I Found Myself Chugging Ice Cream, and Eating Half a Loaf of Buttered Bread When…
I woke up. I knew that the dieting had to stop! It didn’t work. The system was failing me. I had a terrible relationship with food. And the solution had to be easier than this. Eating and being healthy just couldn’t, seriously, be that complicated. And considering how much I knew about diet and food there was no way that all those skinny, fit chics at the gym knew something I didn’t.
So what was I missing?
I totally understood the value of the vegetable. I ate real food. Almost every grocery trip ended with the cashier commenting on how healthy I must eat. I exercised. I had tried every diet imaginable. So why was I holding onto so many extra pounds? Why wouldn’t the baby weight come off?
The truth is, I’m not alone in this battle. Most people who diet, are “food and diet experts”. They know far more about food than people who don’t diet. The irony is that many of them still struggle to keep the pounds off. They also struggle to stick to the diet, and the more they diet the less successful they become. It doesn’t make much sense does it?
Generally speaking, I’m also not alone in the areas that dieters fail to achieve their goals. The good news is it can be overcome, and these tips could change a lot of lives.
Recognize Emotional Eating
There was a time when I had never thought about emotional eating. But I did it A LOT. After reading the book Intuitive Eating, I started thinking hard about emotional eating. I realized that emotional eating was popping up in my life all over the place. And to my surprise some of it followed a very distinct pattern.
You see, my husband is an airline pilot. He is normally gone for three days and home for four or five. Every week, on the day he leaves, I would emotionally eat… all day long. I think somewhere in my subconscious I was telling myself it was ok because it was all healthy food. But the truth is, you can still over eat healthy food.
I also had a tendency to eat emotionally when the structure in life I crave for was thwarted by kids. My life is at home. I homeschool, I blog, and I homestead… this means when something doesn’t go my way, it is easy to enter the kitchen and whip up a healthy snack. It soothed my nerves and calmed my kids. But was doing nothing good for my waistline.
The third pattern I found was on down days. We all have down days right? If you want to talk about a bad cycle this is it… My down days generally came about because I was not achieving the body I knew was inside of me fast enough, or something was getting in my way… like cookies. Then I would just give up for the day. Eat all of the cookies…. again they were healthy cookies, and I would feel bad about it the entire time.
Wow! I must sound just a little psychotic. Please give me a shout out and comment below if you feel the same from time to time.
Now before I completely demonize emotional eating let’s talk about when it is ok.
There is nothing wrong with eating birthday cake because it is nostalgic and tradition. Just don’t eat the entire thing out of guilt for eating the first bite. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some popcorn at a movie. Just don’t get the bottomless variety and eat 2 boxes. There is nothing wrong with making your favorite dessert because it sounds good. Just don’t do it every day… or every week even, and don’t eat it all at once.
One more thing… We will be discussing emotional eating more in the upcoming weeks, so to make sure you don’t miss out make sure to sign up for our free newsletter.
Stop and Think
It would be nice if a healthy body didn’t take any thought. But let’s be real. It does… Period… You have to constantly be asking yourself questions (at least at first, until it becomes more natural). Eating should never be mindless. This has probably been one of my hardest milestones for my health, and weight loss. Food is everywhere. It is frequently used as a reward, it has become so attached to our emotions that we think we need it for everything… Bad breakup? Grab some ice cream. PMS? Grab the chocolate. Celebration? Grab the cake. because of this it has become so easy for a lot of people to forget to think why they are eating, and to know when to stop.
Why do I want to eat?
- Am I hungry?
- Is it because the time says I’m suppose to be hungry?
- Is it because I’m bored?
- Is it because I’m having a bad day and want to use food as a band-aid for my emotions?
- Is it because it looks, or smells delicious?
- Is it because I feel guilty not finishing my plate… or my child’s plate?
- Is this food what I really want to eat? Will it satisfy me?
- Am I experiencing a craving? Is there a nutrient I’m missing if it is a craving?
Although there are a lot of good questions to ask, there are some that, as a dieter, you should forget about. Since dieters are experts on food already, you can stop with the guilt questions about every morsel that enters your mouth. If you are hungry, and you know what will satisfy you. Do not ask yourself if it is healthy enough, or if another healthier food will satisfy your hunger. Do not substitute a couple of crunchy homemade potato chips for raw carrots if what you really want are the chips.
“Whoops, I forgot to put the chicken in the crock pot this morning… Does anyone want pizza delivered instead?” Of course that is followed by a resounding yes. And it happens to the best of us. Meal planning is hard. Especially if your diet is generally from scratch. If you don’t have a good list of easy to make meals, or think ahead to get it started, then dinner can quickly become a failure.
I still fall into this trap from time to time, but I’ve also found a few tricks to help make it less frequent…
Find a good meal planner
I love this versatile real food meal planner. Real Plans is by far the best meal planner I’ve ever seen. YOu can add your own recipes, email your shopping list to your phone, change out recipes you don’t like, and even choose the dietary guidelines you want to follow (Paleo, vegetarian, ect…). Whether you choose to use Real Plans, or another meal planner I’ve found it helpful for providing variety to the menu, and keeping my focus on what I should make rather than turning to an unhealthy quick fix meal.
Store lots of extra food
I can and preserve A LOT of food. If the pantry is stocked, and the freezer is full then you will be less tempted to order that pizza we talked about earlier. I include quick meal items, like spaghetti sauce, and enchilada sauce. Most fruit gets frozen for smoothies or crepes or to be added to a bowl of yogurt or granola. All of which are great for breakfast, snacks, or dessert. I bottle soups and chilis for those super last-minute nights when everyone is starving. I almost always have chicken broth in a crock pot so that it is easy to grab for toss together soups (like this one), or gravies.
Keep healthy snacks and meals ready
Keep grab and go foods. Have a veggie tray ready to snack on in the fridge. Make granola bars like these, to take on outings, or grab for last-minute breakfasts. Portion nuts and dried fruit to take on the run.
Exercise Because You Like To
Let me ask you… Why do you exercise? Is it because it is good for you? Because you want to lose weight? Because you are desperate for a thinner waistline?
I think most of us exercise for those reasons. Most of the time, however, these are the wrong reasons. If you are exercising for these reasons and these reasons alone, it is easy to give up, get distracted, and stop.
You only need one tried and true reason to exercise to maintain motivation. This one reason is the reason that will make all the difference for your weight and health. Exercise because you love it! If you hate running but force yourself to do it just to drop a dress size, you will eventually quit. If you hate 6 am spinning, one day you will choose to stay in bed, and that one day will turn into 30… But if you find something you love. If you find a niche in fitness that you can’t get enough of then you will remain motivated to do it. Do you love Zumba? Weightlifting? Rock Climbing? Surfing? Whatever it is, find it, invest your money into it, spend your time doing it. No time? There is always time for the things we love. Cut back on TV time, Facebook time, or work time. Just don’t sacrifice quality sleep.
Do you relate to the start and stop cycle of fitness? For so many reasons exercise can become a challenge. For me the number one thing that interferes is kids. And although my children are my number one commitment, part of taking care of them, is taking care of myself. I have had to learn to adjust my workouts, and adapt my lifestyle to either work around when I’m not needed, or to incorporate them into the routine. Family hike anyone? We also do family HIIT workouts which can be quite comical. Babies make great weights, and laugh the entire time as they are lifted up and down.
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