Project 40: The Zen of The Diet

zen foodIt’s been a week since I started Project 40. Seven days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. And in nearly every single one of those seconds, I’ve had to remind myself of why I started this project to begin with. I want to fit into my clothes again. I want to feel lean again. I want to feel strong again. And, mostly, I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again.

It has not been an easy week. Several times I would have traded one of my kidneys for a Snickers. By Thursday, my mouth felt and tasted like a sock – not that I have tremendous experience knowing what socks taste like, you understand. I just have a great imagination. You know how your mouth feels when you need something to drink? That pasty, sticky kind of feeling? Well, it was like that only with sawdust. Awful. It felt awful, tasted awful, and (I fear) smelled awful. This week I may have to keep some sugarless gum on-hand.

If you review my worksheets for the week, you’ll discover that there are times when Susie Nutrition was on point and times when she was obviously absent. Popcorn? As a meal? Well….. Obviously, it had the calories I needed for the day, but not the nutrition. I was feeling very snackish, though, and that tub of unbuttered, unsalted popcorn did the trick; so, I’m good with it. It’s not like I ate that at every meal. Most of my meals were pretty sound, actually, if not necessarily traditional.

Over the course of the week, I remembered little tricks that helped make the Great Reduction successful and many of them are zen things I saw in a meme this week:

1. Do one thing at a time. – I can’t watch tv or cruise around the internet while I’m eating. That turns eating into a mindless activity where I eat faster, I eat more, and I feel less satisfied. So, when it’s time to eat, I have to turn off the tube, turn off the laptop, and put the phone in another room.

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. – I must eat slowly. Normally, I’m done with my meal in fifteen minutes or so, which doesn’t give me time to savor anything or to let my stomach tell my brain it’s full. I slowed down this week and even put my fork down between bites a few times.

3. Do it completely. – I have to really chew my food. One of the things about eating quickly is that I don’t chew my food much, either. This week, I paid attention to that. Rather than tossing a handful of peanuts into my mouth at once on the day I had them for snack, I ate one peanut at a time, chewed it, enjoyed it, then had another.

4. Do less. – Of course, I have to eat less of the things that are bad for me, although I can still have them. Last night, I enjoyed some So Delicious Cashew Milk Dark Chocolate Truffle frozen dessert. I scooped out 1/3 a cup and savored every molecule of it. I’m not going to lie and say that it didn’t cross my mind to get more (or even the rest of the pint), of course it did! But, I didn’t do it. I have to relearn to enjoy calorie dense foods in moderation.

5. Put space between things. – I take space OUT for this one. I use smaller plates and bowls. It really does make a difference to my mind! When a smaller plate looks full, I will feel like I’ve eaten more than if I serve the same amount on a larger plate, which would look emptier.

6. Develop rituals. – I chop vegetables and store them in the fridge when I get home from the store, before I actually need them. If I keep veggies ready to use, I’m much more likely to actually use them.

7. Designate time for certain things. – I have something of a schedule when it comes to eating. This helps me ensure that my blood sugar levels stay fairly constant, which helps avoid cravings and overeating.

8. Devote time to sitting. – No more eating over the sink! I eat at the table…on a real plate…with real cutlery. I have to get back in the habit of making meals appealing to my eyes as well as to my tastebuds.

9. Smile and serve others. – Forget it. I’m eating.

10. Make cooking and cleaning become meditation. – I enjoy cooking anyway; so, this one isn’t hard at all for me. Now, making cleaning become meditation? Prolly not.

11. Think about what is necessary. – I have to plan my meals with an eye for variety so that my body gets some of all of the nutrients it needs. In addition, it’s such a temptation on a diet to opt for easy foods like salads. However, if I don’t give my body and tastebuds the variety they need, I’ll end up fighting cravings and, well, ain’t nobody got time fa that.

12. Live simply. – My menu consists mostly of things that I could grow myself or make at home if I choose. I do have some vegan cheese, some vegan cheddar crackers, and some cashew milk frozen dessert. Those are clearly processed; however, they are a minimal part of my diet. Most of my menu consists of foods that have one ingredient: themselves.

It was a good week, overall. It was challenging, for sure, but good. Project 40 is off to a good start!




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