Last weekend, I went to see nutritionist Kim Flannery. Kim is the Nutrition Director for the Wisconsin Athletic Club, and was a clinical dietician before she took this role. I discovered Kim after reading this great blog, “Stronger Body, Stronger Life” by a colleague, Sue Spaight. Although I’ve been exercising sort-of regularly, I’m not losing any weight, and I know it’s because of my relationship with food. I’ve become desperate to make a change, and more and more frustrated by myself and my food “failures.”
I expected to go to this meeting, and have a diet prescribed to me. I did not expect to leave with a single piece of paper with the word “Nurturing” underlined in large handwriting, and a new app on my iPhone.
Kim spent an hour with me asking pointed questions and listening like a pro. She wanted to know what my diet history is, what my food patterns are today, how I feel about food, and I think more importantly, how I feel about myself when I’m interacting with food. It’s not a pretty picture when you get down to it; I feel as if I fail myself almost every day because of what I eat. I find it nearly impossible to achieve the prescribed calorie goals and stick to the restricted food plans of many diets. I feel it’s a weakness, and I’m ashamed of the fact that I haven’t gained control over how I interact with food.
As I mentioned before, I left my appointment with instructions that were 180 degrees from what I expected. And because of this, I left with hope. Here’s what Kim’s instructions for me were:
1. Are you nurturing yourself? How do you feel about what you’re doing? Is what you’re doing kind? To your body, mind, and soul?
2. When you choose something more “tasty” to eat, focus more on mindfulness. When you make the “healthier” choice, be done with it and move on. (This stemmed from a conversation about the fact that I eat at restaurants regularly, which is a challenge. Kim asked me to commit to choosing the “tasty” option 50% of the time, and the “healthy” option 50% of the time. Seems reasonable.)
3. NEVER abandon yourself. Walking away is not an option.
4. What are some ways that I can find pleasure and soothe myself without food? Go for a walk. Go to a coffee shop. I need more ideas, but these are a start.
There are no “off limits” foods or diet plans for me to follow. Just a routine of being kind to myself. Kim has developed an iPhone app that is pretty great at getting me to step away from the binge-eating ledge. It’s called “In the Moment – Mindful Eating” and it kindly and gently walks the user through the process of making a choice about food. Are you hungry? Are you in emotional distress? Basically, what can you do to step away from the fridge and address what is going on head-on. The app is $1.99 and worth every penny.
So that’s it for today. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a bit of a kinder approach to food and how I treat myself when I’m obsessing over it. Hope this helps.