no dreams tonight to interrupt

It seems impossible that just a week ago I was getting ready to head to Texas. It's hard to believe that I've been back in Oklahoma for two full work days so far.

I landed on Sunday afternoon, after a flight filled with turbulence. My husband was rushing to the airport, ready to surprise me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. My flight landed 15 minutes early, and after getting my luggage from baggage claim, I met him halfway to the parking garage and carried the flowers the rest of the way to the car.

In college, I always wanted someone to pick me up at the airport with flowers or a sign or something equally romantic, but it never happened. Thankfully, it has now.

Also in college, I told everyone that I never wanted to move back to Texas. And at that time, I didn't. I also didn't want to stay in Oklahoma following my graduation from college. Now I would love to move back to Texas.

My main priority right now needs to be health. Spending time in Texas gave me a much needed break from stress, but it also provided me with the opportunity to eat a lot and drink a lot. I loved every moment I spent with my family and enjoyed every glass of wine I drank. But now that I am back in Oklahoma, I'm returning to watching what I eat and adhering to the principles of the South Beach Diet Phase One.

When I'm back in Texas, it's easy. I feel like I fit. There's this sense of loving every bit of the time spent there - rediscovering cities like The Woodlands and Seabrook and imagining myself living there.

The South Beach Diet Phase One is like Texas. I feel like I fit and that it fits me. It's not always easy, but I am rediscovering the foods I can eat and slowly starting to crave some healthy foods rather than just wanting a crispy chicken sandwich from Wendy's or What-A-Burger.

My first craving came on Saturday while I was in Texas. I finished a three-mile walk outside and had a little over an hour to eat lunch and shower before heading to the movies with my parents and aunt. I threw together a mixture of veggies and cut up a piece of grilled salmon to put on top of the salad. It was delicious, and I got another craving for a salad on Monday. While my husband consumed chips and queso for dinner, I ate a Mexican cobb salad.

I purchased all the fixings for a salad on Tuesday when I went to the grocery store, and when I finally sat down to dinner a little after 9:00pm on Tuesday, I did so with a salad that included homemade chicken salad (recipe below).

The recipe calls for 3 cups shredded chicken breasts, but I used two bags of the Tyson diced chicken breast this time around. Next time, I think I would do my best to bake my own chicken and then shred it. I also chopped three stalks of celery and mixed the celery in with the chicken, sour cream, lemon zest, scallions, and parsley. I then served the mixture over romaine lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

It would have been all too easy to grab sushi at the grocery store or stop at Chik-Fil-A for one of their sandwiches. And I thought about doing both those things. The only reason I didn't was that I decided that I needed and wanted to fully commit to eating the way the South Beach Diet instructs.

Phase One is a two-week phase, but the lifestyle of the South Beach Diet is set up in such a way that I can return to Phase One whenever I need to. And since I enjoyed food, cupcakes, and wine while in Texas, I'm sticking with Phase One for another week before reintroducing some fruit and carbohydrates into my diet.

I never really thought I could do this - watch what I eat so closely and eventually begin to prefer healthy food over unhealthy food - just like I never thought I would miss Texas. But the more weight I lose, the more I enjoy the healthy foods and the less I want to eat french fries.

Phase One Friendly Chicken Salad:
3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
3 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt & pepper (to taste)
3 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts (or 12 ounces of already cooked diced chicken breast)
3 stalks of celery, diced (optional)
8 large lettuce leaves
1 roma tomato, diced (optional)
1 cup diced cucumber (optional)
Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, scallions, parsley, lemon peel, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to blend.
2. Add the chicken and celery and toss to coat.
3. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves with tomatoes and cucumber. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately (calculated using MyFitnessPal): 365 calories, 13g carbohydrates, 27g fat, 24g protein, 9g sugar (does not include cucumber or dressing).

(title from "stay awake" by julia nunes)

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