Day 10- Just the Beginning

Being that today was the last day of the challenge, I wanted more than anything to have a very mindful day.  I can honestly say that I was not as successful as I was planning on!  My morning and lunch went well.  I was at an inservice today at NASA to be certified to handle moon rocks.  Like most meetings, there was a spread of “stuff”to help yourself to all day.  I sat and ate only what I brought as others at my table ate granola bars, Doritos and chocolates!  Success!  I watched and didn’t touch!! It was when I got home that things headed a little south. I ate some broccoli cheddar soup, which I allowed myself to have since I was sick (and aside from making my own I was very unsuccessful in finding a natural no sugar added low sodium soup). I ate it slowly and mindfully and really enjoyed it. I don’t know if it’s because I am sick or what but I felt like I couldn’t get enough to eat. I had chicken, a salad, a handful of nuts and some banana chips! I haven’t felt this full in a long time. To be honest I felt a little out of control!

I have my list of 10 distractions…but I was just not having any of that!! Today was still an opportunity to learn though. I am very much an ALL or NOTHING kind of person. In the past I would have thrown the towel in and said “well I blew it… Might as well keep eating whatever I want!…I’m such a failure! I will never accomplish a goal!” Currently, I am working on and learning to move through the perfectionist all or nothing view! My day could have been much worse and not all days are going to be perfect!!

These 10 days were a great way to jumpstart or support any lifestyle change! As you continue to journey beyond these 10 days and practice mindful eating, be gentle and handle yourself with care! Negativity will not help you accomplish anything…especially if you are the one feeding yourself the negative energy! Practice distractions, be present, and rejoice in nourishing your body! I know I will…and if I can do it, so can you! Today is just the beginning of the amazing things yet to come!
You are BEAUTIFUL! You are SPECIAL! You are WORTH IT!



Day 9-The Peace Within

I don’t know about you, but I don’t walk around with a natural peace filled personality!  Finding peace is always an after thought…after the stress becomes all consuming! I was reluctant about making this list.  But, the more I thought about it…this list brings to the forefront of your mind ways to be proactive instead of always being reactive!

5 Ways I Relax:
-A cup of tea in a funky mug
-Aveda Blue Oil (rolls onto any tense areas or for aromatherapy
-Relaxing Rituals Yankee candle in Calm
-Hug myself and take slow cleansing breaths
-I read through my mantras

5 People Who Comfort Me:(in no particular order)
-My cousin Melissa
-My friend Linda
-My friend Fr. Tim
-My Parents

5 Soothing Activities:
-A hot shower
-A walk in nature
-Rocking in a rocking chair by the water
-Listening to a guided meditation

5 Places that are Comforting
-My Psychologist’s waiting room (trickling water, scented reeds, low lights and quiet music)
-My bed with my afghan
-The Shack
-A beach

Parts of these lists did not come easily! Soothing without food is a new venture for me…only 25 days old! In some ways I still feel as if I am mentally detoxing from bad habits, abusing food and being unaware of my state of being. I have seen, over these 25 days, the real purpose of food! I always knew there were other ways to feel good, but why would I change what I was used to!

I encourage you to make the same list and find ways that will create a home for peace to live within!


Day 8- Rediscovered Power

I have come to the realization, and I guess acceptance, that battling temptations and facing food triggers are now becoming part of my everyday life! In the past, you see, I gave in to every food whim, every craving,every desire! I never told myself NO, and if I did I always found a way to persuade myself in the other direction or justify the food choice! I am the person who has never seen 100% weight loss success and have never made myself faithfully stick to any health ventures I set out on! I have always been driven by momentary emotions. Food has been a friend, a void filler, a soother, an anxiety easer, a place to drown my sorrows or celebrate my successes! It has been all these things, but only for a short period of time…before it turns on you and stabs you in the back and makes you feel ashamed, guilty, unworthy and a down right failure!

