Some time in the middle of next week, my husband and I will drive home to the Chicago suburbs for the holidays. And that means meal prep.
There is something really special to me about making, portioning out and packing up 3 days worth of food. I can literally see EVERYTHING I am going to eat.
I fought really hard against planning meals ahead before I started doing what I do to control my eating. I liked the uncertainty because it made it easier to convince myself that I needed, or at least “could have” the exact foods I was trying not to eat. I wanted freedom. But I really wanted the freedom to eat sugar. Because I had a bad day. Because I had a good day! Because I haven’t had it in a while. Because if I follow whatever diet, I won’t be having more for a while. Because because because.
The truth is that I have flexibility now. I can make and portion and pack 9 full meals, and still decide to eat something else. It’s just that it’s not an accident. It’s not the “only choice” I have. It’s not a case of me saying screw my food plan. I love my food plan! So if I want something else, it’s always something in my eating boundaries.
If I get to the grocery store near my house in the suburbs and they have giant honeycrisp apples and I have packed and committed to 8 ounces of pineapple, I can change my mind! But I *have* the pineapple. So if it’s time for breakfast and I am hungry and I don’t want to wait and see if there are giant apples, I am taken care of.
Back when I was eating compulsively and trying to lose weight, not having a plan was always a way to “accidentally” go off my diet. (It was not actually an accident. In case the quotation marks don’t make that obvious.) I was always either excitedly starving myself long enough to get high on some weight loss or looking for any excuse to eat drug foods. Often both. At the same time. But even if I were in the middle of a good stretch of weight loss, a holiday would mean food was going to win. It was just how holidays worked. Everyone gained weight over Christmas.
Having my drug foods down and my eating under control is a relief to me year round. Having my meals packed and ready to go is a joy. Seeing the sum total of every morsel I will consume over the next few days is a trip! Not hating myself because I can’t stop eating? Well, like that old credit card ad would say. “Priceless.”