Crystal, You Look Good. What Have You Been Doing?
As of yesterday I am 18 pounds lighter than I was a month ago. I have been getting nice comments here and there from people who have noticed. And I have had several people ask me what I have been doing. I know they are expecting a simple answer like, Zumba, or a Paleo diet, or a pill. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. The following was written as a response to someone who asked me what I have been doing because she genuinely wants help to let go of some weight herself.
As many of you know, I had my heart-broken about a month ago. At first I was sort of soul-sick. Everything I considered eating made me want to cry or throw up. Looking back, I don’t know if it was a psychosomatic manifestation, or if the whole experience actually thrust me into a mindful place where I was finally listening to my body about what was good and what was bad and how much was enough.
The “sick” part only lasted about a week or two. But when I realized that I was letting go of the weight along with letting go of the relationship, I decided to make it part of my new plan. Part of what life was going to look like moving forward. Part of loving myself and taking care of myself. I have to say that the mental work has been the biggest aspect of it. Because I am hungry a lot, but for some reason, this time the hunger isn’t winning.
I’m working very hard on everything that looks like loving myself and taking care of myself. I have been doing a lot of nice things for myself – even if they are impractical. I look in the mirror and tell myself how beautiful I am. I spend time telling my body parts how much I love them. I tell my tummy – one of the places my body has been holding onto extra weight – that I appreciate the protection it has given me, but that I am okay and I can take care of myself. That it’s safe to be thin. I tell it that there is enough of everything. We don’t have to save up and be scared of not having enough. We can let it all go. And good stuff will come.
I have adopted a few mantras. My body is wise. It knows how to take care of me. My body can fully digest and use all of the food that I give it. And it will let go of all of the food that I do not need. I’m being as mindful as possible about every move. Telling my body that I want to take care of it and asking how I can before I eat anything.
I also have some goals that are related to weight, but not directly about weight. I have a vision of living fully and loving fully that will require me to be in better physical shape and strength in order to achieve it. I imagine hiking through hills I’ve never seen before with people I love – experiencing that beauty together. I think about swimming in a little natural pool that has a waterfall flowing into it. And I’m there with someone who loves me intensely. Who wants to play with me. Who wants to take laps around life with me. I imagine rowing a boat down a river. Rock climbing, jumping off of rocks into water. All sorts of outdoor fun. Connecting with nature in a physical way.
As for what I am doing – on the outside, the motions I am taking – I have been preparing and eating smaller portions. I have been trying to eat a lot more protein. I haven’t been eating fast food or eating out at all unless there is a social reason to do so (about once a week). Almost everything I’ve eaten has been something I “made.” But even that is a bit of a misnomer. Most of what I have been eating has been raw. I made it by cutting it up. I suppose if it were a diet it would look most like a Paleo diet.
I’ve been avoiding dairy aside from fat-free Greek yogurt. I have been limiting processed carbs almost completely. But I haven’t really eliminated anything completely. I had some garlic bread Friday night. I had some sour cream last night. But just a little bit. Just the tablespoon that is a serving. I have also forgiven myself, and told my body that I trust it to take care of me every time that I have decided to eat something that I would have, in the past, considered “bad” food. Like a sucker, or a cocktail, or some cheese.
I’m kind of counting calories. I’m picking things with fewer calories when I shop. I’m adding up how many calories are in what I’m eating at each meal. (Which is easy because I’m eating less-processed stuff.) But I’m not really adding it all up.
My doctor said to shoot for around 1000-1200 calories a day and for 60% of it to be protein. I’ve probably been hovering around 1000 for the most part. I definitely haven’t hit 60% protein even once. So, it’s a lot of little things. And I’ve been drinking like 60 ounces of water (or so) a day.
And I have been thinking almost constantly about what it means to take care of myself – all day. Every time I eat. Sometimes it means I’m going to eat a 15 calorie sucker. Sometimes it means I am going to drink 20 oz. of water before I eat anything else. Sometimes it means eating lettuce first. Or spaghetti and meatballs without the noodles. Today it meant trying a protein shake that turned out to be AWFUL. But the point is to love myself with my food. Which means I don’t really have a plan.