Today though, food was none of those things! Food wasn’t even given the opportunity to make me feel powerless! I walked into lunch feeling mediocre about the Italian Chicken Stew I made for lunches this week! I know I am weird, but I hate the taste chicken has after a day or two. Anyway, I was dumping my stew into my bowl and another teacher walks to the fridge and takes out a giant Chipotle bowl. My whole insides (mind, heart, stomach) all sank at the same time. Why? Why? Why, couldn’t I have Chipotle today!!! I began leading my mind on a sensuous journey through the many tastes of a burrito bowl. And I stopped! The food I have is sufficient, it is whole and nourishing and I can be satisfied with what I have! I looked across the table at her a few times, but for the most part I focused on my hearty meal. When I finished eating, 35 min later, I was full, satisfied and no longer thinking of the Chipotle I couldn’t have.

I am not sure if you ever recover from the thoughts and tastes of foods you choose not to eat, much like a recovering alcoholic or drug addict can pull up the same thoughts about their substances. The difference is, it is more important now to focus on the satisfied and nourished feelings that whole sustainable foods can bring us.
Empowered, proud and worthy of the very best!


Day 7- Find a Helicopter

Even though we are older and probably not feeling the the strong holds of peer pressure, we are still subject to  the habits of those around!  At times, we can even be our own worst enemies by the situations we place ourselves in, the thoughts we think and the sensory stipulations we are subject to!

Weekends in my house are the easiest days for me.  I am not exposed to people making food choices different than mine or smells of foods that I choose not to eat!  If I go to the mall… The sights and smells at the food court are killer!!  Even though I tell myself I do not want that food..I can visualize it, I can taste it and of course I can smell it!

School days are often the most difficult! People bring in candy, donuts, pastries and junk food they empty out of their own cupboards! Lunchtime brings it’s own challenges! Fellow teachers bringing in McDonalds, pizza, Arby’s…pretty much any fast food you can think of they bring it in! I should be excited that my meal is happy, but instead I find myself looking longingly at what they have knowing it is so unhealthy but tastes so good!

In the midst of these daily eating challenges, I have been able to identify people who help me stay on track when the struggle is staring me in the face!
My cousin Melissa and my psychologist Rich both encourage and walk me through the valleys. I found the following image helpful when I ran into a bump in the road last week. I emailed Rich last week to ask for some tactics to get past the thoughts I was having! He seemed to know all the right things to say to get back on track! He said to “Think of me as the helicopter flying over the traffic jam. I look at the big picture.”

It is sad but a few of my good friends asked my why I would give up sugar and claimed it was crazy and they would never do it! I never expected this kind of response from them. I even know some that would walk into my classroom eating a cookie and say “oh I would offer you one but it has things you can’t eat.”

I often wish people would be a little more gentle and a little less crass. But at the same time, gentleness doesn’t always provide the opportunity to build strength! I pray that each person can find their own “helicopter” to help identify bumps in the road, ways to work through them and positive encouragement on days when things are flowing smoothly!


Day 6-The Power of Positive Self Talk

I think most would agree that the power of positive self affirmation just might be the hardest habit to improve upon or even practice! We actually spend a great deal of time inside our own heads, listening to our own comments and playing the shoulda coulda woulda game! I find that when I am unhappy about my health/weight the self talk is filled with things that close friends wouldn’t even say to me! Why do we have the right to talk to ourselves in such hurtful ways when we would never tolerate anyone else addressing us in such a way?!

Today’s challenge is to identify 5 encouraging phrases, sayings or quotes! The 5 that I chose are sayings that I have collected from others…I by no means can take credit for them, but they are the ones that have seemed to make the most difference in my life!
1. Onward
2. I accept myself for who I am at this point in time
3. I am worth it!
4. This may be where I am, but it is now who I am. I am blessed!
5. I make good choices today. I choose health!

For me, these are all very easy to put down but very difficult to practice! I believe you, family and friends ALL deserve to be loved and spoken to in such a way that manifests that love. This is just not an activity that I have been able to conquer yet! I can read them silently and I can repeat them in my head, but my head and heart have not connected yet! I feel physically unable to look in the mirror and say any of these things out loud!

So how do you jump off the bridge of negativity and into the healing waters of positivity? I just happened to be talking to a dear friend who has managed to do just that. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the secret…”you just DO IT”…were the words she uttered! Boy was I waiting to hear something more profound! JUST DO IT!

Won’t you start with me today?! Just do it! Leap off the bridge of negative self talk and let your heart and mind be healed by your positive affirmations! I am going to attempt it for at least a month to see what happens!

Collect your 5 favorite phrases and JUST DO IT!!!


