It’s Friday the 13th and tonight I’ve got the D word on my mind. That’s right: Diet. Today at work I was talking to a colleague who gave me a sample of her carb-free pancakes (bananas, almond butter, and eggs…delicious!) and told me about something called The Paleo Diet, which I had heard of in the past year. I listened with rapt attention, genuinely curious about the diet in which one tries to eat like our ancient ancestors did: whole foods like fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Few, if any, dairy or cereal grains like wheat and corn and no processed foods. My co-worker talked about the benefits she has experienced from adopting this diet (it seems more like a total nutrition makeover) and I told her, quite frankly, that I don’t like the word “diet” and that any food plan that requires me to avoid certain foods worries me, since I once had a long list of “forbidden foods”. They were so troubling to me and such a huge part of my binge cycle that I chronicled them in my book.
For some reason, though, I’ve been thinking about the D word, and The Paleo Diet in particular, all day. I went to the gym after work and was then craving (no doubt influenced by my co-worker’s pancakes) a peanut butter, banana, soy milk smoothie, so that’s what I made myself for dinner. It was delicious and wholly satisfying. BUT…this little (familiar and annoying) voice inside me whispered, “On the Paleo Diet you wouldn’t be able to make this smoothie with soy milk”. I ignored the voice and drank my smoothie happily. The voice continued: “You could just try this diet for a few days. Like a challenge. See if you could do it.” I distracted myself by turning on the TV to watch the baseball game. My team was already losing 3-1. The voice persisted: “Seriously. Just buy the book, or at least borrow it from someone and see what it has to say. There’s no harm in learning about it.” I grabbed a cat (I have five to choose from), plopped her in my lap and started petting her while doing my deep breathing exercises. I could feel my anxiety growing. This is supposed to be my night off and my inner critic was trying to take control. It was the last straw when I heard the voice say, “You know, you really shouldn’t have eaten that smoothie. It has so many carbs and calories. You’re gonna get fat.”
THAT’S IT! I’VE HAD IT. I ran upstairs and began sharing this story as soon as I could. I know that writing is my salvation whenever I’m ruminating on something. You’ve heard me talk before about the power of writing. So, I’ve now calmed myself down and am able to be realistic and healthy again. Here are the facts (not what my inner critic would have me believe):
I have gotten to the point where I can tune in to what my body needs and wants, nutritionally. When it craves red meat, I feed it (and mindfully enjoy eating) red meat. When my body craves yogurt or cheese, I feed it yogurt or cheese. When I crave dark chocolate, I feed it dark chocolate. My body daily craves vegetables and fruit and lean proteins. Whenever possible, I listen to my body’s cues. It really doesn’t steer me wrong. And just like tonight, when I felt a real physical satisfaction of my craving (likely for potassium & protein), my body felt at peace. So, I do not need to try a new diet. I am healthy, have good energy levels and I listen to what my body needs. And that is what’s best for me.
Peace, joy, and freedom from the D word,