One of the things I’ve consumed more than I need is food. I’ve always enjoyed well-prepared food; my experience of flavor and texture is intense–so much so, that I can wax rhapsodic about a dish and its particulars to the embarrassment and/or boredom of others. But as most of us know, being crazy about food can lead to all sorts of problems.
One Single Pea
I’ve also engaged in neurotic eating habits–eating too fast, emotionally, or too much of certain things. My “full” sensor often doesn’t kick in until I’ve downed a scary amount of food. My weight will yo-yo between the far ends of a normal range for my height, but more often flirts with overweight than underweight during my late middle age.
Whenever I’ve announced I’m going on a diet, others’ reactions have tended to be: why? I wasn’t fat–what’s the problem? Blessed with height and a fairly good metabolism, I could get away with a lot. But as the years have gone by, my creaky back, hips, knees, and feet have been telling me more and more often what my stomach has failed to do: you’re eating too much! Give us a break! The only times they haven’t is when I’ve been at or around my “fighting weight,” that five-pound range that’s on the slimmer side of normal, but not too skinny. Nearly twenty pounds lighter than I was.
My knees had gotten so bad they’d lock up when I tried to turn over on my side during the night–a pain that made me see white light, it was so intense. I could briskly walk a mile, but getting up from a chair was arduous. So I spent a fairly intense month in physical therapy to build up the muscles and tendons that hold the knee joint in place. Losing weight would also help relieve some of the pressure and stave off surgery. So I studied calories and portion sizes, and the verdict was clear: I needed a heckuva lot less food than I was currently eating.
I was grossed out by my own over-consumption. The visual impact alone of smaller, “normal” amounts of food on my plate was stunning. At my age, beauty isn’t as important as health and consciousness, so being model-slim isn’t the point–but being able to move around better, to eventually become one of those sprightly old ladies with loads of energy–that’s the point.
And only eating what I need is philosophically minimalist. That realization alone did more to break my inner glutton than the pain in my knees. It got to me on a deep-down level, and it’s changing my relationship to food. I still enjoy it, but am actually satisfied with less.
After a couple of months of watching every single calorie and serving myself one official portion of any given food, the numbers on the bathroom scale started coming down. A lot of the pain started easing up, too. The grocery budget started shrinking. Food prep time started shrinking. And my “full” signal is starting to come back. Indigestion is much less frequent. I’m finally starting to feel like moving around now that it’s not such a big painful deal.
But most of all, it feels right to just eat what I need.
Short and Sweet
To my surprise, my little manifesto of minimalism, The Minimalist Woman’s Guide to Having it All, is in the top twenty 90-minute Self-Help Short Reads on Amazon.com, and evidently has been for some time. That makes it, by Amazon standards, a Best Seller. Is that cool, or what? I certainly owe a million thanks to all of you who bought a copy over the years and have followed this blog since its inception in 2010.
That means The Minimalist Woman will soon be five years old, quite ancient by blogging standards. I guess it seems a weird comparison to me because I’m still living the way I decided to live at that time, and it’s become so ingrained, it’s second nature. Even the no-gift holidays don’t feel weird anymore. The only thing that feels weird is actually shopping for anything other than essentials–or changing what I consider to be essentials.
That last bit is connected to one of the best things about minimalism–it’s self-determined and fluid. Our Read more »
An Unexamined Wife is finished and available on Amazon.com! It’s also FREE ON CHRISTMAS DAY AND BOXING DAY, so I hope you’ll take advantage of this holiday present. It’s also a good way to get a review copy that is also an Authorized Purchase, and I’d be tickled pink if you left a review.
Charlotte is about to spend the holidays in Aspen with her daughter, but manages to first stumble across the body of Dr. Alonzo Garibaldi, the father of an old friend. She gets caught up in another murder investigation, and along the way she manages to fall in love with one of the least likely guys in Elm Grove, a character who played a big role in An Uncollected Death. He’s going to play a big role in future books, too, and will hopefully bring another element to Charlotte’s particular way of sleuthing.
Does this have anything at all to do with minimalism? You bet it does! The focus and financial control that is the result of living simply and making mindful choices has made it possible for me to find the time and energy to be a full-time writer. That, and a little help from my family and friends. I can go on about the details of minimalism until the cows come home, but the real proof is in the results as well as the process. A two published novels in one year (and they’re not short books, either) is proof. I intend to repeat this next year.
Now, off to get ready to turn my office into a guest room and get ready to make Christmas dinner! Happy Holidays to you and yours.
It blows hot, it blows cold, it makes a mess and rains a lot. Why do I keep thinking that I love October? Is this one of those things like when little kids get all excited about snow but grownups mutter curses? Where are those golden, romantic days I could have sworn once were, full of bonfires and hikes in woods, Oktoberfests that were actually fun, looking good in chunky sweaters, and howling at big, fat harvest moons?
I like them better when they stay on the trees.
Because October is so changeable and exhausting, I’ve spent more time immersed in my office than I have savoring the last few weeks before another endless winter. Of course, I’m on a mission, getting a novel finished somewhat close to the time I said I would, but even if that weren’t the case, I think I would already be hibernating. I do not like to be cold or wet or distracted by my various joints with every bobble of the barometer.
Anyway, here’s the Minimalist Woman Autumn 2014 Update: Read more »
I’ve been doing this minimalism thing for several years now–walked the walk, wrote the book, etc. It’s the normal state of things here at home, and it suits. But every once in a while something happens to remind me that I’m still vulnerable to wanting to shop my brains out.
Staying on the Right Road
It was my mother’s birthday last weekend. She came up to have a get-together with the family, stay overnight, and do some shopping. I drove us to the shops, the kids came and treated us all to pizza (which Mom really loves), and I made a cherry cheesecake with a single candle for a wish. Eighty-two candles would have melted the cake. We had a good time.
But a funny thing happened while browsing the shops: my old want/buy addiction kicked in. When my mom visits, I set my work aside and make that time with her my focus, which is a good thing, and any number of lifestyle and relationship writers will tell you the same. But Mom is a lifelong recreational shopper. She really enjoys it, really gets into it–and I swear it’s infectious.
Now falling off the wagon was understandable, since we’ve not only been on a typical minimalist material lockdown, but a Read more »