Dieting takes effort. I know, duh. It's worth noting, though, as I've just really started thinking about how to best streamline my life. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post about my adventures in chilling the F*** out.) With one active kid, hopes for another someday, two full-time jobs in two different towns, one car, and unpredictable commutes, this household needs some serious simplifying.
One thing that's taken a lot of my time and energy in the last, oh, 25 (out of 35) years is diet. Before I became a mom, I could get sucked down an hours-long online rabbit hole of nutritional theory, manifestos on superfoods, discussion boards on the benefits of juice cleansing--and before I knew it, I was armed with homework requiring extensive time in the kitchen and my swiftly weakening willpower.
Now that the luxury of free time has abandoned me with dozens of cookbooks---all but 4 or 5 gathering dust---and almost as many diet books I don't have the time or energy to follow, is it time for a simpler approach?
Jason at Cook Train Eat Race got me thinking when he started observing the way his 7-year-old eats. It's intuitive, guided by hunger, easily distracted, and totally mentally healthy. Jason's son doesn't think about calories or a growing wheat belly. He's not concerned about making sure he eats a lot now (even when he's not hungry) because there might not be something available at the party he's attending later. Yup, I'm jealous of Jason's 7-year-old.
Here's the part where I commit to eating like a kid again, right? Where I swear never to diet again or count a calorie or wonder if putting pineapple in my smoothie is perhaps not as good a choice as a mixed berry blend because of some article I read on antioxidant superfoods?
First of all, I have never "eaten like a kid." As long as I can remember, even before I was concerned with health, I've chosen (or tried very hard to choose) "diet" over "regular," one slice instead of two, "no, thank you" instead of "yes, please." This is everyone's and no one's fault, and is certainly the run-of-the-mill stuff that seems to go along with being a woman these days. (For more fun thoughts on food and an unhealthy relationship with it, check out Lily Myers's "Shrinking Women." The text is included below the video of her performance.)
Secondly, I am not so naïve as to think that my lifelong hyper-analytical approach to food is going to disappear now that I've decided it's perhaps not the best way to de-stress my life. Still, I'm working on it. By far the biggest step I've taken so far is picking up the book Intuitive Eating,* which provides a step-by-step guide to eating like someone who doesn't obsess about food (hint: it starts by being ultra-obsessed with one's hunger levels and body signals, but eventually reaches a mellow place).
So, folks, that's what I'm trying. I've only just started, but as I said to my wife the other day, I'm kinda thinking this may change my life. We'll see how it goes.
*No, the irony that yet another diet book may be the answer is not lost on me.