If you’re even a semi-regular reader by now you probably realize I’m a chronic thinker.  I think too much.  This isn’t always a  bad thing and it isn’t always a good thing either.  It just is what it is.  So it should come as no surprise when I tell you I think about the future of my eating a lot.  Things have improved a lot since I started in June.  Back then food was an all consuming thing.  I was constantly hungry and still relied on crap like 100 calorie snack packs and protein bars to get me through my day. (I’m not saying protein bars are evil or bad but mid-October I tried to eat one for breakfast on the go and apparently the ones I used to love so much now taste like cardboard and fake sugar to me.)  As I grew accustomed to eating less and working out, I delved into healthier foods, figured out how to space out my calories so I didn’t feel deprived and even learned how to eat on the weekends vs. at work.  Not too shabby, eh?  As time went on I realized my “day off” or my “treat day” did more harm than good.  It kept me in a mentality focusing on my way of eating as abnormal, or not what I wanted to do… so I cut that out also and the change then became dramatic.  I no longer felt deprived or as if I were dieting.  This is the way I eat.  Yes, I eat ice cream and yes I still splurge but I do so by counting my calories, banking them, saving them or just timing the treat so that’s what I eat for lunch.  The healthiest plan in the world?  Likely not, but far healthier than where I used to be and any improvement is good, yes?

All of these things are good.  Heck, they’re great.  Looking back at June now I can’t believe how far I’ve come with my eating.  When I look to the future though, I want what I think anyone in my position would want:  I want to return to a time when I didn’t count calories or plan my meals obsessively.  I want it to be simple again one day… and I want that without gaining the weight back.  I’m never sure if it’s possible.  I mean, there is obviously going to have to be some sort of monitoring going on and my notion of not having to “be obsessive” isn’t exactly well articulated.  It’s a vague notion, but a strong feeling.

So yesterday we had a pot luck at work.  It’s the kind of event I love because I get to show off my awesome recipes which everyone raves about.  Each year I struggle with what to bring, determined to bring the BEST item, the one everyone wants the recipe to.  This year I approached it a bit differently.  I made vegetarian corn chowder and some incredibly low calorie brownies, determined not to be swayed by the other desserts there with calorie counts unknown and likely underestimated by myself.  So I went to the pot luck, a place full of unknown calories and ate lunch.  I didn’t go overboard, but I did eat more than I normally would at lunch and so I worried about dinner for a bit… not for long since the afternoon became incredibly busy and hectic.  Soon 6pm rolled around and I wandered back over to the food…. and realized I wasn’t very hungry.  Big lunch?  No problem.  Big lunch = small dinner.  I had a few nibbles here and there as a small snack and called it quits.  The desserts which tried calling my name weren’t appetizing.  The crackers and cheese and sausage looked old and stale.  The fat laden mac and cheese looked too heavy.  I ate some veggies because they were the only things which remotely appealed to me.

As I went back to my classroom I couldn’t help feeling hopeful.  Being mindful of not overdoing it may one day be enough.  Being aware that every meal isn’t an excuse to stuff myself to the point of oblivion, might one day be enough.  Being aware of the calorie counts of general categories of things may one day be enough.  One day I may eat well automatically.  Until then, I’ll continue to learn.