As we all know, I love to eat. Cook and eat. Bake and eat. I love unusual ingredients, classic old world dishes, French technique, and vibrant colors. Special occasions, for me, have often centered around food. Food is beautiful, comforting, magical, memorable, nostalgic, and satisfying.

And someday, when I have my body back to where I want it, I will get to play with high-risk food again. Sugar and fat, smears of mascarpone, French nursery desserts… By then, I may not want to play with that kind of food as much. Right now, I am teaching myself to cook, bake, and eat in a new way, and I know I cannot go near my old recipes for the moment.

I am choosing not to look at these choices as deprivation or sacrifice. Every moment is hard work, but I love the challenge of navigating through a new realm of food. If I aim to eat between 1200 and 1500 cals a day, then what is the most I can make out of a little? How can I put the right fuel into my body, satiate my need for strong tastes, and let my creative side have fun at the same time? So much of my cooking and baking has been a form of relaxation for me and an outlet for creativity. But why not put that creativity into designing healthier food? Or into shaping my body and my health and my strength?

This journey is still new to me, though not so new. I’ve lost 6.5 pounds, and during the past two mornings, I’ve seen the scale flirt with a number even lower than that, like it wants to land on the new weight, but not quite. I am shooting for my 7th pound this week. A change in diet is only one component; I went for another run this morning and followed it up with the bike.

Everyone I know has a different way of changing his or her diet when losing weight. Some people suggest this, some suggest that. I don’t know if what I am doing is the best plan for everyone; all I know is, it is working for me. I count calories, every calorie. I try to eat a variety of foods, focusing on high protein yields, plants, and beans. I will say that when I decided to embark on this journey, 1200-1500 calories of food seemed like it would be nothing. Well, it turns out that it is practically nothing, if I want to eat high fat, high sugar foods. With eating the way I do now, though, I sometimes find it challenge to eat all of my allotted calories in a day.

Other days, I feel like I am hungry all day—I won’t lie about that. But those are phases, and just to be borne. Hunger is nothing to fear. The time between meals really isn’t that long.

Today I have been having a great day, feeling full most of the day and eating what I consider to be a tremendous amount of food. Funny how that works, after the food detox takes place. My eyes and stomach and mind have healthy portions back into perspective now. In fact, this morning I was marveling to myself how much I truly used to eat. I guess being on my feet all day with the kiddos (I truly hardly ever sit down—I like to be busy!) is the only thing that even remotely kept my weight in check, and even then, it was creeping up on the average.

This is what I have eaten today:

BREAKFAST:

1 slice of toasted Ezekiel bread (complete protein): 80 cals

1 TB almond butter: 90 cals

1/2 c soy milk: 55 cals

1 c. puffed rice cereal: 10 cals (with liberal cinnamon on top)

1/2 c. locally picked blueberries: 42 cals

A spot of milk in my tea: 7 cals

Total calories for breakfast: 284 calories

LUNCH

3/4 c Texas Caviar (from Costco—beans, jicama, corn, red peppers, herbs): 70 cals

2 TB cilantro jalapeño hummus: 50 cals

10 pita chips: 130 cals (splurge!)

1/2 c. 0% Greek yogurt: 65 cals

2 small tomatoes: 13 cals

1 persian cucumber, about 1/2 cup diced: 7 cals

1 slice of roasted turkey: 45 cals

Total for lunch: 380 cals

TOTAL FOR THE DAY SO FAR: 664 calories

I might go ahead and have an afternoon protein bar for 200 cals. It’s a long time until dinner right now, and I ran today. I usually account for a protein bar on days when I run, knowing I am rebuilding muscle. That will put me at 864 cals going into dinner. I am not sure if I want to be that splurgy or not—if not, I can play more with what I have for dinner. Maybe I will just have some mint or rooibos tea instead.

My favorite item of the day (besides the hummus, which I adore, and the blueberries) was the Greek yogurt with the tomatoes and cucumber cut up on top and dressed just with salt and pepper. I’ve been having some cottage cheese with tomatoes every day (it tastes like dessert to me, it’s soooooooo good!), but I ran out of cottage cheese. Just as well, because cottage cheese is over 100 cals for 1/2 cup. The Greek yogurt is a much better calorie/protein value. The tomatoes sweeten it enough—I do not find sugar or even honey to be necessary in this dish.

Dinner will likely include a sweet potato Thai soup with something alongside it.

Time to go make some more tea!!

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