30 Sep 2010

Calorie counting and coping

Yesterday, I felt like I was doing so well. I’d eaten a snack without agonising over it, eaten a breakfast without weighing the cereal. Then came lunch time. I went out for lunch on my lunch break, went to a salad bar (Tossed) and promptly began to agonise over what to chose. It doesn’t help that each sandwich has a little card next to it with the calorie content. Eventually I chose a feta cheese salad. Choosing feta was brave, and I even had a vinaigrette on it, but it didn’t fill me up. On the way back to work I stopped off at Pret a manger and bought their Love Bar and ate half of it. Back at work I resisted and resisted looking up the calorie content of my lunch on line (both Tossed and Pret have online nutritional info) but after 20 mins I caved. There I was, back to square one, calorie counting. And, what’s more, it was awful! 484 calories! A whole 184 calories outside my comfort zone! I felt like screaming: ‘Will there ever be a day when I can eat a filling meal without agonising over it before and after?’
But then, something interesting happened. It got to 4pm (the time that I’m usually crawling the walls with hunger) and I felt.....fine. I could concentrate on my work without being distracted by a gnawing feeling in my stomach. Even by the time I left work I was still only peckish, not ravenous, which meant I could chose a pre-dinner snack calmly and sensibly. Suddenly a 484 calorie lunch didn’t feel like such a big deal after all. Sometimes, I guess, you have to sit-out the bad feelings in order to get to the point where you feel okay. I suspect that's true for short-term situations but also for longer-term recovery.