Oranges. Pears. Bananas. More oranges.
This has been my diet, and while it feels a bit like torture not to be able to slather bread in peanut butter or eat a hunk of extra sharp cheddar cheese while cooking dinner, it also feels really, really good.
I almost forgot how much I enjoy healthy, fresh foods. And as an extension of enjoying the healthy foods I've been eating, I find myself drinking less diet soda and hot chocolate and going for long walks after dinner. We tuck the kids into their red wagon and give them a soft white blanket to snuggle, and away we go down dark neighborhood streets breathing in the crisp air of Arizona's January nights. I'm pulling something around 80 pounds when I pull them around, and yet it feels good to have a little burn in my steps. I'm thinking of the grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts and grilled eggplant I had for dinner and feeling satisfied. Satisfied, even though I didn't finish the pile of fluffy mashed potatoes I'd allowed myself as an indulgence. Satisfied, perhaps because I didn't wish for more when my plate was empty, save for that lonely lump of potato goodness.
I replenish with water and an orange, sweet and juicy and cold from the night air, having been picked as we made our way across our front yard and into the warm house. I am on, and when I'm on like this I am also on top of the world. I feel strong and healthy and solidly grounded in health.
And lighter, by 4 pounds. Which is but a tiny sliver of all I want to be rid of, but a victory no less. My husband asked me tonight what made me get back on track and where I got my focus. I've been here before, and slid down the hill of store bought frosting and into a puddle of whole milk turned mocha with pure Hershey's syrup. I've been here and caved or made excuses or decided that as long as my kids and my husband love me, then who cares.
Who cares? Namely: Me. It might have been slipping back into real work clothes after a little more than 2 weeks of days off and Christmas treats and jammies that stay on all day and into the night. It could have been the desire to possibly have another kid someday without propelling myself to a weight I can't even bear to imagine. Possibly it had something to do with the stack of pictures I printed for Luca's school, chief among which were many of my smiling mug and my many-pounds-smaller body. I have felt heavy in body and soul over the past year or two, and yet the fact that I lead a pretty amazing and full life has kept me where I am. But where I am, within my own self, is a place I don't like.
And so a week into it, I celebrate success with a healthy grilled meal, a small splurge in the form of mashed potatoes and 1/2 a cup of ice cream I shared with an eager little boy. I sat on the floor with my treat, served in an Ikea kids' bowl to make the small scoop look more filling, and he came over with his bear and his blankie clutched tightly to him. If you see him now, you no doubt will see him with these two friends who he greedily holds all day and night. Moving my hand aside, he plopped his heavy warm body into mine and said, "Lap!" and then, pointing to the spoon, smiled that golden smile of his and said, "Tare pease." His 's' is a 't' right now ("Mama ting!" to get a bedtime song from me or "Torry!" when he owes an apology), and it makes my heart skip and I spoon moutfuls of sweet mocha almond fudge to him until, several spoonfuls into it, he stands and says, "All done."
They provide me this lesson every day, and perhaps the greatest gift I have given my body is observing how they eat and taking note. They eat when hungry. They relish the things they love. They have fun. They laugh and giggle through dinner, and then they cross the invisible threshold to satisfied and they push away from the table (or stand up from where they sat in a lap) and say, "All done." They always make suer they stop while they are still enjoying themselves. And so can I.
And I did. And I will continue to, until I am as happy with what I see in pictures as I am with what I feel on the inside. I have made a choice to love and value myself and to do that which makes me feel good. It might mean I am not perfect, and I sneak a small scoop of M&Ms when the mid-afternoon work slump hits. But I am ok with that. I am committed, for both myself and those I love, to making this life a healthy one, and for once I have opened my mind up to this truth: It feels good.