It's interesting to diet during Lent. I've never dieted during a real observance of Lent before. It means none of my Lenten practices involve giving up any kind of food product beyond those requirements of Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. I'm already eating the minimum number of calories a person my current size needs to eat to have a healthy, well-balanced diet. My big treat each day is to measure out a tablespoon of sunflower seed kernels and mix them with twelve chocolate chips. It reminds me of a Reese's peanut butter cup candy and makes a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy booster. On Mardi Gras, I saved all my fat allowances to have shrimp bisque and a slice of king cake. Then, I went for a two-mile walk. Valentine's Day, I used all my fat and some of my starch allowances to eat maybe 1/4 of a homemade brownie square. No sunflower seeds & chocolate chips for me that day!
|I was living the dream...of another generation.|
I love the particular diet program I'm using: the Richard Simmons Food Mover that I mentioned in a previous post. Each day, I wake up to open windows in all the food groups. Then, I get to choose what I will eat. I can have anything, in a reasonable portion size, as long as I count the windows and balance it with my other choices throughout the day. There are even windows for water consumption, motivation (I honestly never use these), vitamin, and exercise. It gives boundaries, but within those boundaries, you are free to play. It develops discipline and self-control as I measure and re-learn what makes a normal serving size. Food tastes better as I appreciate it more in smaller amounts and with less frequency. I can have potato chips as long as I count them out (12) and close 1 starch and two fat windows. But then, I really recognize the kind of fat I'm eating and realize that can only be a maybe once a week or two weeks treat because those two fat windows aren't as healthy as they would be if I had closed them for something like grapeseed oil or an 1/8 of an avocado.
Foods taste fresher and brighter with cooking techniques and seasonings becoming more important than saturated fats for flavor. And it's so much cheaper to eat fresher rather than processed and convenient. It really IS less expensive, but it takes more work and time. It's a trade-off that involves paying it forward when it comes to health care. The Food Mover is also a great system because it can be used for multiple purposes. You could use it to lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight. I lost motivation during my first pregnancy, but I initially asked the doctor how many calories I should eat, inserted that calorie card into my food mover and closed windows for a well-balanced diet. In its versatility of purpose throughout various stages of life, it kind of reminds me of NFP!
I've often wondered what a spiritual version of my food mover would look like. Some sort of Soul- or Spirit-Mover, I guess. It could be a system of accountability for making sure we made choices to use our time in the best way possible. A fantastic guide for using our time is the spiritual classic Holiness for Housewives and Other Working Women. You'd still need the windows for food, water, exercise, and vitamin because we must take good care of our bodies since they are a temple of the Holy Spirit into which we receive the Blessed Eucharist. *The #1 Reason To Eat Healthy By The Way (Sorry, Vogue & Dr. Oz; I love much of your style & advice, but you're outranked here)*
At the bottom, instead of motivators, we could add the following windows and look forward to seeing them all closed at the end of each day:
1. Make a morning offering.
2. Pray at least one decade of the Rosary.
3. Attend daily mass or read & pray along with the church liturgy. (Sunday of course is a day of obligation:))
4. Read a meditation of the day's gospel & pray over its meaning for me.
5. Read a portion of a spiritual book.
6. Evening prayers (including blessing my children)
7. Make an examination of conscience.
Hmmm...boundaries of guidelines and obligations w/freedom to play/pray within, all the while protecting us for our best well-being...sounds kind of like the Church, now, doesn't it?!
Then, we could use a few more windows for:
--Read from a good book.
--Listen to beautiful music and/or look at beautiful art.
--Spend at least 10 minutes outside.
--At least 8 hours of sleep (ahem--guilty of not meeting this enough, but I struggle with falling asleep)
There's no reason I can't use my motivator windows for spiritual exercises. I've crossed some sort of line and I'm in my healthy-eating groove now. It's not as hard and it requires less thought. Repeated, good choices becoming habit! Now, I can keep it up and focus on the soul within this body. Distraction of my physical self removed so I can focus on Christ and become the interior self that God intended. Now, that's a Spirit Mover!