Fall down Seven times, Stand up Eight. ~ Japanese Proverb
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get this healthy living lifestyle together? I keep falling, but I also keep getting back up. Yesterday, I had my first appointment with a nutritionist. Remember a while back when I was in that church group of ladies with food and body issues? Well one time a nutritionist came to one of our meetings. Despite looking like a real life Barbie doll, she was surprisingly compassionate and presented a real food plan that it always stuck with me.
I pulled up in the parking lot of her office about 3o minutes early. I thought, man this lady is definitely going to say I can’t eat cookies. So I went to the grocery store down the street and bought a snickerdoodle cookie. I was rebelling before I even got started. I just knew she’d tell me “You can only have 1,600 calories a day, eat eggs for breakfast, veggies for dinner, and of course no cookies.” Because I know how to lose weight and I know the rules. I just knew she’d ask what I’d eaten today, and I’d have to tell her about the 4 for $4 fast food special I had for lunch. I just knew she would tell me I’m a doughnut away from diabetes.
Well I was pretty much wrong. We did a brief health history. I told her I have had high blood pressure since age 28, controlled by medicine. She told me that my body is amazingly self-healing and that one of our goals would be to get off the blood pressure medicine. I told her about my childhood where unhealthy food was banned and about those two times I lost 50 pounds. She quickly concluded that I was never taught how to self regulate a balanced meal plan, and noted that a healthy balance of 80% nutritious and pleasurable food and 20% non nutritious and pleasurable food would be the end goal.
Do you know how many times I bought carrots, because “they’re good for you,” only to let them rot? I’ve finally accepted, I don’t like carrots. I’ve spent so much time over the years trying to eat what I “should,” that it was really difficult for me to assess what I actually enjoy. She said there will be nothing I “should” have and no food will be demonized. I confessed that I had a cookie right before our meeting as a final hurrah. She said “Oh no, I won’t be taking your cookies away. That was just your eating disorder flaring up, trying to protect you from confiding a new person and being vulnerable about food.” My head cocked to the side. She said it so casually “Your eating disorder.” I guess she saw my shocked face, and responded “You have to call it what it is, and give it a name, in order to heal.” Hmmm okay lady, I guess I’m still listening because you’re not taking away cookies.
Then we discussed my homework. I’m such a nerd, I kind of like the idea of homework. First up, watch the dairy. I’m lactose intolerant but eat dairy pretty much whenever I feel like it. She noted the disconnect between my head and my body, that I regularly and willingly eat foods that make my stomach upset. Next, eat breakfast within a half hour of waking up. OMG, I can’t eat that early. She told me that I have to get my body and metabolism regulated from the restrict and binge cycles I currently do. Eating early will let my body know that it can trust me to feed it. About the only thing she really pushed was me switching from almond milk to soy milk, because it has 8 times more protein. Who knew?
She also noted that I need to eat every 3-4 hours. She said I won’t always have to, but for now, that’s what my body needs to get regulated. For lunch, I need a grain, a protein and a healthy fat. Dinner was up to me. That was it. There was no talk of me dying, no talk of calories, and no food restriction. It actually seemed manageable. She had me step on the scale backwards and said I didn’t need to see the number, as it would only play with my head. And she noted if I do weigh myself at home, it should be once a week on Fridays, not Monday after a fun-filled weekend which might show an inflated number.
Lastly, she noted that after our session discussing food, my “eating disorder” would probably flare up in the car on the way home. She said to be prepared for it, protect myself from it and pray. Go home and watch a movie. I went home, made that delicious grilled salmon recipe and stir fried some brussels sprouts. It was actually so tasty, and filling and guilt free. I had all the choices in the world, and I chose brussels sprouts? and enjoyed them? Maybe I’m on to something!