The Sis sisters want you to feel good, to eat well, and to enjoy your food. We do not want you to go on a diet. There are so many diets out there, so many plans that will tell you exactly what you will eat and will give you a variety of ways of measuring, quantifying, and analyzing your food so that you can be sure you’re staying on plan. This is not what we’re about.
Baby Steps to Better Health is a way to learn how to eat real food, healthful food; to learn how to change your relationship with food and to move from a place of deprivation to a place of healthful and satisfying abundance. So the first step asked you to make a switch, to find one unhealthy item in your diet and switch it out for something healthier. Didn’t do it yet? Didn’t go so well? Went great? It’s all good. You can jump in where we are, start from the first step, whatever you like. Any step you take towards healthier eating is a good one. Today, we’re going to get started on Step 2: Be Fearless. Be Honest. Huh?
I used to teach and one of the things my colleagues and I constantly reminded ourselves was that you have to teach where the student is. You have to figure out what they know if you want to teach them something new. The same is true for any habit or change that we are trying to make, isn’t it? If I want to build a table, I need to get real honest with myself about my carpentry skills; I have to see if I have the materials required; I (this is certainly true for me) would have to learn some very specific skills; then I would be ready to start building successfully, rather than making the kind of table I would make if I just started banging away with hammer and nails(and believe me I speak from experience here as I am a long-time bang away at the unknown kind of gal).
The next few baby steps are prep work, getting honest with ourselves about what we eat, investigating the materials we have on hand, and learning some new skills. Rather than thrashing about and banging away at our food, our self-esteem, our bodies, and our nerves, it seems wise to take some time to gather our resources and suss out exactly where this road starts so we can get on with making it go somewhere healthy and delicious.
What I’m going to suggest here may put some of you off, and perhaps that’s why I’ve been jabbering (stalling) here. I want to suggest that you keep a food journal… NONONONONO don’t click away. I’m not talking about THAT kind of food journal. I don’t want you to measure your stuff and write down how many calories are in things. I don’t want you to assign numbers to your food. I don’t want you to categorize your food and check things off. I don’t want you to freak out about writing these things down.
I just want to suggest that you make a note of what you’re eating (including snacks). Why? So we can post them and judge each other? I’m hoping you know us better than that, but in case you’re concerned, no, there will be no judging. The Sis sisters both know from experience that a lot of eating is driven by habit and convenience. A great deal of our munching is not really considered, it may be reflex, it may be habit, it may be a lot of things, but getting it on a piece of paper makes it really easy to look at our choices and find some places to begin, to set some goals for ourselves, to identify good candidates for the kinds of switches that we’ve suggested in Baby Step 1.
Be Fearless. Be Honest. Write It Down.
A few months ago I realized that I was putting on a little weight and was feeling a bit lethargic, weighed down, a little slow and unmotivated. I began to pay attention to, and to write down, what I was eating. I realized that every day while I was making dinner, there was quite a bit of snacking going on. The exact contents varied, but more often than not a fair amount of salt and fat worked their way in there. Some days I nibbled so much that I wasn’t even hungry for the delicious, healthful meal I had prepared for my family. It took my attention to identify that habit, to realize that I was letting myself get too hungry at that hour and to be sure to listen to the call of the wild stomach before I became a ravening beast. I needed to see it to make the change. Once I saw it, it was very easy to identify some changes that I could make. I didn’t need anybody to tell me what to cut first – I knew it. I could see it right there on the page.
Be Fearless. Be Honest. Write It Down.
So what should this food journal look like? You know what I’m going to say, right? I don’t care what it looks like. I don’t care what you write it on. I don’t care if you use shorthand. I don’t care if you write it with a crayon with your toes. My only recommendation is that you put it together in such a way that you will be able to look at a whole week or so without a lot of effort – so writing each day on the back of a receipt that is in your wallet full of receipts from the last 4 months (is this just me?) is probably not the way to go. Beyond that knock yourself out. Write it wherever, however, this is YOUR exercise. You are finding the real starting point for YOUR road to healthier eating. No numbers, no measuring, just a log of what you are doing. No judgment, no fear, no recrimination. You can do this. Just take a step, with a pen (or a crayon) and a piece of paper. We’ll take it with you. We can be fearless and honest together. Okay, GO!