight loss progress.  Just that little bit of downward motion further enhanced the serenity I began to experience yesterday.  Going through the first stall proved to be a valuable lesson.  I learned that I need to not let the old diseased thinking and emotions get out of control.  The emotional and mental aspects are as important as the physical if this is to be a progressive, steady recovery.

I’m also taking time to reflect and give myself a pat on the back for not using it as an excuse to deviate from my healthy food plan.  I stayed on track and that’s a big plus.  Each day that passes with me following my food plan; each meal that I eat mindfully; every positive healthy choice that I make for myself is a great positive reinforcement.  These are all building blocks for a strong recovery.  I feel strong and confident and those good feelings are growing over time instead of diminishing.

I think I needed to go through the stall which engendered fear and self-doubt to remind myself of how I used to react on diets when things didn’t go my way or when I started eating off of the plan.  Fear and self-doubt always arose those days and then swiftly caused despair, depression and self-loathing.  That I’ve gone through my first stall, experienced my rockier moments, and still stayed on track to reach a place of strength and serenity is a break through.

Speaking of on track, I’ve remembered throughout every day to input my food, water and exercise into my diary on myfitnesspal.com.  It’s been a couple of weeks now.  Even though I can’t say that I’ve developed love of this tool, at least I continue to use it despite my love-lack.  It really does help me, otherwise I would never know where I was with my daily protein, carbs and calories.  I can’t possibly retain the different numbers and percentages in my head.

This week I pledge to focus more on increasing my exercise.  My commitment to myself is to take a brisk walk five times a week, whether outdoors or via my in-home walking DVD.  I’m also going to practice my Tai Chi three times at home in addition to the two classes I take each week.

With the additional physical activity, the Earth might not move, but I sure will!



Serene Sunday

I’ve spent most of the day thinking I had nothing to blog about today.  I’ve been going about my business, getting things done but not rushing around.  In between tasks, I’ve taken time to cuddle the dogs or watch competing cooks on a show.  About half an hour ago, I realized that I’m in a nice, even place emotionally.  I’m not upset about the fact that my weight number still hasn’t moved.  I’m not second-guessing myself and wondering if somehow I went off track with my food plan and that’s why I haven’t lost any pounds in over a week.  Somehow, I moved into a place of acceptance and my serenity returned.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say “Somehow”.  I actually attribute it to coming here and writing about the stress, the emotional junk, the ups and downs of the journey.  Putting it out here gets it out of my head.  It gives it a place to go so that I don’t carry it around.

There is also the added bonus that posting it to my blog means that wise people like you leave thoughtful comments and lovely support.

My head and heart are balanced today.  I posted in a comment earlier that I did the brisk at-home walking exercise and got all of the way through the one mile that had defeated me earlier this week.  That felt great!  Instead of beating myself up that it was “all” I could do, I’m celebrating that it’s more than I did a few days ago.  I’m looking forward to building on that until I can do the two-mile, then in their time, the three and four mile exercises.  However, by the time I get to three miles, I’ll be back to walking on the 7 Mile Bridge!

In another hour or so I’m going to join some classmates and do Tai Chi on the beach.  I revel in the way my body feels when I do the moves.  I love the way that the deep breaths infuse my cells.

All of this lifts my spirit.

Head, heart, body, spirit. . . Everything’s in great shape today and that sets me up to have another great day tomorrow!

Some cousins of mine are vacationing in the Keys this week and they’re coming over tomorrow for wine and conversation on my porch.   I might have a few sips of wine, but won’t go more than that small portion.  I’ve decided to make two of my favorite-to-make hors d’oeuvre items – mini buffalo chicken meatballs and mini-jalapeno souffles.  I looked at the recipes and realized that both will give me good protein without a lot of carbs or fat.  Plus, they are “small bites” so I can enjoy them with my company, fill my nutritional needs and not stuff myself.  By making and partaking, I won’t feel like I’m depriving myself and not having fun.  Bonus!

Hope you’re all having a great weekend.


A Me Day

Most of us spend much of our lives doing things for our families, friends, jobs, pets.  Often, we put ourselves last, or at least further down the priority list.  Either that or we focus on all the things we need to get done that fall in the category of personal responsibilities.   This weekend, I know that I need to get together information for my taxes.  I need to vacuum, dust, and do laundry.  There are still more boxes in the office that should be sorted so I can clear out even more space.  (Lately I’m thinking that if I clear enough space I could fit an elliptical machine in there for exercise.)

