Dr Hope – 4th appointment

December 9, 2007

I saw Dr Hope Saturday morning.

We discussed any progress I may have made, and I was ready. I was able to talk about the various foods I had really enjoyed during the week, and about my victory over the baguette sandwich.

She said I am making really fast progress. In truth I am able to pay attention to hunger and satisfaction and pleasure some of the time, but more often I just eat automatically.

We discussed HOW I’d eaten this week, and also WHAT I’d had. Since the stomach flu put me off the pizza test for a week and during a few days I hadn’t eaten much, it was really mainly about how I ate during my business trip.

I’ve spent years of my life in jobs where I traveled constantly, so I don’t find it glamorous or fun to do so. I’ve gone out of my way to downsize my career to have less travel and more time at home, and am now in the job with the least possible travel I could have, although I don’t expect to stay in this job forever. But this week I had to travel, for 3 days, so Marseille, a city in the South of France. I didn’t see anything much except the hotel, train station and one restaurant, although I did manage to fit in one 45 minute walk.

I don’t think it’s an accident that I had lots to report. I had some really good food on my trip – or rather, I really paid attention to my food and was able to describe it in detail, because I took the time to appreciate it. I could probably have as much to say about what I eat for any 3 day period, but it’s not my habitual way of dealing with food

The foods I really enjoyed :

Muesli : The old-fashioned Swiss kind. It looked horrible – brownish glop with lumps of stuff.. It’s made with shredded apples and whole grains (rolled oats and another rolled something) cooked in milk and then chilled. God it was good, and so healthy. One of the best breakfast foods I’ve ever had. I have to find recipes for this.

Dried fruit and nut bread : probably one of the best breads I’ve had in my life, in a rather ordinary big chain hotel. This stuff is seriously good. Thick, dense bread just filled with raisins and walnuts and hazelnuts. No butter or anything needed, but I would have loved to try it with goat cheese… They had this the first night at dinner and not again until the last lunch, although I looked for it at every meal. When I found it for the last lunch I built my whole meal around having a big hunk of it. Luckily this is not available at a bakery near me in Paris.

Soup with truffles and scallops : starter dish at our Thursday night dinner. A rather unusual preparation of a rich soup made probably of potatoes cooked with lots of black truffles. 3 seared scallops sitting in the thick soup. Very rich, but not a huge portion. It was amazing, and I really savored it, eating slowly, enjoying the tastes and textures.

Fish with julienned vegetables and polenta in bouillabaisse sauce : Bouillabaisse is French fish soup, and something I don’t even like, but this dish was excellent, at the same restaurant Thursday night. The portion was small – maybe 2 ounces of fish and half a cup of polenta, less than that of the veggies, but due to the heaviness of the sauce and polenta it was very filling. Flavors were very deep and rich, and quite complex.

So you see, I’ve had really good food this week. Maybe I have really good food every week but I don’t take the time to appreciate it.

With Dr Hope I discussed the aspects of the HOW and WHY of what I’m eating, but except for the foodie descriptions, not the WHAT. I did ask her if people lose weight with this approach, and only then did she offer to weigh me (I declined). She said yes, people lose weight, but not all at the same rate, some people have a really hard time getting the behavioral components of healthy eating down (listening to your hunger, stopping when just barely full, savoring food instead of just inhaling it, etc). I know for myself it feels like I can do it sometimes, and at other times it just slips my mind…

Well, up this week : the Pizza Test!

I remember discussing with Dr Hope last week about eating what you want. Which means if you want a candy bar, eat the candy bar. But not the candy bar AND a full dinner.

This morning going out the door I grabbed just an apple because that was all I was in the mood for. For years I have eaten a full breakfast anticipating the next meal and next hunger. Dr Hope has pointed out that it’s important to eat for our current hunger, not the future. In today’s modern world we can always find more food when we are hungry again. Since hunger is something I fear, this habit is very hard to break, so just having an apple this morning was something of a victory.

By 1pm I was starving and was trying to decided exactly what I was hungry for and I was torn between going to a restaurant (quick, and good variety of choices) or making do with what we have in the house. But we don’t have much, we’ve been gone most of the week. There is a bad fake Tex-Mex restaurant not too far, and I was thinking maybe we’d go there – fajitas are usually reasonably edible, and my DH loves tacos.

Then I had the idea to use yesterday’s leftover roast beef to make tacos. The roast beef was yet another culinary disaster by yours truly – my DH showed me how to put a sliver of garlic into the meat before cooking but didn’t tell me how much garlic to use, and I used 4 cloves — WAY too much. But the beef cut up and simmered in some salsa it wouldn’t matter, and I had some cheddar at home hidden (hard to find here) and an onion and cherry tomatoes. We have taco shells in the pantry, so I figured it was a good way to try to cook, please my DH with tacos, use the beef, and respond to my hunger level and focus on savoring my food. They were pretty good, I had 3. And I was proud of how I handled it, even being very hungry in the kitchen I didn’t just wolf down the quickest thing I could. That alone is very unusual for me – usually when I’m very hungry food is just about speed.

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