Doesn’t everyone plop down on a curb when it’s “lunch time”? Well, I do.
My daughter and I enjoyed a fantastic get away to DC last week. It was quite the whirlwind, and we ended up being out and about for ten to twelve hours per day. That’s not the way we usually roll. We both tend to do best with a moderate amount of activity each day, along with plenty of downtime.
But we were enjoying the city so much that we ended up staying out from morning to evening. D.C. is like New York in that way. You walk out your door with a loose agenda, but then the flow of the city takes over and you end up bumping into fun and interesting experiences. It was one of those serendipitous trips where each day took on a life and flow of its own, and we just went with it.
While that was all very fun, it also created a bit of hassle for me, as I was continuously drinking a shake on the go. You’ll recall I’m on a primarily liquid diet because lyme disease destroyed my digestive tract.
In the photo above I’m preparing my “lunch” just as we arrived at the Holocaust Museum. There wasn’t anywhere to make my shake, so I just sat on the curb. Glamorous.
A few hours later we were strolling through the city when it was time for my afternoon snack. Again, there wasn’t anywhere obvious to make my shake, so we just stopped in front of a random building and I used a window ledge as my table.
I don’t really enjoy this portion of my program. For starters, my shake tastes best when it’s very cold. When I’m going to be out for the day, I store my insulated cups in the freezer overnight and then fill them with ice cold water before we headed out. But it was 95 and humid, and by the time it was shake time, the water was not that cold. Which meant my shakes were not that good.
In general, I have a very positive attitude about the fact I’m on a mostly liquid diet. In fact, I get upset with myself when I feel down about it because I know many people have far worse problems, and would happily trade with me. So, I do my best to be accepting.
But I’m human, and it’s hard to stay positive 100% of the time. I struggle most with optimism when on vacation. Food is part of the fun, right? New cities, new restaurants, treating yourself to things you wouldn’t normally eat. Unfortunately, I don’t get to experience that when traveling. I do eat solid food for dinner, but I’m on such a restricted diet due to food sensitivities that eating out in a new city is not much different than eating at home. And that makes me sad sometimes.
When I’m feeling sad about what I’m not eating, I try to focus on gratitude and perspective. Gratitude that my problems aren’t worse. Gratitude that my liquid diet most likely saved my life. (If you’re new — I bottomed out at 81 pounds before the liquid diet. My hair was falling out. I hadn’t menstruated in years. You could count every bone in my rib cage. In short, my body was failing.)
Is giving up chewing a reasonable price to pay for leaving that place of desperation? Of course it is. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Especially since I have no idea what the end game is. Will my body ever be able to process enough food to maintain life? Will I ever be able to transition back to a more normal diet? I have no idea.
That’s where perspective has to come in. My liquid diet is a difficult part of my life. But my life could be much more difficult than it is. And many people suffer in dramatically worse ways than I do.
In that light, how can I feel sorry for myself? How can I dwell in the negative?
Did I have a great food experience in DC? No, not really. But did I create priceless memories with my daughter on the eve of her new life in college? Absolutely. And I absolutely would not have had the stamina for that trip absent my weight gain from a liquid diet. No way. No how.
When I’m feeling down about what I’m not eating, I try to refocus my energy toward what I’m doing and experiencing. And I’m doing and experiencing a lot. And the reason I’m able to do and experience so much is because I’m sipping instead of chewing.
Now, that’s something to chew on.