like a sun comin' out of a rainy sky

We walked through the front door of our house after 9:00pm Tuesday night. My first thought was to begin tackling the laundry - both the clothes that needed to be washed and the clean clothes waiting to be folded. I hung my coat up in the closet and then started the short trek to the laundry room.

My husband caught me, already dressed in his sweatpants and ready for bed. He put his arm around my waist and told me that I looked smaller, that he noticed the hard work I've put into watching what I ate for the last week and ensuring that I spend time in the gym.

I needed that. More than I even knew I needed it.

We talked about our Love Languages last night at dinner as a couple. It's easy to name my love language or my husband's love language, but it's hard to put it into action and actually love each other with that language.

One of my love languages is words of affirmation. I want to know that the dinner I cooked tasted good. I want to know that the effort, however much or little, I put into the house is appreciated. I want to know that, when I spend time putting on make-up and straightening my hair, I look pretty.

Hearing him say that I looked smaller spoke so clearly to me and to my heart. Because today has been tough. I'm hungry - so very hungry - but I can't bring myself to eat more lean meat, more vegetables.

Phase One of the South Beach Diet allows for me to eat as much lean protein as I want. There's a lot of freedom in knowing that I can eat as much of certain items, but after a week, I'm tired of eating chicken and fish without any sort of carbohydrate. I miss macaroni and cheese. And I miss ice cream.

But I know this struggle is worth it. Hearing my husband tell me, without any sort of prompting and in the midst of my thinking about all the things I needed to get done around the husband, that my hard work was noticed solidified the knowledge that the struggle and the hunger, because I am hungry most of the time, and the dislike of eggs (which I eat every morning), is more than worth it.

I haven't eaten perfectly over the past week. Friday night, we had dinner with friends, and I ordered a cup of the chicken chili. There was corn in the chili, but I still ate it. I also ate two (large) bites of a chocolate croissant on Friday night. And I've added creamer into my coffee each day I've had coffee.

But I've also had success. I said no to bread at Outback Steakhouse on Saturday night and ate a healthy salad and a lean steak for dinner. On Monday, when we met with friends for lunch, I took the croutons out of the crab bisque and all the apples off the chicken salad I ordered.

The thought of starting any healthy eating program is overwhelming. Because it changes everything. It doesn't change how you eat; it changes how you look at food. In the past, I wanted to enjoy food; I saw it as something to do with friends. I looked at food as a way to handle life. If I had a bad day, I ate to feel better. If I had a good day, I ate to celebrate.

Now I eat to survive. I eat the food that will fuel my body, and for me, a diet of more lean protein does just that. It is imperitive, for anyone wanting to be healthier and lose weight, to find a program that works for you. And there are numerous programs to choose from.

A friend of mine posted a link on Pinterest to a website that discusses different body types and how those body types impact a person's weight loss. Reading through the website showed me that the South Beach Diet works for me because it's something I can stick with and because, according to the site, it fuels my body with what I need to be healthy and get to a healthy weight.

Knowing that, I can't say I haven't thought about other eating plans like Weight Watchers. I even tried it in high school, and it did work for me. I can't say I also haven't thought about plans like NutriSystem, but I've never tried it because it would be far too easy for me to go back into an unhealthy eating pattern as I wouldn't have learned how to eat - I would have just eaten the food delivered to my house.

But I didn't chose either of those plans. I chose the South Beach Diet - again. I chose the plan that would help me to bid farewell to the carbohydrates and sugars. I chose the plan that is retraining me on how much food actually makes me full. I chose the plan that allows me to eat as much as I want, of certain foods, but is helping me to know that I don't really need to eat as much as I thought I did.

Phase One of the South Beach Diet is hard. It's no fun to not eat bread and to not eat sugars. But I'm more afraid of the upcoming phases. I'm afraid because I know that last time I did not do well reintroducing sugars and complex carbs. Last time, I jumped right into those foods and honestly forgot the knowledge I gained from Phase One. I chose whole wheat pasta over white pasta when I could but I ate more of those complex carbs than I really needed to fuel my body.

I also gave up last time. Halfway through the second week of Phase One, I stopped eating only the allowed proteins and vegetables. It became too hard, and I decided that I would no longer try.

But not this time. This time I am not giving up. This time I am holding onto the principles. This time I am remembering just how far I've come and looking at how far I have to go - knowing that the second week of Phase One of the South Beach Diet will help me get to where I need to be.

I will also hold onto the words of affirmations that my husband gave me. Words of affirmation that came exactly when I needed. And I will hold onto how accomplished I feel with 35 pounds lost, as of today.

(title from "let me feel you shine" by david crowder band)

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