The To-Do list doesn’t go down in size unless I take care of those tasks.    However, I’m a big believer in scheduling “me” time and doing things for myself that I really enjoy.  This self-nurturing and self-care enhances our lives.  Me time restores and rejuvenates us and that is so important!

Today I gave myself to engage in plenty of Me time.  I started the day with Tai Chi class, which I really enjoy.  I had time after to come home, let out the dogs and read the local paper while rocking on the porch and enjoying the pretty sunshine and lovely water.   After that, I went off to have my hair colored and have my eyebrows shaped.  When my hair looks terrific, and it always does once my stylist works her magic, I feel the boost to my energy.  I like the silky swing of it and the soft texture when I finger comb the strands.  It makes me smile.

Honestly, spa and salon activities are a preferred source of Me time.  In addition to my hair appointments,  I get a manicure every other week, a pedicure once a month, and also go for a facial about every six weeks.    The pedicure chairs at the salon also massage you while the nail tech works on your feet.

I love the pampering. Even above and beyond the facts that these activities make my hands and feet look and feel terrific, and the facials help me keep my skin healthier, the fact that I’m being worked on in positive ways that feel great in the process enhances my overall spirit.  If my cells and muscles could sigh with happiness, you’d hear them and smile.

After I got home from the hair appointment today, I could have broken out the vacuum cleaner or the duster.  Instead, I picked up the book I’m reading and went out on the porch again with the pups.  Two neighbors were sitting out next door by the water and I joined them for a nice chat.  After an hour or so, I came in, read some more and even took a brief nap.  Total relaxation was the order of the day and I know I’ve responded quite favorably.

Tonight I’m continuing to chill at home.  I might go to a late movie in town . . . or I might extend my relaxation and also go to bed early.  Whatever seems the most appealing is the activity I’ll choose.  After all, today is all about me!

How do you give yourself me time?  Do you treat yourself regularly or are you overdue?


Still Stalled and Fearful

A week after doing my post on The Dreaded Stall, I fully expected to see some downward movement of the scale.  Nope.  All week long I was up two ounces, down two ounces, up two, down two.

This is so incredibly frustrating.  I want to do something so that I can break through it and get back on the losing track.  I’m not sure what will fix the problem.  Do I eat even less or does my body think it’s starving and that’s why it’s stalled?  Should I eat a little more calorie and carb-wise, since I can’t do more volume, and see if that shakes up my metabolism?  Go back to full liquids for a day or two?   Exercise more?  Well, that can only help in every aspect of this journey.

Welcome to the mind set of a recovering compulsive overeater.  All I want to do is control the uncontrollable, fix what is not in my power to fix.  Why isn’t it in my power?  Simple.  I am already doing what I am supposed to do and following the guidelines of my food plan.  Even with all of that, sometimes the body just stalls.  Every single person I’ve seen on ObesityHelp.com has shared that they’ve experienced stalls and that you just have to wait it out.  (Providing of course, that you really are following your food plan.  If you’re screwing around with it, then the recommendation is to get yourself back on track.)

It’s really difficult for me to process and accept that riding this out by sticking to my plan is as proactive as I can be in this situation.  I guess in its way it’s a reminder about the Serenity Prayer.  Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change — that I’m in a stall period not of my own creation.  Grant me the courage to change the things I can — step up the exercise and also be patient instead of this constant hamster-wheel obessing.  Grant me wisdom to know the difference — Hell, if I can’t see the difference, I’m an idiot.

Some of the obsession is fueled by small measures of fear and anxiety.  I had a dream the other night that I lost all of the weight that I wanted.  I was happy for a couple of months and then systematically began to gain the weight back pound by pound by pound until I returned to my pre-surgery super obesity.  I woke up from that dream horrified and completely freaked out.   I’m terrified that I’ll fail at this effort like I’ve failed at maintaining very other weight loss I fought to achieve.

The emotional and mental recovery I’ve been working so hard on are still too new.  It’s only been six weeks since the surgery and that’s like the honeymoon period.  How many times did I determinedly diet for six weeks and then, like someone flicked off the motivation switch, start eating again and gain back the weight?

I need to calm down about this before I work myself up emotionally to the point where I can’t retain that part of my recovery.  Finding ways to eat off of my plan will not help the situation.  In fact, it will only damage me in ways I don’t want to consider.  I will succeed.  I already am succeeding.  That success is not totally connected to the number on the scale.   I need to have faith enough to continue to each correctly and on plan for the next meal and the next and the next one still.  That’s the path that leads to weight loss and it will come.  Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for several more days, but eventually the number will go down.

