When I was a skinny little farm girl, I used to pick strawberries to make enough money to buy my treats. Sometimes, I'd ride the half mile to a little confectionery, other times, I'd stand on the dusty road and wait for the Avondale Dairy truck.
At the little store, I would purchase a Lick-a-Maid, a bag of chips, more often a butterscotch cone. From the dairy truck, I'd buy an ice cold bottle of orange juice and chug-a-lug it, feeling the cold liquid running down my cheek.
These are still powerful memories.
As I sit here drinking my Chai tea, getting ready to make a smoothie for me and the working stiff, these memories offer up a little clarity, into the sad behavior that led me to put on fifty pounds of blubber over the last decade.
I can hear the brilliant lyrics from Will.I.Am
We are the Now Generation/We are the Generation Now/ I want it now
As kids growing up in the 60s, we had to wait and anticipate our favorite snacks and foods. Today, we eat them at all times of the day or night. Cakes and muffins. Chips and salsa. Ben and Jerry. We chase them down with gallons of sugary and caffeinated drinks.
Mindless. Eating. Drinking.
Over the past three weeks, I've been on a diet that actually works, a diet that has taught me mindful eating. Instead of grazing, not even remembering what I ate or drank, I now anticipate my food, and cherish every morsel. I can't wait to eat dinner, not because I'm starving but because I am filled with anticipation.
I feel like a little kid again.
I carefully prepare my meals, the smoothies in the morning, a variety of wonderful homemade soups at lunch and satisfying creations that are small but sumptuous for dinner. Scallops. Turkey burgers. Salmon. Elk. Bison. All "proteins" accompanied by thoughtful sides of mixed grains and vegetables.
A month ago, I was chowing down on large plates of pasta and casseroles loaded with sauce. In just three weeks, I've lost the taste and the stomach for large, heavy meals.
I've lost something else, too.
I've lost my muffin top, the doughnut around the middle. Now it is merely a small croissant.
I have a waist for the first time in about 10 years.
I still have my cravings. I haven't stopped the wine. Just can't do it. But I can't drink as much, either, or I pay for it with a light head and a rumbling stomach.
I've learned a few tricks along the way. I went out and bought small dinner plates. I make sure the protein isn't the main part of the meal. If I want ice cream, I make a smoothie using Greek yogurt, fruit and whey powder; it takes like a soft serve ice cream from Dairy Queen -- swear to God.
I stopped buying fresh fruit, which was like crack to a farm girl and started buying big bags of frozen fruit. It's a lot cheaper and it stops me from grazing.
If I absolutely have to have something, I have it on Sunday, my cheat day when I can have anything I want. But you know what? I've lost my cravings for the heavy stuff.
And I've finally lost my addiction to carbs.
I'm looking to keep this up. No promises.
But I now have an incentive.
I have a waist.
Thought I'd lost that years ago.