Contessa

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Everything posted by Contessa

  1. Food freedom thoughts, 6/30/20: Here's a hot tip: the best thing to do on the morning after finishing a Whole 30 is to prepare a big batch of Whole 30 foods. Here's you, italian meatballs, spaghetti squash, and roasted butternut squash. After 30 days of Whole 30 eating, I'm doing a by-the-book fast track reintroduction. Today was legumes (normal W30 breakfast; veggie and lentil soup for lunch; a smear of peanut butter on an apple). After this, I'll go back to classic Whole 30 for a couple of days. Incredibly, even lentil soup tastes pretty good right now. I feel very grateful to have finished this Whole 30 and to be feeling so good. I plan to write here about once a week for the next couple of months with food thoughts and re-introduction notes. Tonight, it is a joy to think about eating in a way that is flexible, pleasurable, and life-affirming.
  2. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    After righting the ship and having some very good days last week, I see anew that snacking between is the start of a huge cascade of undesirable emotional and physical outcomes. I'm not talking about "Enjoying a slice of apple with peanut butter after a 5k" snacking. I'm talking about "It's mid-afternoon and I feel irritable with my job so I'll open up this bag of tortilla chips and suddenly look down and realize I've eaten 2/3 of it" snacking. A new mini-goal for this week: No snacks between meals. Period. I'll report back later on my findings
  3. Contessa

    No sugar for 30 days...reset/post-whole30

    Just wanted to say that I love this plan for a reset.... sugar is also the one place where my eating feels truly unhelpful and out of whack. I spoke to a friend this weekend who permanently gave up "recreational sugar" (I love that phrase). Perhaps that's something for me to think about. If the cookies are antagonistic to my overall wellness today, is that going to magically change tomorrow? You're sure to experience a lot of benefit from this reset — I look forward to tracking your progress.
  4. Contessa

    Bumpy journey to food freedom

    Absolutely love this thought! Perhaps we should use it as a guide and let it teach us more about how we respond to food. I appreciate your takeaway on alcohol, too. It affects me the same way, impairing my sleep. Wine and beer are great as weekend treats.
  5. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    Rough going here in early September. I learned last week that cancer has returned to my beloved 75-year-old father. He had his first spin with this awful disease (multiple myeloma) back in 2014. He's beat it a couple of times, at considerable personal cost. He's had some unexplained pain this summer and now we have an explanation for it. It isn't clear yet what his prognosis is. (Weeks? Years?) He meets with an oncologist tomorrow to go over his options. I know none of us are meant to live forever. Science and skilled care have given Dad six active, high quality years since his first diagnosis. I am grateful. And... it's all just a tiny bit much right now. I was already teetering on the edge of an existential crisis before finding this out. (I dunno, a global pandemic and extreme political turmoil and the looming failure of constitutional democracy makes one start to question assumptions, amirite?) On Monday night, I ate ice cream and peanut butter cups for dinner. I was seeking comfort. Although the food tasted good, it didn't make me feel good. The urge to start another W30 does surface up right now... but at this point, I think a full W30 is not what I need. Neither is eating ice cream and peanut butter cups for dinner. So yesterday and today I wrote out a food plan in my journal. The plan is simply to avoid snacks and what I call "freelance sugar" (candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.) Today I'm sitting here chomping on cauliflower, brussels, broccoli, and garlic ground beef with spicy mayo (it's delicious!). Honestly, if I could just eat this way 75% of the time, I'd be golden. It's simple, it's healthy, it feels great, it keeps me on an even keel. Today is my parents' 54th anniversary. I hope they still have some good years together.
  6. Contessa

