Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How giving up late night eating can save the world

OK, so my giving up late night eating CAN'T save the world, I know that. But that's what I've decided to do for June in answer to Chile's latest challenge.

It may not be obvious how that's related to local and sustainable living (even to me!). But here's my thinking:
  • As she puts it, "think about how hard it may be to have to give up multiple things at the same time. It will be tough! Maybe you can ease the transition later by learning to live without some things now."
  • Related to that, a big part of what I'm trying to do with this whole journey comes down to self-discipline. I need to have the self-discipline to do the extra work it takes to eat fresh, local foods, to preserve local foods for the winter and off-season, to grow my own foods, to do without many things that aren't available locally, to live my life as if there's less to have, even though at the moment I could have far more.
  • Let's face it: I'm fat. I carry 185lbs on a 5'2" frame, which is a lot more that my body needs. I am politically, morally and deeply emotionally opposed to "dieting" as defined by current society's norms, and yet I fully realize that I will be a healthier person if I eat smaller portions of healthier, real foods. To give myself credit, I'm doing SO much better during the day -- my portion sizes have gone down dramatically, and the foods I eat have gone up substantially in quality and freshness. But not only is what I eat late at night food that I honestly don't need, it's normally crap food. And even on the nights that I have things like a bowl of oatmeal or last night's incredibly delicious fresh pheasant eggs (which I got from a friend who is a local egg farmer) , I don't need those things late at night!!
  • Food waste is part of the overall global problem, and putting food into my body that it seriously doesn't need is every bit as wasteful as dumping it into the trash.
So that's my goal for June: One month of no eating anything after 11pm. I've been talking about needing to do this for a long time anyway, and if I can't do it just for myself, perhaps now I'll be able to do it as part of a bigger long-term goal of living a sustainable lifestyle.

(editing to say that I'm not going to promise to not eat after 11pm on the night I'll be hanging with my sibs at my parents or staying with my brother... there's too much of a tradition of staying up late, talking, and munching. Realistically I need to make this challenge "no eating after 11 when it's just me alone.")


Chile said...

Have you thought some about what motivates your late night snacking? Still hungry from a dinner too small? Bored or anxious? Afraid the fridge gremlins will eat it at midnight if you don't? :)

Leslie said...

Oh, yeah, I have some fairly clear ideas on motivation, though there are several factors, not always the same. Sometimes I recognize that it really is hunger, and when that's the case I can generally eat just a small bit of protein or complex carbs or even just have a cup of herbal tea or drink a glass of water and it will take care of it. But most of the time it's primarily emotional, habit, or meds or ::ahem:: other things that are appetite stimulants.

I've been working on this late-eating issue for a while - virtually eliminating certain unnecessary appetite stimulants for example, moving some things upstairs so that I have no reason to go back downstairs, etc. - but I need to work on it harder, and having this "do it for ONE MONTH" challenge is a good motivator for me.

Verde said...

Hi there, I came over from your post on the foods group to meet you. You've got a great blog and a great start on sustainability.

I was talking to Mr. Greenjeans today that it is interesting that I've been making changes because of this larger goal that I hadn't been willing, or maybe even known how to, with other pressures. Mine is primarely financial. I'll hang my laundry for the larger good of humanity but didn't when we were dirt poor... go figure.

Leslie said...

Verde, so glad you checked in here!! It's funny what you say about the financial thing... I'm very blessed to not have that as a financial motivator (and at the same time, to have the resources to be able to make, for example, local foods a priority even when they're more expensive). But there have been times when I've thought to myself that I'd be better at this whole sustainability thing if I was poorer -- since, for example, hanging clothes out is waaaay far down on my list since I love the softness and iron-free option of dryer-dried clothes, even though I know that with regard to sustainability, a clothes line would be so much better. Now you've even busted that myth; when you were poorer, drying things outside still wasn't a priority. Oh well. I'll get to it eventually -- I didn't call this a SLOWcavore's ramblings for nothing!