The next course in the MENTOR program is nutrition. Nutrition is a challenging part of life for me. With my cp, I know the less weight I carry, the more independent I will be. For about a year now, on my blog, I have been writing a series called “HEALTHY WEIGHT EQUAL INDEPANECE.” (Blog – SIX LEGS TO INDEPENDENCE). I’m terrific at writing or reporting on the topic, but when it comes to practicing what I preach, let’s say I suck at it—over the summer, taking a program called MENTOR (MENTOR). It is an eight-week program in mindfulness, exercise, & nutrition to optimize resilience.
The program’s nutritionist has opened my eyes to what I have been doing wrong. Over the years, I have gone to many weight loss programs. I have been in many nutrition programs, from WW to TOPS, throughout my life. In each program, I did well and lost a significant amount, but life got in the way, and l gained it back. These weight loss programs there are suitable for most people. I don’t see them as applicable for me on some levels because of my disability; I don’t see them being realistic for my challenges in learning, or I may not be ready to explore this side of my journey now. I feel more comfortable in this nutrition program than in others in the past.
When I’m in nutrition, I get an overview of every food area. Such as how we read a food label. The best ways to go shopping. When I was in all those weight loss groups, they taught me some good things, but some were unrealistic for me because of my disability and the way the mind learns and processes.
What they’re teaching me is not only in class but also one-on-one. The nutrition part of the program has taught us the rule of five, which is all about the ingredients. When shopping and looking at ingredients labels:
- The calories should be 150 calories or less per severings
- All the ingredients should be 5gm or fewer of ( i.e., less than 5gm of sugar, and so on)
I always knew how to read an ingredient label, but it has become eye-opening when they put it like that. When I go shopping, I look at the ingredients at the store, and I can even look at labels as I make my shopping list. I learned helpful tips when shopping, such as shopping the perimeter of the store because that is where most health items are; I also learned about one bag of five ingredients and five meals when shopping. I will explain this idea more later.
We learned a little about nutrition: how to shop and what helps our digestive system. Every time in class, I learned something new. It has been an excellent education for me. As I said before, I have been in many diet programs, but this program was more comfortable for me because everyone had a disability. The teachers taught us that we could force what we need based on our disabilities. I thought that something was missing, I knew my disability was not my whole self, but it does play a significant role in my life. While those programs suit part of me, I sometimes felt lost. Taking this nutrition program, I now know why the other groups didn’t fill all I needed to be successful.
The next part of the nutrition program is to have the opinion to see the nutritionist one-one. I chose this opinion because my eating has always not been healthy; this is for a more healthy mindset. My CP plays a more significant part in my nutritional intake than most people. Some of the muscles in my throat are very tight. This makes chewing and swallowing harder when reflexes don’t work very well and have always caused me not to eat as healthy as I would have liked. As a person in my 40’s, I still can eat like a little kid. My cerebral palsy gets weaker when I’m overtired or don’t feel well, making it harder to swallow. When this happens, the food I can’t chew gets stuck in my throat, and I choke. It’s not a small choke. Everyone in the restaurant looks at me to see if I’m dying from choking!
Having the time to sit down one-to-one with someone to talk about nutrition has been something I have always wanted to try. Speaking to someone about my eating has been a journey. I go to see an LSW twice a month to talk about life. Speaking to a nutritionist is like that; We have been talking about emotional eating and snacking.
The first and most significant challenge for me is when it comes to emotional eating; for those who don’t know what “emotional eating” is, using food to make yourself feel better—is to fill emotional needs rather than your stomach. Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. It usually makes you feel worse. Afterward, not only does the original emotional issue remain, but you also feel guilty for overeating.” (Emotional Eating ) I always knew emotional eating was a dark part of life for me. Talking to someone about this part of eating has benefited me. They helped me see why I’m using emotional eating to fill those areas I’m not so comfortable with; we talked about how eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. The nutritionist has said it’s not always about giving up what you enjoy but portion control. I have learned many of these topics we talk about many times in life, and I did them for a while during different times in my life; as life goes on, like everyone else, and what we set our minds to, we lose tend to lose force.
The second challenge for me is eating out of boredom. Eating out of boredom is a common form of emotional eating that happens to all of us. We’re watching TV with a bag of chips next to us, and the next thing we know, the bag, is empty. Eating out of boredom was a big issue we discussed when I had my one counselor. I learned everything I was doing wrong because I had been there before, but life got in the way, and I fell off track. We talked about some things I already knew, but then I was reminded why not doing it was so important and the impact that it has on my overall weight goals.
We have been working on how I can distract myself from going to food when I’m bored or lonely. In my mental toolbox, I have all these tools from my past, but life just took over, and I went to food instead of turning to my mental toolbox. To keep from turning to food when I’m bored or lonely, I have to go into the arts & crafts part of my mental toolbox. I can be grabbing my knitting or coloring to do something with my hands, and my mind can be forcing on something instead of holding that bag of chips or something I shouldn’t be eating. If I went back to doing it this way, the issue with emotions and eating due to boredom would not be a problem, and I would be fifty pounds lighter.
My nutritionist showed us a workbook called “THE INTUITIVE EATING WORKBOOK BY: EVELYN TTIBOLE, MS, RDN” (Evelyn Tribole). I just got it, so I can’t wait to get into the book.
One of the ways I learned about shopping for and preparing meals is the one bag, five ingredients, and five meal prep. This is an example of how it works.
Meal one: boil chicken bones down to make chicken broth. You can make chicken soup by adding a few simple ingredients.
Meal two: take some of the remaining chicken to make chicken salad with mayonnaise, some apple, and walnuts you have.
Meal three: chicken fajitas with fresh vegetables, wraps, cheese, and salsa.
Meal four: chicken, mash potatoes, mix vegetables,
Meal five: Use the remaining chicken to wrap to make peanut and jelly because I am by then your problem out of chicken or sick of chicken. (LOL)
I was about to end this post/essay, but I was diagnosed with gallstones. I emailed the nutritionist right away, and she was able to send me information about a gallbladder diet. All the information I learned is information I can use for the rest of my life.
One thing that makes the nutrition part so comfortable is that they don’t make it unrealistic; they know that you crave food and will indulge in the wrong choices. Sometimes what they teach are simple ways to lessen what you eat. You learn how to read labels and the best ways to shop. Youtube videos to watch and books to read. What I have learned will help me for the rest of my life.