    Take Advantage

    I just want to say that I love this so much and I relate fully to this aspiration! Brava!
  7. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    I look forward to your forthcoming Whole 30 cookbook. This sounds tasty, colorful, and nourishing! Wow!
  8. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    Just here to say that a "6 hour slow roasted brisket in pomegranate and pecan marinade, with a pistachio mint gremolata" sounds phenomenal. You're on a cooking hot streak!
  9. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    Feeling listless on a Friday night. I made plans to enjoy a breezy patio dinner at a restaurant with my fella tonight, but in the end we canceled the reservations out of COVID concerns. Infection rates in our area seem to be really high, and I am not sure I can handle two hours in public without a mask on, even if it's outdoors. "Your 'Surge Capacity' is Depleted — It's Why You Feel Awful" This essay has been making the rounds in my social media circles, including a repost from W30's Melissa Urban. It resonates with me. I continue to find help in hearing (reading) other people's reflections of life in the time of COVID. What is happening with COVID has upended so many dependable aspects of life for us. Particularly here in the States. It continues to be a huge adjustment! The article talks about building and maintaining friendships, and on building a "resilience bank account." I hear a lot of us here on the forum thinking in these terms as well. Gold stars for my W30 pals as we continue to navigate this challenging time.
  10. Contessa

    Shadow’s May 2020 Whole30

    I feel like many of my close friendships slid into neutral when COVID hit. Heck, those friendships probably aren't in neutral anymore, but are kind of rolling backwards down the hill as weeks melt into months, and months merge into one amorphous blob. Yes.... those connections are so important. Every bit as good for us as leafy greens. Relating completely to what you've said, and I wish more people were talking about this. Thank you for reflecting on your experience.
  11. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    Relating fully to this statement. I heard someone refer today to jeans as "hard pants" — I laughed in recognition. Please don't make us go back to the land of hard pants! Hope you get a great night of sleep.
  12. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    This was a good week. Day by day by day, staying checked in with myself. Sometimes wobblingly, sometimes steadily. I took myself on a hot date to the grocery store on Friday night and paused as I noticed my cart's contents loaded on the belt at the register. That's always a moment for me. This is the stuff that will be fueling me over the next week. I usually can see all my grocery purchases at one time because I'm only shopping for myself. Looking at the foods on that belt made me feel good. I saw variety. Some fresh green stuff, some snacky stuff. Half a loaf of bread. A lot of whole foods. A bouquet of white daisies, because they're so cheerful. Anytime I can experience this kind of spaciousness around food, I feel grateful. Participating in a regular OA group online has really helped, as has meeting a new OA pal and having a good phone chat with her last week. As has participating in threads on this forum. Companionship with fellow sojourners helps me feel less isolated.... and feeling less isolated fortifies my food freedom. Today for lunch, almost without thinking of it, I enjoyed a nearly-Whole 30 meal of veggies and chicken, then noticed I'm getting low on one of my favorite Whole 30 sauces. Getting low on this mayo means I've been eating a lot of veggies and chicken lately. Good. Remember this feeling, Contessa — this is your lane!
  13. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    This meal looks amazing! We'll be right over for leftovers....
  14. Contessa

    Take Advantage

    Taking note of your own interior weather system feels like a great win here. You're creating space between stimulus (craving) and response, which is a really important part of this process. Small steps are still forward motion. Hugs for you on this gloomy, stormy day.
  15. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    So sorry to hear about the bumpy start to the day. Migraines are 100% The Worst. Sounds like those catlike reflexes were the difference between a black coffee and a creamy coffee — glad you could salvage the milk! Hope you can good care of yourself and go easy with life today.
  16. Contessa

    Guess who's back? Back again, Schrodey's Back...

    Posting meals and W30 experiences here does seem to dial up the level of engagement, doesn't it? You're in the right place. And yes. Dijon mustard is delicious, shit absolutely happens, and your W30 pals are here for you. Hope you are having a great day, I look forward to tracking your experience here.
  17. Contessa

