Mindful Eating Pt. 3: Six-Months Later

Posted on January 12, 2019

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In two previous posts, I wrote about adopting a 7-8 hour window for eating each day (intermittent fasting), and eliminating most sugar from my diet. Six months have passed. How’s it going?

Short answer: FANTASTIC!

I’ve lost 25 pounds. My doctor is satisfied with my progress. I LOST 2 pounds over Winter Break–and I ate some cookies! I’ve dropped a pants size. Most importantly: I feel GOOD. With the decreased sugar, chronic pain has decreased–probably from decreased inflammation and the decreased load on my spine.

I still have no cravings. I usually eat twice a day. A normal meal is soup and a muffin, bagel, or quesadilla, and if I’m still hungry, a piece of fruit or some nuts.

Soups allow me to eat vegetables in a form I can enjoy. I have made and frozen several tasty soups in single-serving, ready-to-microwave portions: Red Pepper-Corn Chowder, Mushroom Bisque, Butternut Squash, Lemon-Red Lentil, and Potato-Pinto.

Along with the soups, I have baked and frozen dozens of muffins: Morning Glory, Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut, Red Raspberry, Pumpkin-Pecan, Zucchini, Banana-Nut, Ground Cherry. While the muffins do contain some sugar, I use a bit less than a recipe calls for; the fruits bring sweetness and moisture, and the muffins are delicious.

My second meal might be a different soup and muffin, or pizza, mac-n-cheese, or my favorite meal EVER: beans (black or refried pinto) & rice, chips, guacamole, and queso.

My weight loss did stall for a few weeks. Under extreme stress, I lost control and binged on sweets for about a week. Much to my chagrin, I gained 3 pounds and had to lose it again. I looked for ways to “jump start” the process and get back on track. I stumbled into this story: How Penn Jillette Lost Over 100 Pounds And Still Eats Whatever He Wants. For a couple of weeks, I replaced one or both of my meals with potatoes, and I was able to quickly get back on track.

During that time, I also discovered the idea of One Meal A Day, and if I felt strong enough that day, I’d eat just one meal. I was disappointed in myself for falling under the power of sugar for a few days, but I am glad that I regained control before winter break. I practiced self-compassion and avoided guilt and self-condemnation. I told myself, “I can do this.” And I did.

For exercise, I walk 30-60 minutes per day. If I get out to a grass trail, I can walk for several hours, if I have the time. If I’m not up to walking, or if conditions might cause me to fall, I exercise inside. I dance vigorously, do yoga-type stretches, squats, and walk the stairs.

I exercise mindfully, focused on my body. Ever since I was a high school sprinter on the track team, I’ve always LOVED to sink into the rhythm of movement and breath. Just typing that sentence triggers a memory of the sound of my feet on the cinders of the track and the voice in my head chanting, “in-in-in-in-out-out-out-out” as I ran the quarter mile.

When I’m physically active, I focus my awareness on my spine, smooth movement, road conditions & potential hazards, the sensations of breathing, exertion, tension, and relaxation. I seek that exact level of effort where “exercise” ends and “dancing” begins: it’s rhythmic, pulsing, alive, and free. On the bike, it feels like flying.

Looking back over the past six months, I can see an overall trend toward a better relationship with food and toward better health. I can see how effortlessly I can reverse my progress–and how to recover eating in a good way when I falter.

Going forward, I’m going to try to continue to lose 1-2 pounds per week. I’m weighing myself every other week now. My goal weight seems about 9-12 weeks away. I’m going to be firm but gentle with myself, and I’m going to enjoy the journey. After all, the REAL goal is to be healthy and strong so that I can ENJOY MY LIFE.

If you, dear reader, are on a similar journey, I hope that my words and experiences will give you hope, encouragement, and helpful information. It can be difficult to navigate a world overflowing with food that tastes amazing and is easily obtained. BUT–it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. My six-month results are good, and I’ve done nothing at all drastic, in terms of eating or exercising. I eat beautiful, delicious, home-cooked, healthful food every day, and I enjoy it. Life is good. May the same be true for you.

May you be happy; may you be well; may you be free from suffering; may you be at peace.

 

 

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