So it seems I can look after a couple of things simultaneously, like exercise plus eating vegetables, or mindful eating plus drinking enough water, or meditation plus exercise. But when I try to bring all these good things together, it's like herding cats. And I'm both the herder and the insane group of cats.
I'm not terribly disheartened, because it still feels like a miracle to me to not be binging several times each week. I feel it will all come together at some point if I keep working at it.
Lately, my focus on eating vegetables and gently reducing carbs has been displaced by a focus on mindful eating. I'm eating lots of unhealthy food in sane portions, and doing it mindfully. I was mindful at McDonald's yesterday, as strange as that sounds. Part of me feels guilty about not eating enough nutritious foods, and another part of me is downright gleeful that I'm able to eat desserts and pizza and all the rest now without gorging myself and feeling obsessed with getting my next fix. I have chocolate chips in the house; I have Valentine's candy purchased for my husband and hidden away for now. Neither item is torturing me with its mere presence, the way it would have in the recent past. I'm amazed.
Hopefully, the novelty of this will pass and I will be able to strike a better balance between practical, nutritious foods and pleasurable, indulgent foods soon. I do know that after finishing a small Shamrock shake last night, I was slightly disappointed in myself because my intention was to drink half and throw the rest away. Instead, I finished the whole thing, and then questioned the wisdom of putting that much sugar into my body at once. I also questioned whether my animal brain had defeated me in this instance, because I failed to carry out my sensible plan to only drink half.
The same thing happened with a smoothie at Panera's a couple of days before. I meant to drink half. I paid close attention to my drink and noticed the flavor changing as well as the sensation in my mouth and throat becoming less pleasant after a certain point: diminishing returns had kicked in. But it was still pleasurable enough for me to keep going, even as my higher self said "stop! NOW! right now! Get up and throw this thing into the trash!"
I've concluded that the ability to not finish something delicious you've started is a more advanced skill than the skill of not starting in the first place, or the skill of throwing away half of something before you ever take the first taste. And yes, I think these are all skills that can be developed. After the incidents with the smoothie and the shake, I've concluded that I should discard half of such hyperpalatable drinks before I take a single taste, because that's my current level of skill. If I want to enjoy something but not take in too much sugar, this is a good way for me to accomplish that.
Down the road, I expect myself to be able to stop halfway through something and walk away from it more consistently. Right now, I can do that with pastries and candy more easily than I can with dairy-based things like mousse, yogurt smoothies, and ice cream. Who knows why, but that's been my experience. Just tonight I shared a small, high quality piece of cake with my husband at a bakery-cafe. He brought home this ridiculously tiny square from his half to eat later. I would have found that maddening in the past, but I can handle it now. If we had been sharing ice cream instead of cake, however, I would have eaten the last bit then and there, no doubt.
I tell myself: all in good time. The reality is I have almost 30 years of bad habits and non-awareness programmed into me, and the rest of my life to learn a new way.
p.s. That's not my cat. My only pet is a blue betta fish named Alpha, who gobbles food admirably in his own right.