I’ve made progress.

As I reflect back on the last year, versus any other time in my life I’ve noticed the difference in myself and my food choices. My brain, body and capabilities have made some incredible leaps. I, me!!! I have done this. I went from commitment, to practicing new ways of life and now I just do the things that I’ve practice, sometimes without a reminder to myself I need to do them. All have been in many different areas of my life.

I notice these changes in subtle ways through a variety of avenues. I’ve noticed that when I go grocery shopping I will rarely shop down the isles and actually I spend most of my time in the produce section when grocery shopping. There are the occasional things that I will go down the isles for which usually include pineapple out of a can, green beans, salsa, tortillas and sometimes crackers.

I cut calories. Cutting calories is an art form, and all though doesn’t seem very fun, is one of the things that helped me most with food. Cutting calories at most or every meal has really taught me a new way to consume and look at my food. It’s taught me that even though I want the cheese on my burger, I don’t need it, or those fries, or extra anything on anything. It’s taught me that food can still be good without the extra things. It helped with portion control.

One way I “cut calories” was with ranch. I will probably never use ranch again in the same way as I use to, if I use it at all. I say this because if you use greek yogurt and mix it with a ranch powder packet, you not only cut your calories but you are consuming something with less preservatives and with added protein. It’s a creative and tastier way to eat more veggies.

Another way I cut calories is in my coffee. I really love coffee, like a lot. As a side note I started to realize that one of the reasons why I loved coffee so much because it was the one thing I had in the day that I would stop for, and really take a moment to enjoy. Food was consumed as an afterthought in the day. With coffee I realized what I enjoyed about that moment with coffee. I loved the foam, and the dark warm aroma of a latte’. With that said, I cut my calories in half by getting non-fat milk, cut with water. The foam was still present, and I still got that cozy feeling I was after. I also switched to sugar free. I know what people say about chemicals and aspartame (and I know what I said about ranch dressing). But as a coffee lover, this was probably one of the most important changes in my “liquid” part of my diet. Liquid calories are tricky and add up rather quickly.

At first it seemed silly asking for my sf mocha, half water, half nonfat milk latte’. It doesn’t sound tasty and it’s not what people are use to hearing on the other end. I remember the first time I started asking for something different than the norm, it felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want to offend anyone, or make anyone upset and after watching the movie Waiting I really didn’t want to piss anyone off for making their lives difficult.

It’s a slow process, asking for what you want in your food. It takes patience with yourself as you build strength to do it and understanding that in the long run… It’s their job. It’s their job to take your order exactly how you want it, it’s their job to serve you and they will be there even if you ask for something exactly how the menu reads. After a while it gets easier, your confidence will improve and eventually you will be able to do it and even joke with the waiter or waitress/barista about it.

In time asking for the things I want has become automatic. It took me a long time to get super creative with menus. I usually will brows it and get creative with what’s on the menu because after visiting the same establishments after a while and only eating off of the salad section of their menu gets pretty boring and makes me hate eating out. I now can eat burgers with no bun and face up hot turkey sandwiches with cheese (only eating half of the bread). I also ask for light on the sauce, brown rice, and extra veggies.

It is though sort of comical to order a burger with light mayo, no cheese, wrapped in lettuce, with a side salad and no croutons (with dressing on the side of course). The waitress kind of jokes with you, and if you visit this place often they start to recognize you. In the end it’s my body, and it’s their job to make it for me.  After all, if I’m allergic to cheese or whatever I don’t ask for, and they bring it to me anyways, I could sue their asses. 😉

Other ways that I’ve made progress are in how I talk to my friends about food.

The biggest way I’ve made progress though is how I talk to myself about food, and maybe now it’s not how I talk to myself about food directly, but how I talk to myself in response to the food I eat and my body and brain in which I have tended to put down for eating food. The last piece is something that I’m now starting to work on and struggle every day with.

Progress is made when we practice new behaviors. I only got to this point where I am through practicing new ways of living. We can only move forward if we practice and I know for myself I will only make progress in my journey through continuing to practice new ways of living. Practice and progress go hand in hand. If you are practicing new things, trying out a new recipe, adding extra veggies, or parking further from the grocery store in the parking lot you are making progress.

Next blog post, Practice, stay tuned. J

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