Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's a Process - Embracing Simple Food

Ever have those conversations where someone drops something heavy into the discussion, and then there's that awkward silence that follows...well, I have felt my blogging to be like that for the last two weeks.  I wrote about our most recent disappointment on adding to our family, and wanted to keep writing about various things (because it really is therapeutic for me), but had no idea how to start that *next* blog post.  So, my strategy was to just address that elephant in my mind, and then move on, well versed transitions be damned.

I did mention in that last post that one of things I wanted to focus on this year was to do a  better job at preparing meals at home, and avoid the cost (and food) associated with dining out.  Both those avoidances are definite goods in our household.  When we eat at home, regardless of how "bad" it may seem (like coney dogs and waffle fries last night), it is still better than food we often get with eating out - it has less calories, usually by a substantial amount, and has significantly less sodium in the food.  It's also good because we save much more of our money, which then can actually be saved, used to pay off the bugaboo of credit card debts, or cover unexpected expenses without having to resort to credit cards.  In the last couple weeks, as Jackie and I have discussed how we wish to move forward with adding to our family and have broached the subject of adoption, the part on saving money has become exponentially more important.  But that's another post.

To help me conquer my semi-addiction to dining out, I have become compulsive about planning meals.  I have tried to change my view from thinking about the food that I will be eating, and how great it may taste, to thinking about numbers - calories - and how eating is simply a mechanism to get energy, not pleasure.  It's not always easy for me, especially when the local Mexican restaurant has the best chimichangas I've ever had, but the process is slowly beginning to work.  Tonight and tomorrow I know I'm having BLTs and baked potato soup.  Grilled Cheese and Beef Stew next.  Boneless Wings and Waffle fries.  Simple meals, often with an added serving of broccoli, but it helps during this initial phase because I don't feel like I'm giving up anything yet.  Occasionally, I can prepare the more involved meal, be it a chicken parmesan or some marinated steaks with red potatoes.  But I've started to learn that embracing simplicity in food is a plus - it makes it something that is done to gain energy, not something to look forward to or reward myself with.

It's a process, but it's been over a week (which isn't long, but the best I've done in awhile), and I have a good feeling of confidence that my "streak" will continue.  We still plan to eat out, probably trying to limit it more to social events with friends and family or special occasions, but we have a very strict budget on it, where before, we never worried about it.

So, a little late for that resolution post...but looking forward to a year with less dining out, more dinners at the kitchen table, more savings, and less debt.  Hopefully.