Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I ate the whole thing

I realized something as I sat down today to eat lunch. I used to be a volume eater. That's right I said it...a volume eater. I always ate because the food tasted good but it turns out I was never satisfied unless I ate the whole thing. Today I tried to replicate a dish I created maybe a year or even two ago: a refreshing salad with beets. This one was composed of fresh organic baby spinach, sliced beets spread with ricotta cheese, covered with a sprinkle of salt & chopped pecans and the whole thing was drizzled with lemon vinaigrette.

The last time I attempted a similar salad it filled an entire dinner plate. And I mean it was completely filled, nearly 5 inches high and I ate the whole thing. This time I used a small saucer & included only 5 beet slices. Even at this small size I could only eat half the salad. Yes, there is a physical reason I could only eat half. That's the whole point of weight loss surgery. But today, for the first time something clicked in my brain ...something about the fact that it was okay to eat just half. Finally I'm starting to get the picture.

Weight loss surgery is just a tool. If I keep eating just because something tastes good, then I am no different than I used to be. I recall the words of the doctor on the show called "My 600 Pound Life". He constantly reminds his patients that reducing the size of your stomach only means it will take you longer to eat. You can continue to eat as soon as your pouch empties out. If you keep eating, you stretch the pouch, you take in more calories than you are supposed to and you negate the entire purpose of the surgery.

That salad tasted delicious today. After weeks of nausea, vomiting and just plain feeling like crap, I am finally able to eat real food. Not just processed food, not just the food that I can grab-n-go but real honest food like I see tv chefs prepare. I always think I don't have time for that or it doesn't make sense, it's too complex or there are too many ingredients. But today I wanted something delicious. And it turns out delicious can be simple as 5 ingredients. The crispness of the spinach, the tartness of the beets, the creaminess of the slightly salty ricotta, the crunch of the pecans and the tang from the lemon vinaigrette. It was the ultimate in food combining. I had a little tiny bit of each food on my fork...and even though it was a small was delicious!

After I got through the first two beets, I slowed down. I got to the third beet and I had a really hard time finishing it...almost to the point where I thought it was going to come back up. That's when I stopped and my light bulb went off. Somehow during this nearly 45 year old life I've learned to listen to my taste buds rather than the "shut off switch" in my stomach. I want to learn to be more mindful of my switch. Yes, they have altered my body to limit my food intake. But I think I still have some work to do in the head department.

But, how exciting! I can see changes in me and in the way I react to food. It's been a long, stalled journey...but I think I might finally be on my way.