March 14, 2012

The Power of Small Portions

Example of my small portion dinner: beans, vegetables, bread (a roll, cut into small slices).

Since Monday, I have been experiencing a dramatic drop in GERD symptoms: reduced belching, a slight to no (!) "food in throat" feeling, less instances of a "gnawing stomach" and reflux in the morning.   Monday evening I realized, wow, I feel "normal!"  At this very moment, I do feel some bloating in my upper abdomen and slight burning reflux, but compared to recent months, this is encouraging.

On the other hand, I am experiencing more constipation than usual this week.   With Daylight Saving Time, my body thinks it's still 6:30 AM - my usual time frame for bathroom activity.  (TMI, but it's a guts blog, after all.)   Now it's nearly 7:30 AM -- time to head out the door! -- and my intestines are finally ready.  I went to work late yesterday, deciding to deal with my guts, which were causing me cramps and overall lack of well-being, but this is not a solution!  Somehow, I'll have to work to shift my intestines' sense of timing.

Regarding my GERD, I've been pondering what has been different the past few days:

1. Less tea?  At first, I thought this might be the answer, but then I realized I had more caffeinated tea than usual, green in the morning and Pue-rh tea in the afternoon, and never felt better.

2. Less stress?  No way.  This week has been exceptionally hectic and stress-full, with long hours and late dinners.

3. More relaxing?  Perhaps.  Despite late commutes and tight deadlines, I've found several moments the past days to just relax, whether it's reading a favorite comic on the subway or strolling a side street, stopping into a new shop, or mindfully walking, using all of my senses to experience the moment.  I also had a fantastic day out on Sunday with J. -- we enjoyed ourselves right to the last minute of the day, a great way to head into the work-week.

4. Letting things go?  Definitely.  I did not meet my goals of changing the sheets, sending out packages, or cooking farm-to-table meals any night this week.  While not meeting my goals is stressful for me, recognizing they may be unrealistic, at least this week, and "letting it go" does take pressure off.

5. SMALL PORTIONS and less food overall?  Probably the most important factor.  I realized due to design or situation, I have been eating small meals all this week.  I actually feel hunger at certain points -- but no "food in throat" feeling.  My guts seem relieved to have a break from a barrage of food.   The photo heading this entry is an example of a typical small portion -- a half cup of beans, small amounts of vegetables, some bread.   A.'s suggestion of "two fistfuls" has been my motto when serving myself, and I am trying to just stop eating when I feel that first moment of satisfaction.  Eating slowly is crucial, and something I have been mastering this week.  I have also been mindful of drinking slowly --  something I often do not do -- I guzzle down water, always causing me a bloated belly moments later.

So, I'll see if I can continue this trend!

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for the dramatic drop in symptoms! Btw, that dinner looks lovely.

    I am really curious to see how your stress reduction techniques play out. Please keep us posted!

    That said, your inability to prepare farm-to-table meals struck a chord with me. Given my schedule, I've essentially given up trying to cook anything on a weeknight. When I get home, I'm often too hungry to cook, and then I have to clean up, of course. Also, the stress of not using perishables before they go bad is an underlying and chronic one...

    What do I do instead? If I have leftovers from the weekend's cooking, I'll have those. I'll also end up eating out or at Whole Foods a couple of nights, When I'm home, I've also got a few frozen things I can heat up quickly, so those are an option - soups, stews, etc.

    Honestly, by not trying to cook every night of the week - and not buying the supplies to do so - I have opened my life up to more spontanaeity, less stress, and a bit less waste..! It's weirdly counterintuitive, but it seems to be working for me on the weeks I do that.

    (...maybe I'm really more fit to live in NYC where nobody cooks anyway. :-) )