Faith is a good thing.  It can be stronger than the fear.



Quality Not Quantity

I was always a volume eater.  More food was always better, even though it was never really enough to satisfy whatever hole I needed to fill.  The thing is that I was usually careful not to eat a lot in front of people.  At an early age I learned to be a sneak eater.  I could open the bread drawer in the kitchen, remove and eat something and never tip off the family members sitting in the next room.  At the table I might practice good portion control, but out of sight of others, there was little limit to what I would eat.

Obviously I didn’t have to worry about other people seeing me once I lived on my own.  I remember times several years ago when I would go to a drive-through fast food restaurant and order two sodas so the people would think I was ordering for more than one person.  While on the telephone with a pizza restaurant, I’d even pretend to be consulting someone else in my house on the order, saying away from the phone, “Hey, do you want (fill in the blank) too?  Ok.”  I remember well the shame I felt over these behaviors.  I was positive that I was the only person in the entire world that resorted to them when obtaining the excessive amount of food I craved.  When I think of those days and the long list of food that I could consume during a major binge, I’m appalled and amazed.

Shortly after joining OA in the early 90s, I read a book written by another compulsive overeater in recovery.  She shared that she’d done the same things!  I wasn’t terminally unique at all.  That was a freeing moment and a great help to me while I struggled with all of the emotions and turmoil boiling up at the time.  I was maintaining abstinence from the behavior of compulsive overeating.  Without the food to anesthetize my emotions, they boiled up a lot.  🙂  Working toward freeing myself the shame, accepting that compulsive overeating and binge eating are disorders and that I wasn’t just a greedy pig with no self-control (Yes, that’s how I thought of myself.) really helped me deal with the negative feelings and lousy self-esteem.

Over time, I learned to resolve the self-abuse I inflicted in the names I called myself and foster greater self-respect.  My emotional recovery progressed.  I had some good long periods of abstinence from the actual food behaviors, too.  Unfortunately, however, I never quite conquered them enough to successfully banish them from my realm.  There have been many times when I had no emotional turmoil or crises or drama and stress and yet still binged.

Flash forward to recent years and where I am right now.  For the last ten years I’ve had a great life with a job that I love and that I’m damn good at.  My confidence in my abilities, my respect for myself as a person worthy of love and care is healthy and strong.  Emotionally I’m in a great space.  But I was still super obese and could not seem to put together a consistent effort long enough to lose weight.  So, after considering all options I chose weight loss surgery.

Now, consuming great volumes of food is not possible.  That behavior crutch was removed along with 70% of my stomach capacity.  Quantity is out, quality is in.  It’s a huge shift.  I wondered if I would feel deprived and resentful over no longer being able to eat what I wanted, when and in whatever amount I craved.  So far I don’t.  I’m more focused on appreciating every bite of what I can consume.

For those of you who have not experienced weight loss surgery, I thought you might be interested in knowing what a typical day of food is like for me right now.  Remember that I’m still on pureed and soft foods.  This will change as time goes on and I’m able to gradually add in solids.  Here are my menus for the last couple of days.

Yesterday:  Breakfast – 1 1/2 servings of Solgar whey protein powder in 10 ounces of skim milk; Mid-morning snack:  Reduced fat cheddar cheese stick; Lunch: 5.3 oz nonfat Greek yogurt with strawberry; Afternoon snack; two slices of thin sliced deli turkey; Dinner: 3/4 cup of Hearty Barley Vegetable soup; After Tai Chi snack: 1 1/2 TBLs soft brie cheese on low fat crackers.  Sugar free popsicle.

With the exception of the popsicle, every thing on that food list was chosen for the protein count and the flavor.   I savored the tang and sweet of the yogurt, the saltiness of the turkey, the rich flavor and colors in the soup, the creaminess of the brie.

Face it — that’s not a lot of food so what I do eat every day damn well better taste great to me.  It still amazes me that I eat so little.  I don’t experience much physical hunger, although sometimes my head still tries to trick me into thinking I want more or different than I should eat.

For the first time in my life, I don’t have a bottomless well that I’m trying unsuccessfully to fill.  I have everything I need.  I’ve traded a life obsessed with quantity for one where I can appreciate the quality and be completely satisfied.