As I put the last entry into yesterday's food journal, I felt a certain kind of way, almost like someone was mocking me. I felt really weird. Me, a writer, who loves to eat when she writes, had to write what she ate in a day - not exactly my idea of epic writing. I've put about six days worth of data in this thing. The journal, only visible to me and my accountability partner, feels really accusatory like it has a long, crooked finger pointing at me from the screen, saying, "You made me do it..." like I was Tituba or somebody...reading me my reality.... two quesadillas, extra cheese, barbecue chips, fruit smoothie, veggie pasta with cheese (I failed to type, 'veggie pasta with enough cheese to build a small school out of cheese).
I don't like this truth...it is supremely inconvenient.
The act of chronologizing every meal and morsel of my day is a story I'd rather leave unwritten. Don't #writeon...is the advice I'd like to give to myself. So then I had to be real with said self, because feeling this way, isn't healthy, and furthermore...I have goals. Even farther than that furthermore, is the reality of a certain wedding dress that won't zip currently. It is requiring about ten pounds off of hips one and two to even consider zipping in July. The feeling I get when I see the list, is as unhealthy as what, when, and how often I eat, mostly. In my Wanda Sikes or Jennifer Lewis voice... "Accountability? Is that you girl?" That feeling, is a sandwich of guilt and accountability. Now, I should be able to look at the list and embody the boldness of yet another actor, Samuel L. Jackson (or known to Black folk as, Sam U El) and look at the list and say, "Yeah, I ate the cookies...I ate all the cookies...and they DESERVED to be eaten...and I'll EAT EM AGAIN." Because my dear, if you're gonna do something, right or wrong, you betta do it to the fullest hunny. Those cookies are persuasive but what they ain't, is violent. I neva seen a cookie with a gun. Now, if a cookie had a knife, and I was serious about getting in that BHLDN dress in two months...I could take it down...with my own bare hands. Naw, I was in my right mind when I ate all that stuff at 12:43 am, including the cookie. I need to own that, and the journal had receipts.
Now...maybe I don't own my rendezvous with the cookie(s), completely. Mindless eating while writing, typing, working, especially independently, definitely go hand and hand. Now, I've attached some research concerning the topic, and you can feel free to click on the link, buy books, watch fifty-leven videos and Ted Talks about it. I'm good luv... I've got a food journal. My eating habits are no longer 'mindless'. I've put my mind on them. You have my attention Food Journal! I've silenced my phone and stopped crunching on them Kettle Chips...I HEAR YOU.
I can tell myself why I ate the chips, why I snacked on the trail mix and even why I took the extra M&M's from another trail mix pack and added them to mine. It is my truth and since I met up with Accountability and her clingy ass, I'm doing the big girl thing today and owning that truth. I was the subject of my own fiction piece...a rather thick damsel in distress, confused as to why she cannot lose the weight..."I barely eat..I workout...I had two apples today (clinching pearls), I do declare," while omitting the milkshake I had after the apples, after the three minute 'workout' and before the cheese quesadillas.
See when it comes to food Sis, I just be lying...like a fiction writer, making up scenarios and characters and stuff. Sis, tell the story like it happened. Because these rolls (on my belly, not Sister Shubert's) are real. My stomach, Sus, is non-fiction. I eat real food and get real results...
I'm gonna save you the research my dear writer, my dearest fellow creative who's been nibbling on the sweet fantasy in a room with a muse who can obviously cook. My muse got arm fat girl, a bonnet and makes cakes from memory. My muse is only concerned about my comfort and space to create freely. She brings inspiration and chocolate. She keep a bottle of wine on her and she says skip dinner (because a sit-down meal will take me away from the process) and just have a bunch of 'little snacks' in the bed next to the laptop...this is professional eating for the professional writer. So since we have established who my muse is and her obvious love for me but misalignment with my ultimate goals, my advice is to trick her or train her. Maybe you're not hungry...maybe writing and putting something in your mouth, is a habit..it doesn't even need to be food. Maybe gum, or the water bottle will do the trick...I need more water anyway. Win. Wine....I mean, win... Maybe Ms. Muse needs to bring ONE granola bar to the office and a tall cup of green tea...that's it. Maybe the muse and you don't need to eat together At All...write after your meal, when you're full, if you can stay awake. The tea will help with that.
