Monday, July 25, 2011

My Rocky Relationship with Food

This weekend I moved out of my apartment. After lugging boxes up and down a flight of stairs, scrubbing the surfaces clean, and cramming my possessions into my tiny mustang in 110 degree heat, my first thought was "Hey I should make some cake pops to celebrate and blow off some steam". That's right, my first thought was copious amounts of sugar and carbs. So, of course, without further thought I made some and inhaled them. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to binge-eating. The stress of moving 3 times in less than a month and everything else I've had going on, immediately had me stuffing my face with these beauties:

white chocolate covered cake pops inside a waffle cone drizzled with dark chocolate with a peanut m&m and sprinkles on top
Was it yummy and delicious? Yes. Did it make me feel sick to my stomach, for many reasons? Definitely.

Later, as I was recovering from my sugar hangover, I really started to think about my relationship with food. I've always known I was an unhealthy eater; mac n cheese, frosting, and greasy pizza are some of my favorite friends. But I never took the time to really think about why I eat what I eat, why I overeat those things, and what it all means.

I'm a terrible fad dieter. I have typical cycles of dieting that go like this: first I get really excited about a new diet. THIS is going to be the time I'm really going to do it. I'm going to get my weight under control. I'm going to be perfect. No cheating EVER. I buy all the stuff I need for my diet and I'm ready to go! Next I actually start and I do great....for a week. Life is great, I feel better, my weight is coming off, then life happens. Something stresses me out, I have a major exam, I get sick, I have an asthma attack, it's someones birthday and they are serving my favorite cupcakes, ...whatever. And I cheat. I then convince myself "Well, I cheated all ready, I might as well really enjoy myself! One day of cheating won't kill me." And we all know that one day leads to every day, and soon I'm off the diet completely, feeling guilty about it and shoveling more food into me to consol my guilty conscience.
When I'm not "dieting" I eat for the wrong reasons. I eat because I'm bored. I eat because I'm sad. I eat because I'm stressed. I eat because I'm happy. I eat without thinking. I do a LOT of mindless eating.

It's finally starting to sink in that dieting has not and will not work for me. EVER. I need to break the cycle of binge-eating, mindless eating, and guilt-driven dieting. It's just not working for me. I need to change my lifestyle permanently, not just until the extra pounds are off.  Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet.

I really need to start focusing on what I'm eating and why I'm eating it before I put food into my mouth. Food is fuel, and should be enjoyable, but not just in the "right now". Unhealthy food tastes great, but makes me feel sick after and adds extra pounds that affect me in so many ways. Healthier options can taste great too, and leave me feeling better and weighing less. So why wouldn't I choose to eat healthy?! Waaaaaaay easier said than done, but I came up with a few "food rules" to hopefully help me think about things before I eat and make better choices for life.

  1. Drink plenty of water - I never drink enough water. My new goal is to carry my water bottle with me everywhere so that I can stay hydrated. My goal is at least 80 ounces a day. 
  2. Eat at the table without TV, laptop, or cell phone - I am a big time grazer. I do a lot of mindless eating while I'm on my laptop or doing homework. Sitting down to eat without distractions will force me to think about what I'm eating and realize when I'm full. 
  3. Portion things out ahead- I don't pay much attention to portions, which obviously causes problems. If I eat out of a giant bag of potato chips, I'll eat the whole thing. But, if I measure out a portion of chips, generally I won't bother to get more. 
  4. Drink a full glass of water before each meal - This will not only help me stay hydrated, but will also help me to make sure I'm actually hungry. It takes a while to drink a glass of water, and I may decide in that time I'm really not hungry but feeling ________. 
  5. More organic and real - I am the queen of processed and plastic foods. I want to consciously make an effort to eat more organic foods. They usually taste as good or better anyways!
  6. More protein, less carbs - I eat huge quantities of carbs all day long and rarely get enough protein. I'm going to try to focus on getting protein every meal. 
  7. Allow small "cheats" but make them treats - I build "cheating" up to be this huge thing to feel guilty over which leads to more cheating. If I do "cheat" and make a poor food choice, I need to be ok with it and move on. I also need to consider it a special treat and eat a small portion, rather than binge on that "cheat" food. I want to focus on eating healthy while still allowing myself to occasionally treat myself with the things I love in MODERATION. 
  8. Eat slowly - I inhale food. I need to stop and enjoy what I'm eating so that I feel more satisfied after a meal or snack. 
I'm really hoping that by incorporating these things into my life, I will adapt to a healthier relationship with food. It's clear that right now, our relationship status is definitely rocky. 

QOTD: How is your relationship with food? Do you have any extra rules to add to my list?


  1. I've found that the best way to start changing things is by tackling one thing at a time. If you try and change everything all at once, it can be overwhelming. I'd pick one thing from your list and make that the focus, and then each week add another thing until it snowballs into a bigger change. Does that make sense?

  2. Up until recently my relationship with food was so one sided. As in food totally controlled me. I'd get mad cravings that I seemed to have no contol over. For me the thing that clicked and gave me the most control I have EVER had is tracking my calories with I had no idea the "healthy" foods I was eating were not so healthy in the amounts I was eating them in.

    I f'ing love My Fitness Pal, and can't recommend it enough. Really, try it. I now feel like I can have *some* foods, in small amounts and others are just not worth it in ANY amount.

    I also beleive in "Zig Zagging" my calories.

    One might think I am predisposed to eating well because I'm Vegan, but I always say " I could be a 300lb Vegan, EASILY" Although I will say, being Vegan, having that ethical foundation, keeps me away from foods I would not otherwise avoid for health reasons alone. Sad that my health and wellness is not enough of a motivating factor.