I consider myself a pretty determined and strong person. Once I make my mind up to do something, I stick to it and don’t think much about it because I’ve considered all options and come to a conclusion I’m comfortable and happy with. After over a year of sticking to a fairly “strict” (however you may interpret that, considering I was indulgent before) diet – I have come to a point where I am so lean I need to adjust and reconsider, become even more anal if you will, about my diet if I’d like to stay the way I am or more so, become in even better shape. This has led me to really analyze my eating habits. It goes without saying that I write down everything I eat every day – I like using myfooddiary.com the most – but also use livestrong.com for information. Daily I get the “!” signs about sodium and cholesterol (too many shrimp or dare I say.. non fat cottage cheese, even 1 cup puts you over the edge) – but I choose to ignore these. Other than those I am an exemplary eater. Super low in fat (20-25% of the recommended daily dosage for my body type) and of course, “too” much protein and too little carbs. OK. But looking at the distribution of calories – most of them are added at night, and this is my most difficult time of the day. I will have a healthy breakfast, go to the gym, do my thing, then have lunch, and go for a nice run in the afternoon and have a healthy snack afterwards. Then the night kicks in, the dark and the cold – and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a big plate of food or worse – WINE – and watch my favorite shows, or research something on the internet. I put candles on, cuddle with my puppies and my mind wanders… as I’m surrounded by over 2,000 cookbooks (this is not an exaggeration, but my real life) I am often tempted to pick one up and look at all the wonderful pictures of delectable dishes and dream up how I will cook these for my clients the next week and perhaps I should test them out? I rarely act on these instincts but I have to tell you… they are part of my daily life and also a regular temptation.
We often associate food with certain situations. They could be happy family times, reunions with loved ones, a picnic with friends, cocktails with snacks with colleagues outside of work, holiday get togethers, weekend brunches or after work dinners to relieve stress from every day life. Food can also be associated with not so happy times; forced dinners with relatives and meals you would rather not have, but feel obliged to take part in. Whatever they are, food is a powerful influence on our lifestyle and it is up to us to take the power off of these situations while still maintaining the joy in eating. I for one, want to be able to feel GOOD about whatever I consume, and not have a ‘guilty’ feeling – at the same time I need to make conscious choices about what I put in my body. After much thinking I know that I place most importance and emphasis on the dinner meal of the day. I would like to not give so much importance on this meal, and think of it as lunch, or even breakfast – a time where we need to eat, but at the same time enjoy what we eat. But it’s not going to define my day or make or break my enjoyment of the evening. There are so many other things I can fill my day with – eating is only a small percentage of it (although important and I treasure it!).
I would like to practice this thinking before I head home to Norway for Christmas. All I can ever think of in terms of memories when being home is food. I know this sounds horrible but in many ways it’s true. I am met by my mother who instantly brings me to her table for prepared food she has probably planned out about 3 months before my arrival. Then there are plans about dinner, when I should return from errands or friends’ visits to make sure I’m back in time for the meals prepared, and also – what time she should have the breakfast smorgasbord ready in the morning. My whole day is arranged around the meal schedule and I always get a lesson in how her cookies, liver pate and roasts are made yearly. I love getting the education – don’t get me wrong – but boy it is really going to be tough this year explaining that I enjoy oatmeal in the morning paired with a healthy non fat yogurt in the afternoon, lol!
Point of this post is – meals and food are so important in our daily lives – and I would like it to still be a positive association to me. I don’t ever want to feel like it’s something I “have to do”, just because I chose a healthier lifestyle than most. Food is to be enjoyed, eaten with friends and family, and treasured and appreciated as the true gift to us as it is. No need to become indulgent or overdo it – just have a taste and experience the pleasure it can give you! You know you will hit the gym and those weights and together the food and workouts should make for a wonderful synergy. Remember – non fat, low carb, low sugar and lots of vegetables – as much as possible!