Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Counting Calories

Mark Johnson and I are on a diet. It is not an emergency diet - at least not yet. Right now, it is more of a preventive measure. We are both generally healthy eaters, but once in awhile we get those cravings for things that are less than healthy. And with the change of seasons, our cravings for comfort food have been coming more often.

He is an incredibly supportive partner, which is one of his best qualities. If I say I need to do more yoga, he says "Yes! Then go out and do more yoga!"  And if I say I want to take a walk, he says "Great idea!  You go out there and walk!"  And if I say I am craving a hamburger and fries, he says "Absolutely! Let's go out and get you that burger. And I will share a plate of fries with you!"

I wouldn't want it any other way. Even though we mutually agreed that we want to eat healthier and we would like to make a concerted effort not to act on every craving, no one wants their partner to suddenly become the food police. And even if he might appreciate me providing gentle reminders to him about what to eat, I am pretty sure that it would not be a two way street. I mean, what woman wants to hear her boyfriend say "Hmm... Are you sure you should be eating those fries?"

So, even though we are in this together, there is a slight burden in my direction to make the tough choices and stay focused on my goal. Because (thankfully) Mark Johnson is not going to be laying down the law or counting calories for me.

I don't tend to keep a lot of sugar in the house anyway, but as a sign of my dedication to my diet healthy eating plan, I cleaned out all of the sugar from my house. I mean everything. There are not even any leftover nestle toll house morsels from the last time I baked cookies.

Unfortunately, this week I have PMS. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like PMS gets so much worse in your 40's. I have always had an awareness and respect for the power of my hormones, but they seem to have grown even stronger over time. Every month, it feels like I've been injected with a hormone/anxiety cocktail against my will. And when that happens, I tend to make some interesting choices.

Today I had an urge to bake muffins. I told myself I could bring them to my Mom's for Thanksgiving breakfast tomorrow, but really I think my hormones wanted them tonight. Then, on the way to Target to get the muffin mix, I had this urge to go to Menchies for frozen yogurt. The closest Menchies is about 25 minutes away.

I decided that Menchies was too far away, so I picked out some Peppermint Chocolate Cookie flavored ice cream at Target. I have not brought a carton of ice cream into my house in years, unless it was for a birthday party.

Then I texted a photo of the ice cream to Mark Johnson as an update. "I don't know what is wrong with me," I told him. "I am usually not like this. It is out of control!"

"Nope, your just a human girl with hormones and a spoon!" he replied back to me. That is Mark Johnson. Non-judgmental and supportive, with a healthy dose of humor. I am so very lucky to have him in my life.

In my yoga classes, I am always reminding my students to practice compassion, especially with themselves. And I encourage them to find that balance between challenging themselves and showing compassion for themselves during their practice. I also remind them that it changes every day. What your body needs today may be different than what you needed the day before.

The same is true off the mat. Some days I am feeling great and I have the strength to say no to the sugar - or not even crave it to begin with. But today my body wanted that ice cream. It needed that ice cream. It was a matter of survival.

After I got settled in at home, I went to the kitchen and selected a small glass bowl and a spoon. And I scooped out a single scoop of ice cream into the bowl. Then I went into the family room and sat on the couch. No computer. No television. Just me and that perfect scoop of ice cream.

I sat there quietly and enjoyed every bite. I tasted the delicate hint of mint. I felt the smooth texture of the ice cream melting on my tongue and experienced the crunch of the tiny chocolate cookie bites. Instead of beating myself up about straying from my diet healthy eating plan, I accepted that today I was making a choice to eat that ice cream. And it was delicious.

We all need to show ourselves a little compassion. Not just at times of struggle in our lives, but all of the time. In this case, my choice might have actually saved me some calories.

If I hadn't gotten that ice cream, the chances are pretty strong that I would have started scrounging around the kitchen for something to fill the void. Maybe a handful of almonds, and then a bowl of cereal, and then popcorn later. I could have consumed twice as many calories that way. Instead, I had exactly what I wanted and now I feel content.

And of course, Mark Johnson supports my choice to eat ice cream. I can get back on my diet healthy eating plan tomorrow. Well, actually tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So I guess I will get back to it on Friday.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm. I can picture it. Sounds very yummy.

Is there any more of that Peppermint Chocolate Cookie flavored ice cream left?

Anonymous said...

A dog will also enthusiastically support all your choices. Do you need a puppy?

Cupcake said...

I sent the rest of the ice cream over to my sister's. It was gone in a day! As for the puppy, I think that a human companion is a better fit for me.