Day 5-Free from distractions

From the moment our eyes open in the morning, we are bombarded by technology, messages, emails, alarms, music, news, Facebook, spouses, children, to-do lists and even our own thoughts! All of these “things” have become a new norm in our daily lives, especially since we can do practically all of those distractions on the device that fits in the palm of your hand!

Today I found my lack of focus compounded by waking up sick! Yes…I have been infected with cooties!!! I just love it when my children share their germs with me. I really felt…maybe because I was not feeling well…that my decision making abilities were being compromised also!! I ran out to the store to buy things to make noodle less Italian Wedding soup. Of course I was distracted in Trader Joe’s and started shopping for my lunch this week as well. Needless to say, I spent more time there than I should have! My stomach was starting to grumble…I had two choices…to to Chop It and get a salad OR go to Michael Simon’s B Spot. I was afraid that I could not control the sugar in the dressings so I chose B Spot. This was my first time eating out since I stopped eating sugar. Not to mention I was alone. I could cheat if I want and no one would know. But…I would know! As I ate my bun less grilled chicken sandwich with avocado, tomato, and arugula, I put down my security blanket ( my phone) and sat by myself and enjoyed my nourishing choice! There were not many people there so there were very little distractions. I was fully aware of what I was putting in my mouth!

If we recognize that nothing(“NoThing”) will make us happy, it is much easier to turn off the devices and distractions and tune into the time and food we are choosing to nourish our bodies with! Easier said than done, but every small change towards personal awareness begins somewhere!
So TUNE out and TURN off the distractions and TURN on your mindful eating!


Day 4- Tactical Plan

Just as any strategic response unit, police force or military department would prepare for entering a tricky situation, we too need to come to all our meals with an arsenal of tactics to keep cravings contained! The 3 tips in today’s challenge are a great place to start! I was personally intrigued by Tip #3! I have always been fascinated by the human brain and the numerous automatic responses it performs every second. But, I have never really spent much time thinking about the positive or negative effects it can have on our cravings!

Two situations today afforded me the opportunity to not only ponder the role of the brain in our food cravings but to also put into practice Tip 3! After a long evening of conferences, I sat eating the dinner I brought while others ate the buttery croissant sandwiches that were provided! I stared at the sandwiches thinking about how buttery and flaky the crust tasted. I thought about the slight chewiness of them and how well it pairs with ham and Swiss. I liked my meal very much but, as I thought more and more about what I was not having the craving became stronger because I could practically taste it! I turned away from the sandwiches and stared at the napkin holder while I ate. I couldn’t believe how quickly the thoughts were turned off! It’s amazing how the brain can allow us to do so many things at once but can only imagine 1 thing at a time!

The other situation that I think we all have encountered are those menacingly vivid food commercials! You sit down after a long day and satisfying meal only to watch a juicy flame broiled burger being flipped into the air and topped with perfectly sliced tomatoes and the crispiest lettuce known to man kind! Commercials like this seem to trigger a full blow food fantasy even though you have just eaten! It is absolutely criminal!!! My new solution to this…change the channel! All senses are cut off when the channel changes and your mind shifts to what is now on the tv!

Stare down food confidently, use Tip #3! Come to a meal armed, prepared and ready to outsmart your senses-…and your brain!


Day 3- The Power in Choices

This morning I walked confidently into this challenge of choices!  Having been detoxing from sugar and processed food for 19 days now, I felt fully prepared to stare down any obstacle that crossed my path! I was a little worried though that I would not really have any food choices to make today. I prepare every meal the night before so it is planned, set and ready to go! Well, whenever I feel I am on the straight and narrow I somehow find myself on a detour! Boy was the road riddled with potholes today!!

Many may not know this, but the teacher’s lounge is a dumping ground for kind and caring people to generously donate any fat laden calorie loaded food! FREE food that is!! The kinds of foods that most women stop at gas stations or convenient stores to pick up when they have had an unbearably stressful day! Cookies, donuts and CHOCOLATE,oh my!! Now, I have not walked into a teacher’s lounge other than lunch time since I started this sugar detox! Today I was feeling like the warm fuzzy feeling of a hot cup of chamomile tea! Before I knew it, my senses were on overload as the table of junk was sitting there looking very enticing! I paused for my one minute…took it all in with my eyes, took a moment to smell the donut holes, though about how sweet and powdery they would taste……made my tea and walked out!

