i have come to realize that how i feel about my body is in large part related to the quality of food i consume.**
meaning the better the food, the better i think i look...oh, the vanity!
i've not been making great choices lately. and it's not that i've been choosing terrible foods, it's more that i haven't been choosing good foods.
good is a tricky word. what i mean by it is food that provides my body with nutrients, vitamins, energy, the promise of a long-life (or some such).
for me healthy-eating is not the default setting. it has to be a constant, front-of-the-foot motion. the weighing of all options and the active choice (again and again and again) to eat well.
and when i allow ease and convenience to supersede other needs, well, then processed foods tend to win out and it's a slow, downward spiral that leaves me feeling just-a-little-bit-off.
i forget sometimes that food isn't just for pleasure. sometimes i have to eat something even if i don't love it.
yesterday morning i pulled the cottage cheese from the back of my fridge. it had yet to be opened. sigh. i checked the expiration date to make sure it was still in the realm of won't-make-me-too-sick and then proceeded to pile it on a slice of whole wheat toast. let's be honest. i really love my trader joe's tuscan white bread. and i really love it with butter. and cottage cheese on whole wheat--not. my. favorite. but it's good for me. really good for me. (ps: cottage cheese is unbelievably high in protein so for anyone who doesn't eat meat it is a cheap, effective way to keep the body going).
so i had my cottage cheese on whole wheat bread. and immediately i felt better. it was as though space arose within me. does that make any sense? not to me either, but that was the sensation--and one that i could spend the rest of my life chasing because it was just that good.
and i spent the rest of my day attempting to make good choices. a peanut butter and banana smoothie from GNC. a faux chicken patty for lunch. followed by yogurt. and a mediterranean wrap from a new health bar on 72nd (so not tasty, but at least i got some veggies in, right?). pop chips and almonds.
the danger in feeling like i haven't been eating well is that it makes me nervous. yes, i get nervous. in fact, i have a tendency to panic. and inevitably i try to autocorrect--that's my impulse, always. but as anyone who has an iphone knows, autocorrect gets it wrong more often than not.
i was walking down broadway thinking about my food choices and i longed for some confirmation that i had been good enough. good enough? what does that even mean? it's such a dangerous thought, such an unhealthy phrase. but it made clear why diets are so seductive: diets take all the guesswork out. they make the picture black and white. either you've been good enough. or you haven't. there's no uncertainty. but life is not black and white. there is uncertainty. period.
diets don't work because a person can't chart their life in black and white forever.
and the thing is, if you can't do it forever. it just won't work. fin. end of story.
**the important thing to remember (for me, just as much as anyone else) is that the food i put in my body is only a fraction of the story. how i think i look depends on so many different things--most of which i can't control. but what it really comes down to is happiness--or at least the pursuit of it. so a weekly bouquet of flowers, a morning coffee, dressers over-flowing with freshly-laundered shirts, and clean bedroom (a bed made each morning, included)--these daily niceties determine my view of myself just as much as whether i choose to reach for that second cupcake or not.**
and an interesting note: our body weight fluctuates by six pounds each day. meaning at any given moment we might be up six or down six and it has nothing to do with what we've eaten or whether or not the bed made was made in the morning. weight, is in fact... wait for it... random. feed on that.