Jim’s Story: Shutter Speed

My great love is photography. I have no problem getting up in the wee hours to drive to a beautiful spot and capture the morning dew on rose blossoms. I have the patience and dedication to wait for those fleeting and humorous moments in the gymnastics of insects or seek out peaking flowers with pollen-coated bees going about their feeding business. When my friends look at my photography, they see it as an act of love. But have I turned that level of care on myself?

Not really. I have been lackadaisical about food. I fall into that category of people who know more about what is good for me than I actually practice. I’ve never thought much about food in terms of how it makes me feel. And I certainly never did experiments to cultivate my “internal observer.”

The biggest benefit of being in The Suppers Programs is the opportunity to gain awareness and make changes at my own speed. After listening to other people’s stories, I decided to try two changes: eating protein for breakfast instead of skipping the meal, and giving up coffee. The first thing I noticed was that the viewfinder wasn’t so shaky anymore. I used to use a higher shutter speed, but that simple change at breakfast time helped with the tremor that, for obvious reasons, can be a problem for a photographer.

In the past cutting back on coffee never lasted long, because an afternoon slump was not an option at work. I hadn’t added a protein-rich breakfast, so I didn’t get the full benefit of restricting caffeine. Some tea seems to be OK; my hand doesn’t tremble after a little tea. One day at work we were out of tea and I had a cup of coffee; what a surprise to find how awful it tasted!

Another benefit from these two simple changes is that I have less interest in snacking. Without any effort to reduce my calorie intake, I find my weight is much more stable between morning and evening, which I understand means I’m not holding onto unwanted water. I’ve also lost seven pounds just by starting my day with a little protein and no coffee.

I’m not going to get compulsive about this, but I’m realizing I do better as I move in the direction of recommendations for people with blood type O. Reducing my intake of bread and cheese has, well, let’s just say my bowel function is better. The jury is still out on the mood issue, but my first take on that is that I’m finding it easier to prioritize when things get stressful at work.

Learning to observe how I feel and relate it to food has had many benefits, not the least of which is that I think my camera and I are both working better on a lower shutter speed.