Ok, so today I spent about an hour and a half in the grocery story, buying healthy, pro-diet foods. Lots of veggies, fresh fruits, and low-fat proteins. I really tried to limited my pre-packaged, convenience foods to only a few things, like Freezer Ices and single-serve bags of baked Lays. As my once-upon-a-time mentor Margot used to say, I shopped the perimeter of the store, where the real-food lives.
First, some background: This foray into an actual “grocery store” is rare for me. I generally have my foods delivered, either groceries via Peapod or meals via a local fast-food establishment. Actually trekking to the grocery store myself seemed like an important investment in my new plan and I was shocked on two significant counts:
- How very, very long it takes to shop. Walking up and down isles, checking expiration dates and nutritional values, waiting on line. Not something I want to get into every week. Plus I had to lug bags and bags of food in through a downpour, and then find room in my cramped kitchen for everything I bought. It was exhausting.
- How expensive it is. I spent more than double what I would normally spend on groceries. I justify this to myself by saying I will save money by not eating out so very much, but I still had sticker-shock at the register.
I realize as I write this that I must sound like a self-indulgent princess, but I want to be honest: For someone who thinks as much about food as I do, I realize that I spend very little time or effort on the foods I eat. I like good food, but I have no desire to fetch it, cook or prepare it, or, for that matter, clean up after it.
So after this draining domestic experience, I found myself looking at a fully stocked, Jillian-Michaels-would-be-proud larder and thought to myself, I don’t have anything to eat.
I ended up grabbing foods that didn’t need preparing. Hummus and chips; apple with peanut butter; cottage cheese and carrots. All fine choices individually, but when added up do not make a healthy food plan. When I first started writing, I thought that this post was going to be about me, the grocery store, and the experience I had there, but as I was typing my food choices into my online diary and I looked at how my calories were spent during the day and even over this past week, I noticed an interesting trend:
Each day I was eating less and less than the day before.
My first day I went over my recommended calories by 588. (Big Red Exclamation Point!!!) The next day I barely squeaked into my desired range. Each day my calories consumed were lower and lower until I hit today and I haven’t eaten even 2/3 of the recommended daily. Not a big deal on a given day, but I realize that I’ve done this before. Many, many times, and it isn’t good. It is the first sign of self-sabotage. One (and by one I mean me) can be so self-disciplined and so regimented about staying on an eating plan that food becomes the enemy. Each day becomes a contest with your own will power about staying on the straight and narrow. And it all works fine until you hit “that day.”
You know that day. The day everything goes wrong in your life. Work is extra stressful, your family is insensitive, your car breaks down, your cat knocks over your favorite plant, and your hot water heater craps out while you have soap in your eyes…and you just can’t take it any more. And you’re hungry. I’m sorry, you’re huuuuuuuungry! (Hear the whine in my voice?) And whatever willpower you had up and walks out on you.
So now I’m looking at myself at 11:00 at night, with 650 calories left to my day and instead of seeing victory, I’m seeing myself get in my own way. Again.
This isn’t about the food because, as I said, the food is there in my fridge. It is about me. And if I’m really making a commitment to this I need to stop getting in my own way. So, I’m going to bed a little bit hungry (because I’m certainly not going to cook something at this late hour) but waking up with a new resolve. Eating all of my calories, making them good, healthy protein and vitamin rich calories, and not empty ones. And making a commitment to food.
I’ll let you know how it goes.