I sort of miss the days when I didn’t give much thought to what I was eating. There’s something to be said about grabbing whatever suits your current mood and never having to be concerned about having too little or too much. I’ve always envied people who don’t have to be constantly preoccupied with food and can simply enjoy it for what it is. Some only eat when they’re truly hungry, and some have natural signals to let them know when to stop eating without issue, but I’ve never had either of those basic abilities. I don’t ever recall feeling satisfied unless I’d finished off my plate, or worse, until there was nothing left in the package or box, and I honestly think it’s more about being OCD over completing an act as opposed to actually wanting to eat.
Think of working on a jigsaw puzzle. What do you do when you’ve assembled all but one piece? Do you absent-mindedly set that piece aside for later, or are you anxious to place it so the puzzle will finally be complete? How about when you reach the last chapter of an exciting book? Do you forget about it just because it’s time for bed or do you take an extra few minutes to finish it off? I’ve always had that anxiety of wanting something done and over with, of wanting things to be complete, and being such an all-or-nothing person has often left me feeling out of control over whatever I may have in front of me. I’ve spent the past few years reminding myself that it’s ok to not eat every bite just because it’s there, as eating everything that’s in front of me simply isn’t the same as finishing a puzzle or reading the very last chapter of a book. And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how full I may be, whether it’s a cheeseburger or a salad it still feels wrong to not finish something off. Something I’ve had to do is make sure I have more salads than cheeseburgers to choose from! It hasn’t been easy to feel satisfied with different foods in general, but it’s the only way I’ve avoided unknowingly eating over 3000 calories at once.
I try to maintain this new awareness by tracking everything I eat. I use a weekly planner for a food/ fitness journal as a new way to satisfy my OCD over completing acts; instead of eating everything on my plate or mindlessly finishing off a package of cookies, I complete my daily and weekly entries, shifting my focus to accomplishing healthier habits that I can be proud of rather than anxiously eating through crap that won’t even be remembered the next day. I’m utterly amazed at how well shifting my focus has worked for me; keeping the food/ fitness journal has apparently been the piece of the puzzle that I’d needed all of these years. I can’t simply drop my issues, so I feel rather lucky that I’ve finally managed to figure out how to rework them to my advantage.
I still envy those that don’t have to be so preoccupied with food, health, and dieting in order to be at a normal weight, but perhaps it’s better to be proud that I’ve worked so hard and have accomplished so much. With proper planning and setting the right priorities, I’ve learned that I can do so much more than I ever realized to be possible. And while I used to feel completely scared and overwhelmed at the idea of raising a baby, with this new mindset I have every confidence that I can handle the challenges energy to be a good, active, responsible parent. It’s interesting how working on one little aspect of my daily routine has positively affected other areas of my life. I guess it’s just another piece of the puzzle.