There's a white woman robot in my house named Echo. She sounds knowledgeable and authoritative. I let her tell me when to stop writing, drink water, get a snack... especially when my willpower is at level zilch for that day. She is courteous and I listen. Sometimes, she talks to my man and I don't like that, so I figure the more I involve her in my process, I can see what her motivations are, keep her close... like I asked her one day...Echo...Does James love Shaunna?, and she said, "Sorry, I don't know that..." As I was tilting the water over her to destroy her completely, I remembered that he would probably buy another one, and I remember that Echo, is not real (this is not up for debate beloved conspiracy theorists...)
She works for me. I use her for my benefit as a free, personal assistant.
Hunny, pack yo snacks.
Pack them, the right ones. Carrots, hummus, celery, one little bag of chips...whatever you will feel less guilty about on that food journal that I'm telling you to keep. Pack them and prepare. The more filling snacks like apples, carrots, broccoli - these will take away from your typing and make your jaws work way more than chips and pretzels, and you'll condition yourself to require less of those, even in consuming them. They'll also fill you up faster and last longer than the Twinkie (do y'all eat Twinkies?). I just felt in my spirit that I should type Twinkies...yes, I'm on your street.
Water, water, water...and mo' water. If you're not a fan of lemon water, please consider it. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, fiber and help you loose weight, keep your breath fresh and energy up. The pectin in lemons helps you feel fuller and maybe reduce your cravings for snacks. I start my day with a cup of hot water and lemon juice. Stomach be on flat flat girl... I'm awake, alive and ready to conquer the day. It also helps my body absorb as much iron through my diet, due to the vitamin C and citric acid. That's real important to me because I'm vegetarian and I know I'm not getting enough iron from my current sources. I also take supplements. So the water with lemon is just a simple thing that can really help your writing process because it's helping you, your body, your energy. I can't tell you how many times I've literally developed a headache writing a sermon, paper, poems in a long sit-down session, realizing now (that Accountability walks with me), I was dehydrated.
Listen, I'm certainly not here to tell you what or how to eat, to judge you on what you do in your home with your body, but I know too many sisters and brothers for that matter, who go, go, go in their respective crafts (or leisure activities) and don't pay attention to the truth of this particular matter. In the last post, I literally laid out all the things I 'needed' to write. Well I'm writing/righting that wrong, real quick. It is in the writing of the behavior, the habit AND the reading and reflecting of it, that we are challenged to correct it, monitor it and modify it.
Does this mean I won't have a pain au chocolat whenever we all get to go outside and write at our fav coffee house?....hell naw! It just means my food journal will kindly remind me about the escapade and I can then chose to do something, or nothing about the facts. That's power. Not just the knowledge, but what you do with it.
Write here, right here....Eat there.
Now, I want us to remember and value the importance of the real meal. This particular mindless eating habit can be resolved if we put it in perspective to the sit-down meal...it may also be the thing to help us as writers who are trying to find their schedules to write. Remember there's a time and place for everything, and you have the power to set your schedule to produce the greatest amount of success in your life. Make sure you bathe (some of you needed a loving, gentle reminder), listen to a joke, say hello to your family, workout, write, pray, write something that doesn't have to do with work, work and stop working, like forreal...all in different pockets of the day, in different spaces in your environment and sit down and have a real meal. Enjoy your food. As Maya's subtitle mandates in her book Great Food, All Day Long, we should mind ourselves to 'Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart.' All of this is about being aware and changing our habits and doing things, you know, smart.
Dinner is ready!
I'm encouraging you to cook, have a real meal where you can take time to taste and read the joy in each bite among friends and family, a meal that you planned and had forethought to prepare...without the guilt of what you snacked on during the day or night. Having the foresight about your meals, especially dinner, can help you in the day as you're making deliberate decisions about what you put in your mouth while snacking. Just have a plan sis and be prepared. You got this. As an incentive for you to be more mindful about eating habits and keeping a Non-Fiction based Food Journal, I've included a link to Maya's feel-good Banana Pudding recipe. I'm making it this weekend and will post the pic here.
!Salud! This is one of my fav words in Spanish, literally meaning 'Health'....whew, I love it. Whatever you eat...!Salud!
I want you to be healthy sis. I want you to be deliberate and intentional in everything you do. I want you to plan to work, and work your plan...I want you to prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. I want you to #writeon with a muse who is in alignment with everything else that is important to you, beyond the piece, beyond the poem, who supports your healthiness and well being, all around. Best self, that's all...getting better and better every day, not having attained perfection but pressing towards the mark Sis...just keep pressing.