Weighty Matters

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Packing Lunch

on June 22, 2012

Sometimes I just cruise along on my day to day journey and all of my food choices are simple and pretty matter-of-fact.  Then I hit a day like today when something makes me stop short, something that causes me to really marvel at the big and small changes in my life.

I had that kind of moment this morning when I was packing food to take to work.  I’m still focusing on protein and also need to plan my eating around multiple small meals.  First thing into the bag — a single cheese stick for the mid-morning snack.  I made French Onion soup a few nights ago, without the melted slab of cheese on top and still had about 3/4 of a cup of it waiting for me in the fridge at work. To go with that for the noon meal, I brought some leftover hummus and a few baby carrots.  I like to eat again around 3.  Strawberries are in season and they are absolutely gorgeous.  I sliced up two juicy organic berries into a container and added a few spoons of low fat French Vanilla yogurt.  Perfect.

I zipped up my lunch bag and that’s when the moment hit me.  My food plan was built around small servings of a variety of yummy foods that are fairly healthy for me.  This alone isn’t entirely new.  During the periods when I dieted relatively successfully, I’d pack similiar foods. Most of the time I resented the hell out of this being necessary.

Now I cheerfully consume a LOT less and make healthier choices.  With pleasure.

This is a huge difference from the days when I chowed down on a foot long sub with a side of chips, 12 ounce bottle of soda and some cookies for dessert.

I will freely admit that I’m not always cheerful.  Sometimes I still wistfully wish for some greasy entree with a side of fries, but most of the time, I’m quite happy with what I pack for lunch.  I don’t need food in the same way that I thought I did.  Eating right for this stage of my recovery satisfies me and the results sure are tasty too.

Throughout the day my mind kept returning to the differences between now and before.  I got distracted mid-day when friends arrived for the afternoon.  So distracted, in fact, that I never got back up to the office for that 3 p.m. snack.  This is not good.  I don’t normally feel hunger, except when I miss eating something every couple of hours.  By 5 p.m., I definitely had pangs, but thankfully my friends were hungry too so we stopped into the restaurant next door.

Fridays happen to be their “Big Ass Prime Rib” night.  I love prime rib and decided to order it, sticking with the slightly less big ass “Lady” portion of a 12 oz slab of meat.  Steamed veggies and a baked potato on the side.  Can I just tell you that it is a remarkable thing for me to look at what passes for a “normal” plate of food and know that it will provide three to four meals for me.  A couple of pieces cut from the meat, followed by a few forks of veggies and a couple of bites of potato and I was finished.  When everyone else was done, the waitress came to clear our plates.  She looked at mine and her face fell.  Clearly she was concerned that something had been horribly wrong with my meal.  I reassured her that every single bite was delicious and that I’d enjoy everything a few more times.  I left with most of the dinner packed in a to-go box.

It’s now about 10 p.m.  Prior to weight loss surgery, around this time I would dig into a sizeable bowl of premium (premium = higher fat content) ice cream.  Right now, I think I’m going to finish this blog post and dig out that container of yogurt and fresh strawberries that I didn’t eat earlier.  A couple of bites ought to put a really fine end on a good food day.

4 responses to “Packing Lunch

  1. Susanne says:

    I had a gall bladder issue so I drastically cut back on overeating and what I ate. I’ve been doing the fruits and veggies and chicken. BUT, sigh, always the but, the last two weeks have been busy summer weeks, and I’m making wrong choices again. Last night I had a burger (and salad), and it just didn’t sit right. I told my husband that was it, I’m going back to food that makes me feel better.

    All this by way of saying, Mary Stella, I know what you mean about choices and how it makes us feel. It’s like there’s a new me that’s saying, wait a minute, THIS is what makes you feel better. And the old me thinks, phffffttt, no it’s not. It’s a tough habit to break, but I’m getting there. Double sigh. Next I’ll be looking at fish, and I hate fish, lol.

    And yes, as Julie says, you are an inspiration.


    • Mary Stella says:

      Susanne, good luck! I no longer have gall bladder issues because I had to have it removed five years ago. Ugh. Yes, there is often a discussion in my head between the old me and the today me. Good luck with the fish. I hate fish too and have been trying to retrain my taste buds and teach myself to like it. So far I’m not having much luck, but I’ll try a few more times before giving up.

  2. lunarmom says:

    Great post. And very timely for me as well. I’m on my own journey here, have had some recent set-backs actually. But, I’m not looking behind me at all, merely focusing forward.

    The other day I read an article (on that health website my kid writes for

    http://blisstree.com/author/holsen/ )

    about how we are a society of folks who feel they DESERVE everything. Like massive portions and some of every option. It was a striking concept. Are we feeling cheated when we can’t have all the food all the time because we grew up so rich in choices and are now an entitled bunch of whiners? I don’t know, but it sure was interesting to read about and then ponder over.

    I’ve taken to KNOWING that I can have a cupcake or a special food whenever I want, I just CHOOSE not to right now (sure, there aren’t any in the house but that’s not the point). When I want one, I’ll go find it, buy it, make it, order it…. whatever. But when I think about how I don’t NEED it, I sort of feel fine that I’m having some other, healthier option, and that I’m damn lucky to have THAT at all.

    AnyHOO, I’m reading every day, and being inspired by every new post. Thanks, you are making more of a difference than you can even imagine.

    • Mary Stella says:

      I think you’re working through an important part of the process. I hate feeling like I CAN’T have something that I really want. It makes me resentful. I’m working on the permission aspect, too, as in I give myself permission to have that cupcake if I really want it. Knowing I can and it’s okay makes a big difference. Most of the time I can then go ahead and not eat it.

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