Slow Food

Gone are the days when I could tuck two toddlers under my arms and head off to the grocery store, then shop for the week without list or having looked through a cookbook. Oh and then come home to feed them lunch, bathe them, and whip up a lasagne for dinner. However did I have the energy? And didn’t all that pasta pack on the pounds?

My secret was cigarettes. Yes I know, seems scandalous now, doesn’t it? Back then, nobody minded. We smoked in cars, houses, and restaurants with wild abandon. Ah for the good old days. Because the minute I quit smoking I (of course) gained weight. And I’ve been struggling with it and writing about that struggle ever since.

Recently I decided to stop struggling and get more mindful about the whole eating and weight issue, and just not judge myself so much. If I want lasagna for dinner, I’ll have lasagne. I’ll just do it mindfully: Day 1: Shop. Day 2: Simmer sauce. Day 3: Make casserole.

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Walking the winding mindfulness path, I remember something I learned about myself and food in Weight Watchers. I’m an emotional eater.

When I had cigarettes to soothe my frantic, sad, angry, lonely overwhelmed self, I was fine. After I quit, the feelings got shoved down with food. If I gained too much weight, and I did, often, I went on a mindless diet. I cut calories or fat or meat or carbs or sugar.  I didn’t have to think about it, I only had to be brutally strict with myself until I lost the weight and the cycle started again. Most of the diets I’ve been on worked very well for a year or two, which is when the emotional eater would burst from the confines of the latest diet and wail Why can’t I have lasagna? 

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The thing about knowing you’re an emotional eater is it doesn’t help you lose weight. In Eat.Q Susan Albers says dealing with emotional eating means upping your emotional intelligence. Huh. I always thought I had a pretty high EQ. I read other people really well. I’m tuned in and sensitive, mostly. I know myself. Turns out just not as well as I thought. For example, for most of my life I have been willfully clueless about how to effectively guide my emotions around food. That’s changing. I’ll keep you posted.