You eat what?!

04 January, 2015

You know those annoying people who proudly proclaim, "Well, I can't eat anything I want!" when they see you eating your "rabbit food"?

I am one of those people.

I LOVE food. I love cooking it, baking it but above all else eating it.

Give me all the pasta in the world and I am one happy gal.

That is until 30 minutes after the meal and then I feel like I've ingested a boulder.

Needless to say, pasta and I have a rocky relationship and are currently not friends.

When I first started working with Drew, the first thing we tackled was the nutrition side of things. I kept a food journal, turned it in, he reviewed and then we talked about it. I remember him asking me if I knew what changes I needed to make and me immediately snapping back "If I knew that already, I wouldn't be here".

Food has a weird pull over people. We, not everyone but some of us, eat when we are happy, sad, bored, worried, anxious, celebrating something, mourning something or just because it is there, staring at you from the counter in the breakroom at work begging to be eaten.

So, to answer his question, no I didn't know what changes needed to be made.

The answer was pretty simple:
  • All the fresh fruits & vegetables I wanted (awesome and being a vegetarian totally easy), but dried fruit was out (total bummer) as were bananas (double bummer)
  • Beans & lentils (o.k., I could manage that)
  • Almonds, Pecans & Brazil Nuts (done!)
  • Peanut butter could stay in limited qualities & it had to be the good stuff (whoop! whoop!)
  • Another source of protein such as quinoa, TVP or tofu (and eggs if I could stomach it)
  • Greek yogurt because it is delicious
  • Potatoes could stay as well, but had to be small & only for first or second meal
And that was it. THAT was the list of what I could eat.

No bread, pasta or cereal. No cheese. No chocolate (he did eventually o.k. dark chocolate once in a blue moon but even that came with rules and regulations).  Gone was my delicious trail mix (we all know it's just chocolate with obstacles) and granola. No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a quick dinner. And it was farewell to my pasta. 

We can't forget the rest of the "rules" that came with the diminutive list: all meals were to be consumed between 11am-7pm (hello there, intermittent fasting, not terribly nice to meet you),  meals were no longer to be referred to as breakfast, lunch or dinner (simply meal 1, meal 2 and meal 3) and I needed to start drinking water like it was my job. 

I hated every minute of it. I was never a big breakfast eater but the more I started working out, the more I seemed to crave it in the morning. Having to wait until 11am to eat was brutal. I would literally sit at my desk, will the clock to hit 11am so I could eat something. And that ridiculously small list of "Drew Approved Foods"? Seriously?! How could a person live? I fought him every flippin' step of the way. 

Fast forward six months later.

I still only eat what is on the above list (with an occasional cheat day of course). I still only eat my meals between 11am-7pm (unless I have a work thing, then I adjust according to fit an 8 hour span). And I actually love it and in fact eat, anything I want.

Which is weird, right?

Following that list above took the guess work out of my meals and whether or not I am eating the right stuff, eating enough, eating too much. I no longer worry about carbs or fat or calories, because who has time for that? Who has time to worry about whether or not they "ate all their calories" at breakfast or have tiny little nibbles of food all day because of girls night after work and you don't want to blow it?!

I certainly don't. And it's no fun. But in theory, neither should having to follow that list!

But that was the biggest lesson I learned of all. It did work because I DECIDED to follow it. I didn't have to. I could have done what I've always done which is freak out about fat grams and staying under so many grams of carbs and never once going over a certain amount of calories because if I did, then I failed.

Changing my mindset from "I can only eat" to "I have decided to eat" was incredible. It was one of those stupid "lightbulb moments" where I literally woke up one morning and told myself "The only reason this is happening (i.e. my new outlook on eating) is because you decided that it is happening. No one else is forcing you to do it".

The 'ole "mind over matter" had struck again!

Acknowledging that I had decided to follow these ridiculous (but annoyingly effective) suggestions/rules took away the longing for the foods I "couldn't have". It took away the frustration of feeling limited and gave me back the feeling of having a certain sense of power over my decisions. But more importantly, it was liberating and I'm not sure I could ever go back. 

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