Sunday, February 26, 2017

Deliberate Eating

I've been thinking about the word "deliberate" a lot lately.  Deliberate parenting, deliberate living, deliberate eating--especially now that I'm done nursing what I eat makes a legitimate difference! (Which stinks, let's be honest. Growing older is dumb and I really wish metabolisms didn't slow down.)  I wish I was an expert on this already, but I'm totally not. But I do have thoughts about it so I'm writing them here.

To start: I'm one of those people that loves food. If I had to pick a category "eat to live," or "live to eat," I belong in the latter group. Because it's just such a happy part of life!  I'm so grateful God made our bodies so we would need to eat, and not just plug into the wall for energy.  I just love food.

Back when I was pregnant with Kennedy I had a realization:  there's really not a point to overeating.  Whenever I overate, I ended up feeling pretty sick afterwards and it was never worth it.  And even if the food tasted really good, I realized that this wouldn't be the last restaurant I'd ever go to.  Not my last trip to Cafe Rio. Not my last slice of pizza ever.  I realized that I'd have delicious food again and I didn't have to eat more to "make the most of it,"--packing the food in like an animal preparing for hibernation.  I could just stop, and then have good food again another time.  Because of this, I was I was so good at not overeating, and I could only imagine how great I would feel if I lived like that all the time. 

That was me when I was pregnant; but it's so much harder now!  Totally easier said than done.  These days, there are no immediate consequences when I eat more than I need to.  Over a few days I might feel a little "heavier" or tired, but even then, the consequences stack slowly and without much difference.  And it's so easy to sit down with a book and forget how many crackers you've had, or to eat when you're bored, or sad, or whatever.  It's just hard! And then all the sudden you get on the scale and you're five pounds heavier.  Oops.

But, trying to employ mindfulness into your eating helps.  Over the last couple years I've started to notice that I enjoy eating one piece of candy more than I enjoy a handful.  When you have an entire handful of candy, you don't really focus on each piece because if you miss the taste of one, you have other chances. And how often do I throw a handful of m&ms into my mouth and gulp them down, hardly enjoying them?  But when I only have one bite of chocolate or just one starburst, I'm mindful of the whole experience!  I pay attention to the taste the entire time and truly enjoy it.  Similarly, when it's Fast Sunday, sometimes I find myself wishing for just one bite of something.  A carrot...anything!  Imagine if we appreciated everyday food that much!

That was all about the "how much." And now for the "what."

I read something the other day where a lady talked about how she has decided that if she's going to eat a treat it's got to be a really good treat, not just a filler food.  I like that.  I like the idea of being deliberate about what you choose to eat, and being willing to say no. (I never used to think like this!  Joys of growing older I guess.)  I want to be better at meal planning, and at taking a few more minutes at lunchtime to prepare something for myself, taking it from "good" to "better." I don't know if I'm ready to go crazy on this, and be a religious vegetarian or anything.  But I do love to try new recipes, and I love trying to get in the right number of vegetables.  And we eat so much better as a family and save money when I take the time to plan.

And now, "why."

I want to take care of my body so that I can do what I love to do.  I want to be able to hike with Derek when we're old.  I want to be able to run farther and faster and to just feel good. I want to take care of my body so I can be a good mom.  So I can get on the ground and play and jump up to kick a ball around, and carry a sleeping child up the stairs.  I want to be a good example to my children and teach them to love healthy eating as well.  I'm not a drastic person--I don't think we have to be perfect at eating or be the skinniest.  I've always had a "normal" body type and I'm happy with that!   But mostly, I want to work on it because I want to prove to myself that I can use self control. That I can take care of the body Heavenly Father gave me, and that I can do hard things.

So here's to me making deliberate choices about what to eat, how much, really enjoying the experience, and stopping when I'm done.  Thank goodness life is long, because something like this is going to take a lifetime of mistakes and learning to master.

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