In our last Baby Steps post, we were considering the ways that we think and talk about food interact with our eating habits. I had a mini-revelation about my own eating evolution while completing a home improvement project this week, and if you’ll indulge me I’d like to share that with you.
Our back door has never really closed properly. The lock stuck, the handle was dodgy, and worst of all, there was a visible gap when the door was closed. I could see light coming in. And if there’s light, there is a draft I must stamp out. I HATE drafts. The well-installed door jamb insulation just didn’t seem to cut the mustard. Because we had no idea what we were doing and because we had some on hand, we stuffed some rubber insulating crap into the gap. The kind that sticks on one side and sits in the gap when the door is closed. It blocked the draft, for a while. In case you’re wondering, we will get to food…
You know what happens with sticky stuff exposed to cold. It doesn’t stick for long, especially if it is in an area that is frequently touched by twin outdoor enthusiasts. One layer of rubber insulating crap out, another in. After some consideration, we did the only logical thing and replaced the rubber crap with a metal strip that was nailed into the jam. It stayed there good. It closed some of the gap, and increased the effort required to close and lock the door significantly. And there was still light coming in. You know what we did? We jammed some more crap in there. And every morning when the dog was let out, and the crap fell, we re-inserted it to keep the draft out. It worked, well sort of, if you got it in there just rights EVERY time ,and the dog didn’t run off with some of the sticky rubber attached to his back, and you threw the door closed with your hips so you could turn the lock; three layers of crap really ought to work, and yet I knew it was all wrong. Worst of all, I was still cold. In case you’re wondering, we will get to food…
A few minutes on YouTube (ain’t the internet grand?) and I knew that I had taken the wrong approach from the outset. I didn’t need to fill the gap. I needed to mind it. I needed to address the daggone gap. Reviewed YouTube video, grabbed screwdriver, utility knife, and my favorite mini pry bar. I systematically took all the crap out of the gap (except for the initial bit of professionally-installed weatherstripping at the edge of the jamb). A few nail holes that can be painted over (when the enthusiasm for that erupts) were all that remained. I then removed the strike plates (thanks YouTube for the lingo) and moved them closer to the outside of the house, dug out the latch and lock holes with the utility knife. I made the gap smaller. Guess what happened? I closed the door easily, locked it with no trouble and was greeted by a dark door jamb, nary a ray of light, and no moving air. Hallelujah.
The funny part is, and I appreciate your sticking with me to see how this has anything to do with Baby Steps to Better Health, I couldn’t help but see this relatively simple (albeit long overdue) home repair as the perfect analogy for the relationship that so many of us have with food. We know that the food that we eat is not necessarily nourishing; we believe we should do better. We feel the draft and sense that the choices that we are making are not helping us feel our best, but like my home improvement project, we fail to look at the root long enough to address the problem. Instead of minding the gap between what we know or think we probably should do and what we are in fact doing, we stuff in a bunch of crap.
Sometimes it’s literal, we stuff in a bunch of junk food because it’s a fast fix to hunger and we don’t have time to think about doing more. We stuff in diet food because we want to manage our weight and are unsure of how to do that on our own. We stuff in the food that is so readily available and that we’ve been led to believe is making our life easier. Like my rubber weather stripping, the crap doesn’t stick and just creates a whole new set of problems. The gap persists, and in fact widens each time we stuff crap in. In my own relationship with food, I got so good at filling the gap with crap that I ultimately chose the material that can fill a gap in the most destructive way. Guilt.
Rather than addressing the root of the problem I simply continued with my habits, but I was sure to feel guilty about it. If I was really on a roll, I’d make fun of myself. ”Wow, look at that nutritious meal. Definitely not having a heart attack after this. That’ll help the pants fit better.” Wasn’t I funny? And so unhappy and chilled by the draft. I sat there, judged myself, found myself wanting, and then did everything I could to make it worse. It took me a VERY long time to mind the gap. Why aren’t I taking better care of myself? Why aren’t I at least making easy switches that I’m told would improve my health? Why am I rolling my eyes at my sister who is trying to help me instead of at least listening with an open mind?
The way to feel better, for me, was to make the gap smaller. I needed to make the gap between healthy choices and the lifestyle I was actually living smaller. Avoiding the problem, replacing favorite foods with diet versions of favorite foods, and feeling guilty all worked together to sink my body image and land me in a nasty bit of a hole. A cold, drafty depressing hole. The only way to solve the problem was to mind the gap, and then to decide to make it smaller.
If you know you’ve got a gap, and you feel the draft, or if you’re stuffing crap in the draft, maybe today is your day. Maybe today is the day to mind the gap, and make it just the slightest bit smaller. A little baby step smaller. We’re here to help, to cheer you on, and to give you some food choices that won’t leave you cold. If you want specific suggestions on how to get started, take a look at our Baby Steps series. We’ll show you how little changes add up to big rewards. If you find that idea a little overwhelming, just click around on some of our recipes, give one a go. Maybe our super easy lentil casserole, or a simple stir fry. Maybe you want to add some veggies (or at least know you need to) – how about some crowd pleasing green beans? Maybe sweets are your downfall… Click on our treat category for some super suggestions and recipes for lower sugar snacks. Mind the gap. You’ll be glad you did.
Now that I’ve held you captive for over one thousand words, I suppose it would be kindest to reveal the winner of our giveaway… Stevi Harvey… come on down! I hope I’m not the only one hearing the Price is Right theme song right now, and if I am please don’t tell me. Stevi shoot me an e-mail so we can discuss the deets of me getting this book to you.
Hope everyone is having a super, draft free day!
This post was shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday.