Monday, March 14, 2016

Lessons for an Old Dog*

Sunday dinner consisted of Chicken Parmesan from the crock pot, a salad of field greens and veggies, and homemade French bread. The aroma of Italian seasonings had been drifting into the family room all morning, and we were ready to eat just after noon. 

After Bridge said the blessing, I just took a moment to think about the food I'd prepared. Good food. Tasty food. Nothing inherently bad or fattening about any of it; it was going to be good. I was calm and I felt grateful. I had determined earlier that I was really going to try to eat slowly. 

The school teacher in me forgets we're retired now, and are no longer required to swallow our lunch whole in 12 minutes so we can get out to lunch recess duty. It will take some serious practice and concentration. I'm an old dog who is in need of some training to get rid of some bad habits. Old routines are hard to release. I ate fast as a kid to try to beat the other seven kids to what was left for second helpings. I've never been one to linger over a meal; it's been a matter of survival.

When I was about halfway done with my meal, I sighed. I'm learning to listen to my body, and one thing I am coming to know: SIGHS MATTER. I looked down at my plate. There was still a lot of salad staring back at me, several bites of chicken and a half a piece of French bread. Could I really be done? Yep. My tummy was satisfied. Just think how many times I have gulped down my meal so fast, I didn't have time for a feeling of satiety to hit me until it was a feeling way beyond that, one of fullness and even discomfort sometimes.

So, I stopped eating. I cleared the table of my dishes so I wouldn't mindlessly pick at my plate, and then I visited with Bridger while he finished eating. 

Later when we went to Winger's, I ordered a bowl of soup, and ended up taking half of it home for later. The biggest surprise of all came before bedtime.

Bridger was working on computer graphics for one of his games, and I'd been perusing the internet, when I decided to open the box of ice cream sandwiches. I cut one, not quite in half, and slowly ate the smaller portion, giving Bridge the rest. For the first time in a very long time, when I put the box back in the freezer, I knew those ice cream sandwiches were safe. They would still be there when Bridger wanted another one. That was a new feeling, and a very satisfying one. I hope to experience that so often it becomes commonplace. For now, I will enjoy it for what it is; a marker of growth and progress. This old dog is learning new tricks.  

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