I’m trying an experiment beginning today. It’s one of those experiments that leaves my significant other rolling his eyes (oh, and he refused to eat most of his breakfast this morning). It’s one of those experiments that, like the simple wardrobe endeavor, is probably WAY PAST DUE in my life.
I’m ready to simplify my food.
I’ve always LOVED cooking. I have a mother who is amazing in the kitchen. Her creations are the talk of the family (and any others lucky enough to attend one of her many “events” that center on food dressed up in properly garnished, beautifully color-balanced edibles on amazing crystal and china).
I like dishes — not like my mother likes them, but I like them. I eat with sterling. I prefer crystal to glass. I like porcelain and bone china. I have my mother’s genes. But, unlike my thin and willpower-endowed mother, I also like to eat — I like it A LOT.
Sure, I am known for my organic preferences and my “wholesome” menus. But (especially lately) if I don’t have the time or the energy to cook properly, I fall COMPLETELY off the good food wagon and find myself regularly visiting drive through windows and bakeries and the junk food aisle. My children aren’t at home anymore (so I cook less and don’t feel as compelled to set a good example) and the Honey Badger and I stay busy lately, with the care and nurture of the new storefront business, so it seems only logical that fast food is a good answer — or at least an easy one.
That was 50 pounds ago. I actually weighed 50 pounds less three years ago when the Badger and I started dating. FIFTY pounds. 5-0. That’s flipping HORRIBLE. I purchased my simple wardrobe about 30 pounds in, but now I’m outgrowing my simple wardrobe. 🙁
In addition to the hit on my self-esteem, I’ve had problems with my back, my knees, my ankles, and every joint I have hurts on a regular basis. I’m not a stupid woman and I’m well aware that what I’m doing is slowly killing me. I’m also aware that it’s reducing my quality of life to something WAY below where I want it to be. AND… I’m tired all the time.
I hate feeling this way and despise the fact that we seem to be spending every spare dime to feed ourselves — because eating out is darn expensive! And we won’t even talk about the lethargy created when one subsists (barely) on fast food.
As you probably suspect, I’ve been wrestling with this for awhile. I usually get disgusted and give up trying to figure it out … and soothe myself with a dish of ice-cream or tortilla’s and dip. (Because that helps, right?)
I’ve been trying to find time to come up with easy menus so I’ll start cooking again. I need to reduce the amount of time I spend figuring out “what’s for dinner” and “what’s for lunch” — that question causes the biggest stress between me and my man. (It’s a decision we both HATE making — so we push it to the last minute, effectively eliminating all the healthy options.)
I want to have the answer “at the ready” and I want this three-times-a-day chore to be more automated and to require less of my creative and financial resources. I’ve looked at different diets (from not only a weight loss standpoint, but a health standpoint). I’ve driven myself crazy trying to figure it out and trying to create healthy meals that my very picky significant other will eat.
The Honey Badger doesn’t like “rabbit food” or “greens” or broccoli, or peas or most veggies. He likes potatoes (preferably deep fried) or baked — but the baked ones have to be approximately the size of a human head or he complains about the tiny potatoes.
Then he slathers up the baked mound of starchy mess with over a half a stick of butter, which makes it the same as deep fried — possibly worse. He likes to add variety to his food by rotating between greasy Mexican food, pizza, and burgers. At home, he likes chicken or grilled steak or hamburgers — but only if they are served with potatoes and some form of dessert (never fresh fruit, it needs to be cake or ice cream or pies.) *sigh*
Needless to say, it’s been difficult to find a good balance between the way I used to eat and the way that he prefers to eat. I’ve joined his pattern, and I think it might just kill me if I continue.
I had a good thing going once, when I was basing my food on micronutrients as well as the macros. The problem is, it took up a HUGE chunk of my free time and I found myself obsessing about food all the time: what to fix, how to fix it, what to include and what spices and other things I needed to add to meet my daily requirements and to “get” all the macro and micros needed for my personal best. I measured everything. I recorded everything. I cross referenced all the macros and micros and added them up manually each day, because there is no pre-packaged program that tracks everything I was tracking.
It worked. I felt better than I’ve ever felt, never felt hungry, and the weight just melted off. The problem is, it took up WAY more of my time than I’m willing (or able) to devote to it now. I want food to nourish my body and to improve my life — I don’t want to spend that life overwhelmed with the task of nourishing my body.
I want my food to be fuel, not entertainment. I don’t want to eat because I’m bored (I’d rather read a book, or paint, or write, or watch a movie or take a nap — or ANYTHING else). I don’t want to eat so much bad stuff that I experience deep-seated cravings which lead me on eating rampages, trying to find whatever it is my body is screaming for. That just makes me over eat and feel yucky.
The fact is, people live longer when they are a little hungry on a regular basis. It’s proven. The advantages of under-feeding my body a little may be enough to overcome slight deficiencies in micro/macro nutrients. I dunno. What I DO know is that eating the “all american super-sized” diet I’m on right now isn’t working. I’m ready to feel better.
I have determined that I despise exercise, I’m not sure it I would hate it less if I were smaller and if my joints hurt less — but I think I might. As it is now, I have neither the time nor the desire to exercise. I hope it changes, but for now I’ll work with things the way they are.
I’m taking charge of making some needed changes. I’m fixing it. I have discussed it with the Honey Badger and I although I doubt he will join me in this experiment, I don’t think he will intentionally sabotage me. (Please note the word “intentionally.”)
I think we can save money with my experiment too — granted, he will probably continue to spend money to eat out — but feeding one that way won’t cost as much as doing it for two.
I’m going to follow a pretty simple eating plan to start (I can tweak it as time goes on).
Breakfast (eaten between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.)
Lunch (eaten between 12 and 2:00)
Dinner (eaten between 6 and 8 p.m.)
What’s Off Limits
I’m still working on “serving size” and a “mix and match” list of items that are easy to find, inexpensive, and nutritionally dense. Once I complete that list, I’ll share it here on livingsmall.com.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the concept of simplifying my diet in the same way I’ve simplified my wardrobe. The wardrobe is still being tweaked (but not obsessively so) and I expect the same will be true of the diet.
With a simple diet, making a simple menu, and a simple weekly shopping list will leave me more room to be creative in other areas of my life. Sure, if I want to get creative with a dish that’s within these guidelines, I can — but I don’t have to.
Yay! I’m feeling liberated already!