Day #13? Eating through it

I was lucky, I guess, because I had a couple of health scares that kick started me into weight loss since Christmas Eve 2019. I think you have to flip a MENTAL switch before you can change your behavior and begin to see the scale plunge. The mental switch can be fear, shock, falling in love, or hiring an honest trainer. Sometimes really admitting the number you see on the scale every morning will shock you into it, but you’ve watched the number climb for weeks now, so it usually takes you more than that. I remember once thinking that my belts had shrunk, not that I had expanded.

My health shock was GI, so it was not much of a move to completely change my diet, instantly. For days I ate BRAT: Broth, rice, apple sauce, and toast (dry). I was amazed at how satisfying a piece of toast could be. I was drinking tons of water, and when I settled down on my couch to have a full piece of dry toast I was very satisfied. And to think that I would get to do that twice a day. Then I was reduced to water and saltines. Since this was the beginning, it did not show much or consistently on the scale yet, but at least it was not going up. Since the GI issue continued, I tried (at a friend’s insistence) a complete fast for over 24 hours. Just water. Again, I was shocked to find how easy that was to accomplish.

After about five weeks of that, I awoke one morning to a kidney stone. I didn’t know it was a kidney stone; I thought it was maybe something like … explosion leading possibly to death. But 6 hours later I learned it was a stone. The next day I felt so good it was a liberation, but the day after that I started reading. I began to see ALL food as poison, poison to this or poison to that. Hardly eating became easy. I didn’t want to eat ANYTHING. That was an even deeper switch: I realized that I eat to live.

A few weeks passed and I gradually added items back, particularly chicken and rice. I used the tasty thigh first until I admitted how much lower in fat is the breast, so I switched to the dry breast. And rice. My dog liked that too. Again, I found it tremendously satisfying after the two weeks so on water and toast or saltines. Plus I could have yogurt! What a luxury! And apple sauce, my precious Lordy Lord.

All of this led in the two, then three months that followed, the 12 or was it 14 pounds I lost, and I added some new habits to go along with these tranquil Covid19 days.

Basic portion control: Every morning I have oatmeal. I used to have a huge bowl. Now I have half of that. It is just as satisfying. I use just shy of 1/4 cup dry. I recently added back some raisins. I used to use a hefty handful; now I use a few. It is just as satisfying to discover them in a bite; actually they become even more precious. I used to toss in nuts–well, I shoveled them in. Now I skip the nuts.

I eat maybe 4-5 times a day rather than 3. It’s entertaining and satisfying. If I stop to make some melted cheese on crackers, I make half or 2/3 the amount. Dinner chicken and rice and veggies are about 65% of what once they were. And most importantly those snacks: If I just have to have nuts in the afternoon because it’s too early for dinner, I find that just a very, very few work just as well as a greedy handful or bowlful. And chips! oh, those chips. They were so easy to justify just six months ago. “They’re just chips,” I said to myself again and again and then over again. And let me at a sack of TJ Cheetos! I could win any contest with those – or TJ corn chips: I was a Gold Medal winner. Now it’s taco corn chips only and I take the wee-ist bowl out of the cabinet and put in all the chips I can into that teeny bowl and that’s it. Then (and this is very important), NO EATING WHILE WALKING to the couch-and-book or couch-and-tv. Not a crumb to your mouth until you are settled down and comfy. Then you start your snack. Hopefully you remembered to bring water with you. And you eat consciously, chip by chip, bite of chip by bite of chip. Chew. Pause. Next chip. Turns out, magically, that a small portion of chips is absolutely as satisfying as a large portion. Why? Because all snacks end – and truth is you didn’t really need it at all. The end is the same, no matter the size. That’s it; that’s all you get. So do you want that to be the end of a bag full or a teeny bowl full?

Water. Get a huge glass and a method to tell you how often you must fill it each day. I have a 16 oz glass and two gemstones on a silver square – they have a certain way I have to move them as I fill the glass once more. I need 4 of those glassfuls daily plus several 8 oz cups of tea/coffee. Have several types of tea handy and sort them into consciously placed bowl/container that is always visible and beautiful and waiting for you on your counter. A cup of tea will satisfy. It’s amazing. You become like other people who could always pull that off. Wow! Now you are one of those people.

Keep your daily AM and PM vitamins nicely sorted out in daily portions. I ready-up sets for 7-10 days at a time. First sort is in tiny paper cups. Then as their time comes, they go into a beautiful, tiny alabaster bowl. Walk the bowl to your couch or table with AM and PM meals. They are part of what you ritualistically get to TAKE INSIDE your mouth which is what the darned eating compulsion is. With that huge vat of water you brought to your dining place, those pills after dinner actually are part of the satisfaction. And then you get a half a frozen banana for dessert! Oh my god, God is good. Or maybe you get a few – not a gazillion, but a few – frozen blueberries which you have modestly diced into baby plastic baggies for freezing. You do not eat out of the bag (how gross). You put them into a beautiful bitty bowl for stretching out that put-something-in-your-mouth ceremony after your ceremonial vitamin pills. Dinner takes just as long as it ever did. You have read a whole chapter or watched another hunk of the TV binge you are on. If you are truly conscious you will take each pill knowing where it is going to go: joints, tummy, eyeballs–whatever your assortment does for you. Then the banana still awaits. Oh my.

It can take just as long to eat 65% of what you used to eat if you follow the ceremony.

As soon as you remember, get up after dinner and go brush and hydro-floss your teeth. Not only is it important in its own right, it helps you not to snack in the evening and it makes going to bed so much more luxurious because you’ve already got that part done. It’s good to have made your bed and to have rather recently changed your sheets. This body stuff is all interrelated–and you’ve got the time now.

While you’re at it, pick a part of your kitchen or pantry and attack it with total re-arrangement. Bring pretty things to the forefront, toss old things, consolidate spices and rices and raisins into glass containers when you can. Clean and rearrange your frig, then each cabinet, even under the sink. Have blessed counter tops, good lighting. All food prep and disposal zones can be filled with organized beauty. It’s for you and your sacredness. This motivates you to treat also your body as a place of beauty. It appreciates gentle, loving admissions of food and vitamins. Do your bathroom and all the cabinets too.

Enjoy the scales. Enjoy the wardrobe. Enjoy accepting the fact that when you shock yourself into starting this, the scale WILL NOT SEEM TO BUDGE for two weeks or maybe even three. At least it’s for sure that the number is not going up. And remind yourself that you are committed to holiness of the body. Soon enough, the scale will start to go, and show, and you will glow. Looks like you’ll be home in isolation for the next 4-6 weeks, so this is a blessed time to produce a beautiful post isolation body and habits. No one will see the new slender you, but even that’s ok: You are a one-person world.

Let your Inner Virgo come out. Reveal grannie’s tea cups. Find weird little bowls and plates you rarely use and bring them out for systematic use. Clean everything related to food – your table and chairs too.

All is sacred.

  • Kelly

    I love this and will read often. Thank you Soren for so aptly explaining that watching the scale, listening to your body, and considering what goes inside our bodies will transform us into beings that can enjoy our closets again. I just had brunch so I am going to brush and floss and then have a big glass of water.


    Kelly Altobelli

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