The liberating qualities of a ‘dull diet’

Back when I wrote this post in  2011, I couldn’t have imagined anything more boring than eating the same thing for breakfast everyday, or eating the exact same meals on certain days of the week.

But the truth is, after you’ve spent decades of your life being consumed by food, it feels liberating to have entire days go by where you don’t think about it much at all. I like the meals I’ve planned for those “fuel” days, and I appreciate them, and when I start to get hungry it’s reassuring to know I’ve got a reliable meal coming up. And that’s about it.

I really noticed the difference yesterday when I experienced a bit of déjà vu from four years ago, taking our son on a college visit to the same campus where I took our oldest daughter four years ago (and where she’s now getting ready to graduate, finishing up her bachelor’s degree in just three years).

The programs were eerily similar, down to the table of muffins, donuts and bagels in the lobby where we checked in.  Four years ago, fresh off a 90-pound weight loss, I remember being extremely aware of those breakfast goodies. I can’t remember if I had one or not. I know I had one or two “treats” that day, which I diligently noted in my tracker after calculating the approximate number of Weight Watchers points. Maybe it was a soft serve cone at lunch, or one of those big soft bakery cookies at the afternoon closing program. But I do know this: I spent a ridiculous amount of brain-processing power that day deliberating over which treats I was going to splurge on, and when.

Yesterday I took a quick glance at the table, to see if there was anything that looked so good that I might want to have something similar on cheat day. But you know, giant muffins and donuts  and bagels are as common as dirt these days. Even with a struggling economy and all the problems we think we have halfway through the second decade of the 21st Century, most Americans not only have plenty of food options every day, they have plenty of “treat food” options as well.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and moved on with my day. It was liberating to devote my full attention to the subject at hand.

And when my attention did stray, it was even more liberating to experience daydreams that weren’t tangled up with screen-saver-style repetitive tape loops of food porn.

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