Life got in the way of regular posts to my site…family illness, holidays and the birth of beautiful twins to my daughter. The joyful dust is settling and as I was looking forward to a 5 day trip to Grand Cayman in 3 weeks it occurred to me that the 15 pounds I had gained since October of 2015 would prevent me fitting into any of my summer clothes except moo moos and sarongs. Now I don’t have the time to lose that much weight but it set me on a mission to find a program that would give me a loss of 5-6 pounds by February 6. Anything would help. I came across Whole30. I was interested enough to order the book and cookbook. The program is pretty restrictive but I thought I could do it for just 30 days. It eliminates all sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and dairy. I was concerned about the dairy but it was eliminating carbs that was the most difficult. The first three days were miserable. I felt awful. There was a pit in my stomach constantly screaming to feed it carbs. Interestingly enough, sugar was not an issue. In fact, I quickly became quite turned off by the things that used to be staples for me…donuts, bread, candy and desserts. None of this was appealing. Not wishing to continue 26 more days of no carbs, I began looking for an alternative program, knowing all along that I had used Weight Watchers before and it was successful. I loved the foods in the Mediterranean diet and Paleo and Ducan offered the meat protein I enjoy. What I came up is a plan for MINDFUL eating. It is a combination of the diet concepts from the programs that were most appealing to me so I would have the most success: cutting out sugar, limiting dairy to minimal hard cheeses and skim milk, allowing a tablespoon of cream for my one cup of coffee as well as a bit of Splenda, eating as much fruit and veggies as I want, using olive oil instead of butter, substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and cauliflower for potatoes, having a glass or two of white wine a week, eating more fish than beef/pork/chicken and keeping those portions at fist size, eating more eggs and whites for protein, taking a vitamin supplement and getting an exercise program. It does require you change your shopping. Smaller and more frequent trips. It requires you clean out your pantry. I put all of the carb and sugar defined junk in a plastic tub (and I have not missed them!). It requires you plan ahead for moments when time get away and you are famished. It requires keeping bananas and mandarins at hand always as a hunger curb and it requires water (something I am terrible about getting enough of). In other words….it requires you to become a MINDFUL eater instead of a MINDLESS eater. I know what it takes to be a mindless eater because I was one. Grab and go, eat anything in sight, reward myself with donuts, pizza and ice cream for just about anything. It was a wonderful affair and it was an AFFAIR because I was not considering the consequences of my choices and decisions. Like affairs, it crashes and burns and leaves misery in its wake. So, I made mindful choices to see if I could find a diet that is the best of all diets combined, that doesn’t make you cheat and have an affair. I am not calling it a diet because it is food and food is eaten. I call it MINDFUL eating. And guess what? It is working! How does it work? By changing my eating to MINDFUL eating with the changes I mentioned, I am never hungry, never feeling restricted and I am losing weight every day. So you ask where is the reward that replaces the donuts? The reward is in the thought process. When you are MINDFUL about your choices, your reward is in feeling better every day, and that you are winning! I give myself a pat on the back every time I make a MINDFUL choice because I am retraining my brain to do the right thing for ME! As I continue my MINDFUL eating journey, I will be posting recipes full of delicious flavor and nutrients and I will be sharing my successes and my weaknesses. Please join along and let me know how MINDFUL eating is changing your life!