It has been just over a month since I wrote my last food related post and started making some changes. As I mentioned before, I don't tend to love most diets due to their unsustainable nature and focus on deprivation, but I do believe that we North Americans eat far more than we actually need, so a little 'deprivation' is in fact a move in the right direction. The first week mainly focussed on training my brain and stomach that I didn't need the larger portion, the second helping, or the snack between every meal. It is amazing to me how much of hunger, in our culture, is mental or habitual.
I found myself thinking before I had even taken one bite of a meal: "This isn't going to be enough"
Or, craving a snack just an hour (if that) after a large satisfying meal.
The word I used in my original post was 'recalibration' and that's really what had to happen for my hunger gauge.
Now that I have done a lot of recalibration and helped my brain be more attuned to when I am actually hungry (rather than just bored) I am amazed at what fills me up. I am trying to go carb-less for a meal a day (or every couple days..the carb love is strong..) and it actually shocked me to realize that I could be full after a meal that didn't include grains. A couple weeks ago I COULDN'T finish a bubble tea. WAT. While I know that I am still very privileged in the food realm, I am glad I am starting to learn a tiny bit more about what I actually need vs. want.
In regard to the rules I set up for myself...
I had this idealistic view of eating rice and veggies for every meal as a means of simplifying but that didn't go far. First off I have a husband who likes to eat more than that and wasn't on this abstract food mindfulness journey I was on. Also, a baby who is beginning to eat and needs more diversity, iron, and mushiness in her life. Also I LOVE TO COOK. I realized that cooking is one of my favourite things to do and opting out of that for a consistent plain meal plan would be taking away one of my main hobbies. So that went out the window pretty quick.
What has been successful is incorporating more vegetables, which gives me the variety I need for cooking/eating to remain fun, while also growing my appreciation for the little bundles of health that vegetables are. Also it is awesome to go all out in buying all the veggies I could possibly want and still keep the food bill super low. No deprivation there!
Beverages have become my snack food. Tea, coconut water, mint/lemon water, green smoothies, those are my go to if I am feeling snacky. Also I just discovered David's Tea "Tea Pops" which I am drinking like 7 of a day. You make a double strong batch of tea (sweet teas seem to work best) pour it over ice and mix with soda water. IT'S LIKE POP BUT NOT HORRIBLE! Life just gets more exciting amiright!? I've never been a chocolate fan but one square of dark (salted) chocolate is the best evening snack and seems to curb any residual cravings.
Eating simpler, appreciating the food that I eat, and keeping special food special. Those were the main goals I set out. Appreciating the food that I eat has been where I have seen the biggest growth. Not checking my phone during meals, not rushing through without consideration, appreciating that the food in front of me is nourishing and it is enough. Our access to so much food is a huge privilege, and I don't want to abuse it and take it for granted. Let the journey continue!