    Shadow’s May 2020 Whole30

    These sound like two MASSIVE NSVs. Congratulations and brava!
  18. Contessa

    Starting August 5th- need this to feel happier

    Just here to cheer on your determination! The changes necessitated by this protocol are not a basket of rainbows. I admire you for sticking with it. That's how meaningful change happens.
  19. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    "...According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 36 percent of Americans report that coronavirus-related worry is interfering with their sleep. Eighteen percent say they’re more easily losing their tempers. Thirty-two percent say it has made them overeat or under-eat." — from last week's New York Times article "We've Hit a Pandemic Wall," about mental health losses caused by the fallout from the coronavirus I've got a good word for you, New York Times: the 68% of Americans say that they weren't overeating or under-eating were probably lying to your reporter! Last week was a good week, capped by a really bad day yesterday. There are some days when all the frustration and uncertainty created by this dumb virus simply accumulate and get to me. Yesterday was such a day. A few circumstances combined to make it a tough day. Chief among them was a lengthy catch-up conversation with a smart, strong friend who seems to be, well, coming unglued. By the time our phone conversation ended, she had texted me a half-dozen links on subjects ranging from astrology, bank collapse, and conspiracy theories, to pending natural disasters in Asia, and doomsday predictions from a time traveler who apparently came to visit from the year 2060. It was painful hearing her trying to stitch all of these pieces together into some kind of coherent narrative. She is just not doing well, and I didn't know what to say, other than words of love and support. I gently ended the call, put my hand on my heart, and took some deep breaths. After a few minutes, I still felt completely flooded. After a while, still flooded, I turned to food. I ate more than I intended to or was hungry for. I know very well what I was doing. In that moment, it was a choice that made sense. I appreciate all my reasons for what I did. I didn't beat myself up over any of it. When I woke up this morning, I wanted to get this day off to a good start. I went on a long walk and listened to a good podcast with enriching content. I did the annoying series of low back exercises recommended by my beloved chiropractor (go figure, my back and knees are waaaaay more functional when I do them). I cooked a hot breakfast with protein and veggies. And, I already lovingly talked myself out of a mid-morning snack attack. I can't blame myself for getting overwhelmed yesterday. It is completely sensible that sometimes, our resources aren't quite sufficient for the moment. And this is a huge moment we're having, regionally, nationally, globally. I continue to put my hand on my heart, and I continue to reset.
  20. Contessa

    Take Advantage

    Holy cow, I love this! So true. I'm glad you got to get to the gym. My old gym, which I miss terribly, does only group workouts..... workouts in which attendees are packed cheek to jowl for an hour at a time (Orange Theory Fitness). They have recently thinned out classes so people aren't packed in like sardines, but I'm still very jittery about being in a small space with many people breathing heavily. Thinking about maybe switching to a nearby Mega Giant Chain gym that has heaps of treadmills, free weights, etc. ....Were people in your gym wearing a mask? Is that a thing that happens? I'm getting a bit listless with my extremely boring stretch/walk routines here, but I'm also trying to avoid this virus for as long as possible. I hope today is a great day for you!
  21. Contessa

    Starting August 5th- need this to feel happier

    Wishing you a smooth start this morning, Mikaliki! Reaching out to draw on the strength of the community is a wise move, and signals the seriousness of your intention. Please lean on us, check in as often as you need to, and know that we are cheering you on!
  22. Contessa

    Take Advantage

    I don't know what this says about where I am today, but I literally lifted a fist in the air and shouted "YES!" when I read this. Good thing I live alone and was not browsing the internet at a public library. So many important reflections in this paragraph! My therapist (a woman who should truly be inducted into sainthood) says that part of powerful behavior changes involves getting really sick of our own crap. We have to get sick of our own excuses and our own patterns before we're ready to shift. We have to stop buying what the old, outmoded version of us is trying to sell. I'm delighted by the sense of irritated boredom I hear in that paragraph. Speaking personally, my growth area isn't in picking ever more healthy foods to eat every day ("by the end of her life, she ate only pine cones and grass clippings! She was sooooo healthy!"). My growth area is emotional and mental.... noticing the compulsions when they come up, and reflexively turning inward with compassion instead of outward with a grasping hand. This is not about Cheez-Its, it's about exquisite internal kindness. For me, exquisite kindness is wholly incompatible with bingey behavior. They just don't go together. And of course, exquisite kindness is also the work of a lifetime. Practice, even when it's halting, is progress.
  23. Contessa

    Take Advantage

    You know, even if we know well in advance that a big change is going to happen, those big changes can still be disorienting in ways that feel really surprising. Your son has moved out. The dynamic in your home is evolving. That's significant. Your self-awareness here sounds so wise. I hope you can be extra tender and patient with yourself this week. Keep putting words to your experience, and if you are up for it, signal to a friend that you could use a check-in. You are worth all of these things. ((Virtual hugs from your W30 friends))
  24. Contessa

