My Mindful Valentine

Valentine’s Day is a day that for most folks is filled with sweet treats, flowers, and declarations of love.  Some folks feel like the day is simply a conspiracy by the candy and greeting card companies to get people to buy stuff in an attempt to woo or keep a lover.  Today, Valentine’s Day for me was just another Friday–nothing out of the ordinary, really.  My Valentine’s Day went down a little like this:

  • Got to school this morning to discover my classroom door’s window covered in Valentines.
  • One of my students gave me a Valentine that said, “Yoda one for me” with a picture of Yoda on it.
  • Came home to a handmade book by my hubby detailing some of the reasons he loves me.  It made me cry.
  • Went to dinner and had a tasty fish dish that I am going to source the ingredients for this weekend so I can replicate it here at home.
  • Registered myself for the Firefly Run on March 29.  I don’t care if I walk the whole way; I am going to finish, no matter how long it takes me.
  • Spent some quality time on the treadmill and bike at the gym even though I wasn’t feelin’ it.

I don’t need a contrived holiday to tell my husband that I love him.  I do this every day, as it should be.  I couldn’t be more blessed to have him along for this adventure we call a life together.  I’m mindful every day of the fact that I am lucky to call him my husband, and that this life we share together is one of the most precious gifts I have.

So for me, today was really all about mindfulness in many ways.

Being mindful helped me to navigate a day that last year saw me eating tons of cookies, candy and junk.

I managed to dodge nearly all the candy and goodies at work today.  A student gave me a single Hershey’s Kiss as he walked into class this morning (he was giving them to all of his friends), and I pondered it before I ate it.  Once I put it in my mouth, I let it melt on my tongue and I pushed it up against my palate so I could enjoy it.  After it finally melted away, that was it.  I didn’t want another one, and I was satisfied.  So I’ll call that a win.

Dinner tonight was also a win.  We went to a seafood place over in North Dallas that we’ve begun to frequent as of late.  They have really great fish dishes, and their sides are awesome–sauteed asparagus, steamed veggies, a cider vinegar dressed cole slaw are some examples.  The specials they run are also pretty tasty.  Tonight one of the board specials was a chargrilled ruby red trout filet with a corn relish and your choice of sides.  I decided to give the trout a try as I’d never had this particular kind before.  I’m glad I did–it was like salmon in consistency, but not as oily, and had a mild flavor.  I had the relish on the side because I wasn’t sure if I wanted it or not.

The reason I’m even talking about what I had for dinner is that I want to show you what a typical dinner looks like for me when I go out to eat (which is quite a lot).  When we go out, I always bring home leftovers (unless I’m splitting a plate with hubby).  There is no way I can eat an entire entree any more, nor would I want to.  I have grown to learn my body’s fullness cues, and have learned to listen carefully when I have had enough.  Tonight, I ate exactly half of what was on my plate, and boxed the rest for tomorrow.  So here is a picture that shows you what this looks like:

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I weighed the leftover fish when I got home, which is why I know it weighed 3.625 ounces.

I had exactly half of what was in the top photo, and took my time eating it.  I ate my fish using small bites, chewing each one thoroughly so I could really taste the flesh.  I ate each of the green beans one at a time so I could feel the salt crystals dissolve on my tongue, and the pepper sting my tastebuds lightly.  I ate the grits a teaspoon at a time, dragging the spoon slowly out of my mouth so that the grits could spread out over my tongue, and I could feel their texture.  By the time I’d finished I was satisfied and not overly full.  Add to my dinner great conversation with my husband, and my dinner was pretty awesome.

Why am I sharing this with you?  I want you to see that it is possible to enjoy dining out.  It is possible to make smart food choices, and it is possible to enjoy what you’re eating without stuffing yourself silly.  Sometimes I think people are afraid of WLS because they are afraid they will “never get to eat anything good ever again.”  That is simply not true.  Since having WLS, I’ve actually tried a lot of new foods that I might not have otherwise tried, and have really enjoyed all of them.  And the great thing is this:  I don’t have to eat these or any other foods in massive amounts to enjoy them.

I know this now, and am grateful I have a tool that still allows me to enjoy all kinds of food in greatly reduced quantities.  It’s all about being mindful about what you’re putting on your plate and in your mouth, because eventually it is going to be in your body, fueling your daily activities.  Since having WLS, I have had to work very hard at being mindful, because before I got my ‘nanner tummy, I didn’t give much consideration to what, how much, or how fast I ate.  Now, I think quite a lot before making choices about the things I eat, and the activity that I do.  Because I am a stress eater, there have been plenty of opportunities these past two weeks for me to make poor choices, but having the skill of mindfulness has been critically important in keeping me from veering completely off track.  I won’t lie, there have been a couple of times I made choices that were less smart than others, but I’ve learned from them and won’t be making those mistakes again.

Practicing mindfulness is an important skill that more of us should employ.  You might find that giving a little mindfulness a try will make each meal more enjoyable, and will give you pause about what you put in your body.

Today’s eating was pretty good.  Today was a gym day, so my carb count was a little more than usual.  I got in 924 calories, 89 grams protein, 49 grams of carbs and 38 grams of fat.  I downed a gallon of water today.  After my workout, I let myself have a little frozen yogurt.  I was able to have just a little and stay under my upper calorie limit, so I don’t feel bad about it at all.

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Today’s food choices, from upper right: ham, egg and cheese breakfast casserole; leftover rotisserie chicken, green beans and garlic dill new potatoes from Boston Market; Jack Link’s beef jerky; multivitamin and calcium supplements x2, iron supplement; grilled ruby red trout filet, green beans and cheese grits; chocolate frozen yogurt with shredded coconut. Not shown: one Hershey kiss.

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