On this bright and sunny yet chilly morning I woke up and decided to have some yogurt with a tablespoon of honey and some flax cereal for breakfast, along with a cup of tea. I like to think of it as my own version of a yogurt parfait. I use plain yogurt and will add either honey or stevia to sweeten it. When I have really fresh and soft barhi dates I’ll use those as a sweetener.
For years I’d buy flavored yogurts because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating PLAIN yogurt. That just tasted disgusting. Also, I have a sweet tooth. Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about all the chemicals that flavored yogurts contain. If I couldn’t tell it by the flavor, I’d sure be able to tell it by taste.
I love the taste of lemon and would be a fan of lemon flavored yogurts, but I’ve discovered something even better lately: plain yogurt flavored with the freshly juiced meyer lemon. I juice the entire lemon in an Omega juicer. The rind adds to the sweetness of the juice, and mixed with the yogurt and honey or stevia tastes so much better than chemicalized imitations.
As I fixed this all natural healthy breakfast, I thought to myself “this only has about 300 calories. I should really eat more.” My body, however, gave me a different message. It told me it didn’t need more, but I’ve become conditioned over the years to thinking a breakfast needed to have a certain look and a certain average caloric content.
I don’t count calories on a regular basis, but will on occasion keep track of a day’s calories just to see what I’m eating. I think of it as a reality check.
I prefer to learn to listen to my body. My body all along has always told me how it feels. It tells me when I’ve eaten too much, eaten just right. I can clearly recall Thanksgiving Days while growing and I’d eat to the point of pain because the food tasted soooo delicious. Then I’d go lie down on my bed until I found more room for more bites. My body clearly told me how it felt and I clearly ignored it.
I can recall with stunning clarity the two to three weeks I’d spend with my grandmother every summer. I didn’t really want to stay with her for that long, but, as the only girl grandchild, the family expected it of me. I suppose I didn’t really want to go because we only did activities my Grandma wanted to do. One time I actually attempted to communicate with her. I asked her if we could go walk around the mall at night. She always took the same route around her neighborhood. Initially, she acquiesced, but, as night fell, she changed her mind.
At some point, out of frustration, I started walking to one of the small stores down the street from her house. I’d buy some form of junk food. Then I’d hide it at her house and eat it when she wasn’t around. That’s how I coped with being invisible. Even then I KNEW what I was doing. My body knew it didn’t need the food. I ate, over ate, because I had no other way of expressing my unhappiness.
I became conditioned to food. Food as a soother.
Fast forward back to this morning. Part of my struggle today involves reconditioning myself. Healthy eating can be and ought to be different for everyone. Do you eat six times a day or 3? Do you eat according to your blood type? Do you eat paleo? Do you eat……………
Over the years I’ve become so conditioned to some many alternate food universes that I’ve decided the path to recovery for me involves listening to the cues my body provides. When I feel the silence, my body tells me its truth. It tells me what I need to feed it. It tells me when it’s hungry.
Finding that space, finding that silence takes effort and time. This morning I found that space. As I prepared my all-natural yogurt parfait, I thought to myself, “I need a bagel or some other bready type carbohydrate to go with my yogurt parfait.” That’s the thought that filled my head, but my body clearly said, “the yogurt parfait is plenty. Along with the tea, that will make a perfect breakfast. I’ll let you know if I want a bagel or something else later.” It took me a second or five, but I decided to listen to my body.
I sat down with my yogurt parfait and tea. By the end of the meal I felt perfectly satisfied. Sitting her a couple of hours later, my body still feels fine. Not hungry at all, and when it feels hungry, I have a salad that I made this morning. I chopped up some red leaf lettuce, sliced some hearts of palm and kalamata olives, diced some watermelon radishes and have hemp seeds that I can toss on top later. I also roasted some yellow beats and purple potatoes.
For the record, I have nothing against eating bagels or bread, but when I do eat them I want to be able to enjoy them and delighting in the taste of food means taking the time to listen to my body and allow it to tell me what it wants. I take more pleasure in food when my body tells me it’s hungry, when it gives me cues, but I think I’ll save hunger cues for another time.
For now, while it’s still Saturday morning, I’m going to take a shower and then go for a walk because my body, my mind and my spirit tell me that’s what will bring me happiness today.
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