    Contessa's Food Freedom

    Food freedom thoughts, 8/2/20: Life is good. As I have worked on my Sunday Summit questions (scroll up for the Sunday questions), one desire keeps expressing itself... each week, my great desire to stay checked in with myself throughout the week. I wish I had better language for what "staying checked in" feels like.... When I am checked in with myself, I am attuned to what is highest in me. I am paying attention to my needs (not just whims, but needs). I am focused on the bigger picture. I am enjoying food... but also enjoying other sources of delight. When I am able to stay checked in with myself, things go better! A couple of years ago I spent some time in a local 12-step group (Overeaters Anonymous, or OA). The year-or-so that I found in that group was one of the most balanced and sane years in my life. Going to meetings each week and working with a sponsor got me into a good place. I was eating good foods in a way that felt pleasurable, flexible, and life-giving. My tendency to overeat, or Eat All My Feelings, lifted to a huge degree. I think this came from regularly being in a room with people, making eye contact with them, and losing some of my internally created shame around food issues. (Is it just me, or are food issues waaaaaay more common than any of us let on?! Yes. They are.) The hitch for me with the 12-step group was all the God stuff. After about a year, that part got really hard for me. I've known for a long time that I have even more God issues than I do food issues (haha). Some of the most vocal and passionate members of the group took a very literal approach to the 12 steps and the Big Book. Group meetings started to feel to me a little like church services. (Right down to the reading of sacred "scripture" and the passing of the basket!) The particular group I was in had a very serious "once an addict, always an addict" mentality that was hard for me to accept. I gradually slipped away from the group. I didn't trip head-first into a vat of peanut M&Ms when I left the group, but I did miss the structure of the meetings. I missed having time each week to self-assess out loud, and I missed the freedom that came from being in a room with people who were all thoughtful, and cared about taking a skillful approach to their relationship to food. Then COVID hit and the thought of assembling in room with any group of people felt like a bad idea. Three weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I thought, "Hmmm, it might be nice to see if there are any online OA meetings I could anonymously show up to." I did a little poking around and found a Saturday morning "secular" OA group. When I dialed into the group, I found that I was sitting in on the very first gathering of this particular group. It drew attendees who had also dropped out of traditional 12-step groups. Attendees who had never tried any sort of 12-step group. One attendee was the child of a pastor, like me, and had spiritual baggage that had expressed itself over the years through food. Innnnnnnnteresting! One of my core beliefs about humans is that we are "spiritual beings having a human experience." Food, for me, is not just about calories and nutrients. It is about trust, delight, safety, generosity, care. I am once again finding freedom and joy in these group conversations, that reflect this reality in all its variety and depth. Since that first meeting a few weeks ago, I've discovered quite a few unorthodox online gatherings of "freethinkers," atheists, agnostics, and spiritual-but-not-religious people who find value in talking about their relationships with food. (Google "secular OA" to find these.) It's been great (especially that Saturday morning meeting). I view these meetings as a nice way to support my goal of "staying checked in" with myself. I don't have a sponsor at this point, and I am highly ambivalent about working the 12 steps in the traditional way, but I love hearing the different ways that people talk about life via food. And food-wise, I'm doing okay. My sleep has normalized again (thank goddess). And a big sheet of cooked diced butternut squash is cooling in the kitchen even at this moment. My goals for this week: Eat 3 meals a day only (I have been borderline careless about snacking for the past couple of weeks Replace about 30% of the low-nutrient meals I'm having with Whole30 meals. There's nothing wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every now and then, but I don't want to start devoting regular meal slots to them. I'm still leaning heavily on my Whole30 meal template and finding those meals so satisfying. I do want to preserve more of my appetite for really high nutrient foods because I feel better with them. Wow, this turned into a long post, didn't it? Wishing a flavorful and joyful week to my Whole30 friends.
  25. Contessa

    Shadow’s May 2020 Whole30

    In matters of food preparation, work, and life in general, this is fantastically true. I'm glad you didn't hesitate to return to a food approach that works for you. Wishing you a joyful Sunday!