Weighty Matters

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Mental Satisfaction

on May 18, 2014

I’m back from a few days of fun in New Orleans at the RT Bookreviews Convention. I had a great time hanging out with dear friends whom I don’t get to see often or spend nearly enough time with in a year. I also love New Orleans. It’s a fascinating, beautiful city with a variety of cultures, historical significance, wonderful art, fantastic music, and spectacular food.

I am not going to claim that I strictly adhered to my food plan. The best that I’ll say is that I did better than expected while also indulging in some treats that I love. I think I helped my overall effort by walking around a lot. In fact, on Thursday I logged close to 19,000 steps. I’ll find out how well I did when I get on the scale tomorrow but, more important to me, I will be back on good track tomorrow.

As several of you have reminded me over the months, recovery is not about always being strictly perfect or always depriving myself of foods that I enjoy. It’s about living a healthy, balanced life. I’m still learning how to do that balance thing. I might be learning how for the rest of my life. Sometimes are easier than others and I always need to remind myself that the key is progress not perfection.

Like I said, the food in New Orleans is mostly spectacular. I can’t tell you how many times I was enjoying something and actually caught myself wishing I could keep eating more and more. I don’t mean that I truly wished I could binge on it, but I also resented at times that I filled up sooner than I wanted to and was tempted to push my stomach past its capacity. Doing that is not good nor smart, and it leads to undesirable after effects like nausea, uncomfortable pressure, and, possibly, regurgitation of the meal. Food that was delicious going in does not taste good when it reverses direction.

A couple of times I went further than I should have and was uncomfortable. This at least led to me pondering what the heck was going on in my head. Sometimes I experience a real disconnect between physical satiety and mental/emotional satisfaction. Honestly, my stomach is ready to stop long before my head wants to call it quits. There is ongoing necessity for hard work on my part in this area.

When I do it right, I do it well. For example, even though I was thoroughly enjoying the red beans and rice with andouille sausage, I stopped before I overate. I reminded myself that, as good as it was, I needed to quit eating and remember that it wouldn’t be the last time in my life that I could enjoy this dish. Later on, I remembered that I’d enjoyed the robust meal at mid-day and contented myself with a lighter, small salad in the evening. That’s how “normal” people eat. πŸ™‚ I wish I’d been as successful with the beignets a few days before. I didn’t eat all three of the large, puffy, fried pillows coated with powdered sugar, but I should have stopped at one and not eaten a large percentage of the second. In retrospect, regardless of how delicious I think a treat is, it isn’t worth the yucky physical feelings afterwards.

So, as I continue to retrain myself and reshape/improve my relationship with food and eating, I need to focus on the mental satisfaction aspect.

I stopped at the supermarket on my way home from the airport today to get in the food that I need. I bought Greek yogurt which has become a staple that I use in many different ways. I have fresh fruits and veggies for smoothies, snacks and side dishes. When I got home, I took out the chicken stock I made the other week and will make up some fresh chicken soup tomorrow night.

Part of my process involves revving myself up to eat healthy. While I might occasionally experience old diseased resentments, I am far more frequently joyful and excited about making healthy choices and continuing to shore up my recovery. Doing so, and taking an active role in positive progress, is good reinforcement. I’m not defeated by the challenges and rough spots. They are in their own ways necessary to my recovery. If I don’t experience and notice them, then I have no hope of working through them and teaching myself a better way for long term success.

Here are few photos from the trip. They were all shot with my phone under less-than-ideal photographic settings, so please forgive the fuzziness.

"Step Up" - At Mardi Gras World

“Step Up” – At Mardi Gras World

Me and the King at Mardi Gras World

Me and the King at Mardi Gras World

Friends on a Float at Mardi Gras World

Friends on a Float at Mardi Gras World

At the Vampire Ball - RT Convention

At the Vampire Ball – RT Convention

4 responses to “Mental Satisfaction

  1. hoperoth says:

    I have had many a meal where I kept eating when I knew I was already stuffed, because the food was just that good. And I’m sortof normal? Maybe not. :p

  2. pinkpelican says:

    Occasionally, I wish that I had the option, maybe once every 6 months, to velcro back in my whole stomach for that one, amazing, mind blowing, meal/dish/whatever, so that I could indulge to a point that both the mind and the tummy are deeply satiated without the accompanying physical discomfort. πŸ™‚

    Of course, it goes without saying that the doctor would be storing the stomach, and it would be guarded by the most unsympathetic & cold nurse every to live on the planet. You get it once in the allotment, and no matter what, that it’s for that time period. Don’t waste the opportunity, and you don’t get to fake yourself into way too many indulgences. Grin.

    Looks like you had the best time!

  3. Skye says:

    I greatly admire you and your commitment to a happier, healthier life. The awareness you give to how and what you eat and what goes on in your head regarding food amazes me. You are so strong and so smart. Reading this post also reminded me of my two trips to NOLA and of my desire to return. The food really is that fabulous. I think that reminding yourself that “this isn’t the last time I will be able to eat X” is a fabulous tool and one that I think many of us can use in a variety of ways in our lives. Also — “normal” people? Don’t know no normal people, at least based on your description of how normal people eat. While I’m sure there are plenty of healthy people who do have a small salad for dinner if they’ve enjoyed a large lunch, I think that many Americans don’t take that route. So forget that “normal” stuff. πŸ™‚

    I’m glad you had fun in N’awlins.

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