I owned those choices today! I though about how they would not nourish my body, how horrible I would feel after the sugar high and of course how it would derail my plan!

The greatest satisfaction (even greater than eating the foods that I once thought were delicious) comes when YOU make the food choices rather than allowing the foods to choose you, being the confident decision maker rather than the guilty victim, and leading yourself instead of following momentary visually triggered cravings!

Show up equipped and prepared! Keep your chin up and feel EMPOWERED by your right to choose!


Day 2- Awake at the plate

As I contemplated today’s challenge on my way to work today, I thought about the many hats most of us have to wear throughout the day.  These “hats” require us to do many many things, often within a very short time period!  No wonder we have become such a microwave, to go, drive through, processed food laden society. We  have so much to do, so many places to be, and so many responsibilities to answer to that it has become, not only convenient, but almost necessary to work and accomplish things with one hand while eating a meal with the other!

My intention was to arrive at school, print report cards and sit down to have my natural yogurt parfait! Sounded like a sold attainable plan! Well I planned and God laughed!! I accomplished most of my plans, but was bombarded by many other questions! Before I knew it the bell rang, the kids walked in…more questions were asked and many stories were shared! I looked down at my unbeaten yogurt and realized I had 10 min to go through notes, take attendance, and INHALE my yogurt before we had to go to mass! out of all the bites I took I only remember tasting the first and last ones!

Today’s challenge goes hand in hand with yesterday’s challenge! Just like Dr. Alber’s said..this really is harder than it looks! I tried again at lunch and found my mind drifting to all the things I needed to get done! This time when I found myself “off task”, I put my fork down and tried to refocus myself. Like most things, this will take practice in order to become a habit!

It is possible to stand in a rose garden and not smell the roses. It is possible to be alive and not live. And it is possible to be awake at the plate but not fully aware!

Practice brings progress! We are worth taking the time to practice in order to make progress!

Onward EatQ challengers!!


Day 1- Racer or Pacer?

Are you a racer or a pacer?  That is the question. When I read that question this morning I answered rather quickly…RACER!  Everything we do these days needs to be done quickly so we can move on to the next activity. Eating slowly, easy life style change right?  Wrong!

On my way to take the children to lunch, I was going over in my mind how I was really going to take a moment and plan out how I was going to eat my lunch.  By the time I got back to the teacher’s lounge (only 5 min later), I got involved talking and unpacking my lunch and before I knew it I was sitting down eating!  My lunch was half gone before it struck me (like lightening) that I was supposed to take a moment and prepare.  I stopped and took a few breaths (I must have been eating so fast that I was out of breath) and imagined I was eating my eggplant at a small cafe in the Tuscan countryside. (I enjoy visualizing imaginatively)  I would certainly be slowly taking it all in if I were in Tuscany!    Once I slowed down, I was able to use the rest of my lunch time to finish.

I often find myself eating quickly and then looking around for what else I can eat, mostly because I ate whatever it is so fast that it’s gone!  I realize I am not even aware of each bite let alone the many different flavors that make up the meal.  I can spend hours eating a meal with a friend.  Eating slowly, chatting, savoring and nourishing my body and soul. I need to work on being my own best friend and eating similarly when I am alone!  After all, I am WORTH the time!  We are ALL worth the time!

New personal daily challenge: Slowly & Savoringly! (I love making up new words!)



Eat.Q. Blogger: Meet Christine!

Hi everyone! I am a 32 year old second grade Catholic school teacher! I love my job! Now the food that hangs around the teacher’s lounge and the chocolate hidden in my desk drawers are a very different story!  I also enjoy reading, knitting and scavenging Pinterest!

For as long as I can remember I have had food issues! I celebrate, comfort and soothe with food!  My biggest struggle is my sugar and processed food addiction, which I am currently working to overcome! I have a bucket list and dream book a mile long (waiting until the thinner me emerges to begin checking things off) and I LOVE shoes (they always fit)!

I don’t think I could ever live without french fries and I can’t stand the fishy taste of baked fish! At the end of this 10 day challenge, I desire to have acquired a few more tools to help me look at food as nourishment and not as emotional support!