Friday, May 30, 2008

Life Changing.

Last night, as I was writing the Burger King post, I realised that I'm ready for the next step in intuitive eating. And it scared the crap out of me. I've got the intuitive part of the eating down pat: I eat what I want, when I want. I'm starting allow myself more exercise as I know my body can cope with it: exercising from a place of love rather than punishment. Most importantly, I'm so over the impetus to diet, I cannot even imagine myself attempting one ever again.

But it's the fallout of from so many years of dieting, that's got me scared about this next phase. Principle 10: Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition. You'd think that being an ex-chef this phase would be an absolute breeze for me. You'd be incorrect. Sure I know a lot about food preparation and nutrition, but I know very little about eating for a healthy diet. Restaurant food is often made with boatloads of fat, salt, and is all about making money with stuff that tastes great, rather than for its nutritive value. Dieting, for me, was all about low fat. Tasty food, with the lowest fat content possible.

I don't know how to follow a happy medium. Tasty food with all or nothing, basically. Add into the equation my newfound verve for my writing career, renewed confidence with housework, plus figuring out we want to do more with our weekends than chores or sit in front of the computer. . .and all of a sudden, I'm struggling. Living as a true grown up, with life, household and relationship responsibilities is showing me my woeful lack of time management skills. And the first thing that's gone by the wayside is nutrition.

Often my body has several ideas of what would constitute heaven at each meal time. Recently I've been going with the easiest option, every single time. I've come to loathe the dishes with a deeply personal hatred. Last weekend, in conversation with Alaskaboy, it came out that I see the dishes as the perfect analogy for what I see as the life of an adult: endless repetitions of mind numbing chores. I've directly transferred that idea to food. If I cook meals, then there's more dishes, so I get away with cooking as little as possible.

All this as a direct result of my fear of attempting good nutrition without the rules of a diet to follow. And this hasn't been good for my health, my waistline, or my presence of mind. Just like my fear of confronting my emotions wasn't good for me either. Avoidance behaviour and me don't mix.

I'm pretty sure the difficulties I'm having are completely normal; especially for those new to running a house or switching to self employment. Doesn't make it any less frustrating though. It's so much easier to turn up to work and have your boss tell you what your task is for the day, or have someone train you in your job description and then leave you to get on with it. I've never been good as my own taskmaster which is one of the main reasons I never got past the business plan for the Luscious Low Fat restaurant we talked about opening.

I am fabulous at planning weekly and monthly dinner menus, and sticking to them. But this flies completely in the face of intuitive eating. So I'm floundering big time. Perhaps I need to go back to advice I've given many other people over the years; cook up batches of stuff to have in the freezer. With a new twist on it. Don't have umpteen containers of one or two things, but a few containers of multiple dishes.

In light of that, I'm soaking some mixed dried beans. Am planning on a bean salad, three bean chilli, and another kind of dish once I find a recipe I want to try. I'm also going to go through the pantry and see what foods we have that have been in there long enough for me to ignore them completely. What's the point of having a well-stocked house if I'm not going to ever use half the stuff we have? And then, I'm gonna cook up a storm over the next couple of weeks.

Perhaps even find me some good time management books too.

Nutritional intuitive eating, gah! I feel as intimidated and hopeful, yet completely ready for this next step, as I did when I first began this intuitive eating journey. Who'd've thought that buying one little book would result in such a complete overhaul of my whole life. I guess that's what all those successful “dieters” mean when they say, “It's a lifestyle change.”

4 Nibbles:

kathrynoh said...

Another option is stock the freezer with lots of basics. Maybe this says something about my laziness, but I'm so much more likely to cook a healthy dinner if I can grab a precooked chicken breast etc out of the freezer than cooking it from scratch!

Chicken meatballs are awesome cos you can do with whatever sauce you feel like and they are delish (why is food always tastier in meatball form?)

Gwyneth said...

I menu plan weekly and really enjoy cooking to it. I find it really satisfying knowing I ate great food and used up everything perishable.

But ye gods and little fishes, this all goes out the window due to complete and utter laziness when the other half isn't home. My last dinner in this situation consisted of a couple of handfuls of frozen veg microwaved with half a can of tomatoes and half a can of beans. Nutritionally, not bad, but hardly cuisine :P

In terms of intuitive eating, would it help if you aimed to get your 2fruit5vegsomemeatsomedairysomegrains per day and left it up to your feelings what you chose in these categories?

One thing that puzzles me about your intuitive eating is the way you get very strong, very specific cravings. I'm perfectly happy to accept that's just the way you are, if that's the reason. I've always had a healthy relationship with food (just a healthy relationship with too much food for my activity level! :P ). And while I have the odd sweet craving or the more frequent MUNCHY MUNCHY NOW kind of craving, I can usually satisfy them with just about anything. Now I ain't in the least suggesting that specific cravings are A Bad Thing, but I wonder if they make things difficult for you and as such warrant some thought when you're good and ready.


Kada said...

Good idea Kath! Funny thing is I've been craving Thai meatballs lately. Looks like I need to get some beef, and chicken, mince and make up a batch each of green curry chicken and red beef curry meatballs. (as well as Italian beef ones too.)

Thanks for the great idea!

Kada said...

I think Gwyneth, that it's partially my chef brain. I'm very good at deconstructing foods into flavours and ingredients, and my brain just automatically gravitates to the Very Best Combination of what I'm craving, thus I end up with a dish rather than a food or food group.

But not always. Some days I have no idea what I want when I ask myself What Do I Want To Eat? (Can appreciate Alaskaboy's usual, "Dunno" response a little better now.)

I hear ya on the eating alone thing. That's a BIG part of my problem. I like to eat with other people, and it's a rare occurrence that Alaskaboy's home for the evening meal. (Especially at the time I'm eating dinner.)

I'm gonna aim for the daily diet pyramid thing like you suggest. Will be interesting if my body's okay with that or wants to stick to more of a monthly kind of cycle.