Oh food.....*SIGH*.... if I were to write EVERYTHING I need to express about food and my disordered relationship with it, we'd be here all day – so for this post I'm just going to talk about what I'm GOING to be eating while I'm away and why I think it will help me.
The food at the Ridge is plunked in front of you 3 times a day (no prep or clean up for me!). It's portion-controlled and I'll be eating approximately 1200 calories/day. This is the ONLY thing I have an issue with.... since a larger person needs more calories to just sustain life than a smaller person, it would make more sense to me that the calorie limit would be adjusted based on a person's weight instead of being the same for everyone, but I can see where that would be a logistical nightmare.... so, oh well – it also makes sense that someone who has a lot to lose will lose weight faster on this many calories a day than a smaller person, so I guess it will work to my advantage. :)
But I digress......the meal plan is based on nutritionally dense high-fibre whole foods, with a balance of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins. Foods will be high volume but low in calories - like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, limited dairy, and lean proteins (chicken and fish). We are also given optional snacks for the hikes, and the option of additional side dishes from a salad bar and fruit baskets. From what I've read of others' experiences, the first couple of days the food portions seem small, but by the end of the first week, most people find it enough and very filling... and by all accounts, the food is delish!
So.... no red meat or pork, caffeine, pop, sugar, white anything, processed anything, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or alcohol and very little salt. It's going to be like food rehab. And although that might sound amusing, it's actually true. If I were an alcoholic or a drug addict, I could go to a rehab treatment facility, where they'd deny me whatever substance is ruining my life, and I would be able to PHYSICALLY get off of the drug. Hopefully at the same time, I would receive therapy to help me confront the reasons why I started self-medicating in the first place and to give me tools to stay sober, so that when I left that controlled environment, I would be able to deal with stress and adversity without turning to drugs or alcohol. This really is what I'm hoping the Ridge will do for me. To be in a controlled environment, where I am making NO decisions about food – my drug of choice. Where food will cease to dominate my thoughts because I will have no control over it, and where I will hopefully get the time and space I need to experience clarity and be able to change how I perceive and think about food and eating.
An alcoholic can choose not to pour a drink or can remove all the liquor from his/her home, whereas the food addict can not simply remove food from her life to eliminate temptation. Especially when the food addict has 3 children who rely on her to feed them 3 times a day (5, when you include snacks). Now I know Marius is thinking *Hey! It's not all you – I feed them too!*, but for the most part I am THERE. I am IN that kitchen, I am opening the fridge 20 times a day, I am looking at, smelling, tasting, making decisions about, FOOD. At least a hundred decisions a day, but probably more on *bad* days. And it's exhausting! And it takes up a lot of time, energy and a lot of space in my mind and my LIFE..... and I'm hoping by taking the decisions away, even for that short time, that I'll have more time/energy/space to focus on me and be able to reconnect with the person inside who at one time didn't feel she needed food to comfort her and make her feel *full*.
I'm sure many people who hear what I'm doing may think it's an unrealistic thing to do – eat in a controlled environment – because, obviously I do have to come back to my life. And the food. And the decisions. But I'm hoping that by having a month to really figure out WHY I use food, and to also give my body a chance to detox and feel the impact of exercise with a healthfully fueled body, that I will come back feeling empowered to make new and healthier choices.
What I also like about the food I will be *served*, is that it's not some unreasonable diet based on extremes... like really high protein, or NO carbs or fruit, or very low fat. It's a healthy sustainable food plan that I can easily follow when I'm home. It's the *clean* way of eating that I want for myself and my family. And actually, we are already close to eating this way (well, maybe except for the red meat!) as it has always been a huge priority for me that our kids eat really healthy. And this makes me happy and hopeful - because even if it seems I don't currently consider myself worthy of a healthy clean diet, it at least shows that I really do know WHAT to eat, it's just that I sabotage MY own efforts to do it.
If I ate what and how my kids eat, I wouldn't be overweight. However, it's not what I eat out in the open WITH my family that's the problem.
But THAT is a looooong post for another day :)
10 days to go