Thursday, July 17, 2008

listen to your body...

Yesterday I had a rude reawakening.

I’ve been there before, the time I successfully participated in Weight Watchers, but the part of your brain that craves food tends to forget certain things over time.

Staying “on points” has been fairly easy so far. Of course, I’m only three days into the venture. When you join WW, you are assigned a daily points target to meet. Every food has a point value, based on a calorie/fat/fiber ratio. You are required to eat all of your daily points, but you are also discouraged from going over. You also get a 35 point weekly allowance to use anyway you choose – spread them out over the week, use them for a special event, or don’t use them at all. The daily point target is reduced over time as you loose weight.

My daily points target is currently 26.

Here’s an example from Tuesday of how I am staying within my target:

For breakfast, I had one cup of generic honey-nut cheerios topped of with one large sliced banana and one cup of 2% milk. (7 pts)

When I got to work I had a mug of coffee (instead of a big 16oz styrofoam cup of coffee) with 2 tbsp of fat-free liquid creamer. (.5 pts)

For lunch I had a 6-inch subway turkey sandwich on wheat, no cheese, lots-o-veggies with mustard only, a heaping side of microwaved broccoli and a diet coke. (5 pts)

I had an afternoon snack of a sliced apple and a low-cal mozzarella string-cheese. (2 pts)

For dinner, I got creative with the refrigerator and made two good-sized baked quesadillas from ½ cup shredded leftover chicken, ¼ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, some microwaved frozen pepper/onion mixed veggies, and four small white corn tortillas, topped off with some of my roommate’s homemade salsa. (8 pts)

Left with 3.5 points for the day, that had to be eaten, I treated myself to a 4 point brownie (using up .5 of my “anytime” points).

Of course, I drank water all day long.

The night before, when all of the roommates had eaten together, I slimmed my meal down by choosing a small piece of chicken, removing the skin, shredding it over a bed of lettuce and topping it off with homemade salsa. I enjoyed the same corn and roasted potatoes as everyone else, and I saved enough points to enjoy a slice of fresh-baked homemade fruit pie!

See, it’s totally doable!

But here’s the kicker. Yesterday I stopped and thought about what I was previously eating.

I generally skipped breakfast at home and grabbed something from the vending machine in our building. Apparently the days I chose the cream-cheese danish was a good day. The mornings I chose a second “cup” of coffee were disaster. I didn’t make the same poor decisions everyday, but here’s an example that made me sick to my stomach (in hindsight, that is):

For breakfast, I would wash down a package of dunkin’ sticks (12 pts) with a 16 oz cup of coffee with cream & sugar (5pts), followed by a necessary second cup (5pts) for a grand total of 22 points!

For lunch, I would scarf down a six inch turkey sub on parmesan oregano bread, with cheese, lots-o-veggies, mayo and honey mustard (at least 9 pts), a bag of cheddar harvest Sun chips (3 pts) and a selection of 3 for $1.20 cookies (5 pts each). My diet coke did nothing to take away from this 27 point meal. (please note that my daily points target is now 26 points… this one “meal” would have pushed me into my “anytime” points).

For dinner, I ate whatever was prepared, however it was prepared, and I usually went for seconds (points value unknown). Perhaps I washed it down with my beloved Shiner Bock (3 pts) and follow it up with some yummy dessert… also with seconds.

That means on many days I was likely eating close to 70 points a day. This is why Weight Watchers makes sense to my brain. It doesn’t make sense that I should need some arbitrary point system to teach me right from wrong, like the tricks elementary teachers use to discipline unruly students (one more worm in your apple, and I’ll have to send you to the principal’s office…), but I have to be retrained.

I’ve lost the ability to listen to my body, about what nutrients it is lacking, about over-stimulation, about when enough is enough. Through discipline, I hope to learn to listen again.

Madeline L’Engle teaches that listening is essential to good faith and good art. I suppose it is essential to good nutrition, as well. Lord, grant me ears to hear.


Jennie said...

I can't hear my body either. I think my biggest problem is portion size. I don't know when my body is full, so I just clean my plate like I was taught to do as a child. It's insane!

JB said...

You're a BRAVE girl Kim, to open up and talk about something so many people struggle with. Especially in the south and in churches, gluttony is practically encouraged. And listening, is always good!

Ines said...

i had those 3 x $1.20 cookies from subway yesterday...what do you mean they're 5 points each??!!! DUDE. I'm busted.

how do you go around counting points? do you carry a chart with you? it sounds complicated to me. U R smart.