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Panic. Terror. Anxiety.  When I got my latest ‘homework’ during my second Intuitive Eating phone coaching session on Thursday, I freaked out.  It was like drawing a mental blank…my mind couldn’t compute what I was hearing.  I could envision nothing but a black, dark void.

My homework?  For one week, eat anything you want, whether you are hungry or not.  The only caveat is to be 100% PRESENT and MINDFUL to what you are eating.  And notice how you feel!  Gah!!

But I promised to commit myself 150% to this process.  To be ready to transform myself and bust free of dieting hell and the yo-yo weight gains and losses I’ve sustained over the past nearly 20 years (eek, that’s nearly half my life!).  I’ve conditioned myself to only eat carbs during dinner (a la the Carbohydrate Addicts diet) which I’ve attempted twice, each time gaining back the weight I lost and then some.  Yep, that ‘carbs only at dinner’ mindset is tattooed in my brain, and I still beat myself up mentally when I stray. I’m learning that I could actually be unconsciously dieting without even thinking about it!  Oh dear, what a smothering, vicious cycle this is!

So.  With this week-long experiment the idea is to quiet my mind (yeah, good luck with that).  Quiet my mind and instead listen to what my body says it needs.

To some this might sound like HOT DAMN, HOO DOGGY…woohooo!!  For me it was terrifying.  And still is – I’m just a few days into it.  What am I afraid of?  Honestly, I’m afraid of gaining even more weight.  I’m afraid of bingeing and feeling like I’ve eaten too much and “should” slow down or stop.  I’m afraid my body will only crave unhealthy foods and I’ll end up malnourished.

But, I dove right in.  They say to do one thing a day that scares you, right?  This is definitely it!  So below is a peek of my food journal.  I started this experiment February 1.  Ahh, there’s something nice about a new calendar page and a new start.  The timing was fantastic.

February 1:  Breakfast was a morning food “Gulp,” (not what I would call breakfast):  a chunk of cheddar cheese.  I feel rushed and stressed and not necessarily hungry as I’m trying to get out the door and in the car to drive to work.  I force the cheese down; it’s at an earlier time of morning I’m not usually eating, but I force it down because I’m worried I’ll feel hungrier later in the mid morning which is my prime-time for more difficult tasks at work and meetings.

Mid morning snack:  Dried squares of seaweed, flavored with salt and sesame oil…YUM.  I feel zing-y inside and nourished, energized.  Light.

Lunch:  I head over to the large eating area on our company campus.  They have an incredible variety of food choices, including a hot food bar which I really enjoy.  I pick up 1 large meatball with seasonings.  It looks hearty but the meat is really pink and undercooked inside so I stop after a bite.  Disappointed.  I also got a couple of squares of portabella mushroom ravioli.  I feel a little guilty eating carbs and cream sauce during lunchtime but it’s so rich tasting.  Eating slowly to savor the taste.  And a couple scoops of barley risotto.  I love the crunch and nutty texture which is different from the ravioli.  I feel full and don’t finish the second spoonful.

Afternoon snack:  Sea salt and vinegar potato chips.  I took a few moments to inhale the aroma in the bag – the vinegar scent makes me feel energized.  I’m not very hungry but I eat a few anyway.  Next a handful of raw, unsalted almonds.  I was starting to feel low on energy but I felt full still.  The afternoon energy drop I typically experience between 4 and 5pm was not as severe as it’s been when I’ve eaten low/no carb lunches.

Evening of 2/01:  I’m not really feeling super famished – this is great!  I go to the grocery store and don’t feel freaked out (I hate the feeling of being at the grocery store when you’re hungry).  I purchase a couple of containers of Greek yogurt, on-the-vine tomatoes, more of those dried seaweed snacks with sesame oil flavor, pesto, gum, sour cream, chips, organic mac & cheese, sushi for tonight and some beer.  Around 9pm I eat the sushi…it’s brown rice style with sashimi and I mix the wasabi with some spicy wasabi-infused soy sauce in my fridge.  YUM.  I feel elated and full of energy…love the spicy flavors and the seafood!  The rice makes me feel satisfied and not bloated.

Saturday February 2:  I don’t eat anything until 11am.  I was hosting our annual HOA meeting at my townhouse and was feeling excited to see everyone and a little anxious too.

After the meeting I had a piece of cheddar cheese and three huge glasses of V8 juice.  I feel alive and happy, like the juice is nourishing me!  And few small slices of spicy pepperoni.  My stomach feels a little irritated and my esophagus burns a little, but I like it.  Then around 1pm I had a sudden hunger urge.  I found a small serving of leftover pasta and vodka cream sauce in a Tupperware in the fridge. About 2-3 bites. I ate it cold.  Just what I needed!  I feel happy.

I later went to the PCC near my house.  I’m always endlessly fascinated with the variety of foods they carry!  I was in search of primrose oil capsules (they’re supposed to help stabilize PMS cravings and mitigate breast tenderness, among other things), chocolate mousse, organic butter on sale, cilantro lime spread and some live raw bars.  Then I went to my favorite spa for a long-overdue waxing appointment.  Time to get the eyebrows shaped and tinted too…I’m back in job hunting mode bigtime and need to get cleaned up to look my best for interviews!   I got there early and went to the Starbucks across the street to get a nonfat latte.  The lemon pound cake inside the pastry case literally jumped out at me – I need a piece!  I ate about half of it in very small bites.  It made me feel alive and happy.

Dinner:  I am hungry and want mac & cheese.  It’s 5:30pm and I instinctively think OMG no, it’s too early to start dinner.  I start a load of laundry instead.  Then it’s 6:00 and I say fuck it, I’m hungry, let’s start the water boiling.  I made a full box of mac & cheese and ate about 1/3 of it with some shredded mozzarella cheese on top (cheese on top of cheese LOL). I feel happy and full!  The rest goes in the Tupperware for another time.  I had some chips with that cilantro lime spread as a dip later in the evening.  And a couple spoonfuls of the chocolate mousse.  Delighted!

Sunday February 3:  It felt wonderful sleeping in a little later (11am).  I was feeling thirsty so I grabbed a big glass of water and took my typical round of supplements (which now includes the evening primrose oil).  Was I feeling hungry?  Yes, a little bit…so I grabbed some pomegranate-flavored Greek yogurt and had a big glass of V8 juice.  I feel full and a little bloated after finishing the glass of juice – maybe I drank it too quickly.  I love the flavor though!

I came back from running errands and am suddenly hungry again!  So I have a few small bites of the leftover mac & cheese from last night.  I feel guilty about doing that!   And a glass of water.  About an hour later I’m not feeling particularly hungry but I really want one of the raw bars I purchased yesterday.  It’s a chocolate/coconut flavor and it’s delicious!  Now I’m full again.

So, as you can see this is still a very new process for me. Food and my weight are very emotional to me, but it’s hard for me to put those emotions into words, whether on the phone with my coach or in writing here.  So I’ll keep working on it and not beating myself up if I’m not ‘doing it right’ (compared to WHAT, right??)

I vow to reject the diet mentality…saying goodbye and GOOD RIDDANCE to 15+ years of trying/failing at Carbohydrate Addicts, by losing and re-gaining 30-35 lbs each time.  I need to envision shedding the dieting mentality like when an animal molts.  They grow, transform and gleefully walk away from their old skin.  It doesn’t fit and doesn’t suit me any longer!

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