Thursday, May 21, 2015

Health Update: Food is Not the Enemy

Let’s talk food today.  I think about food A LOT.  Everything I put into my mouth is entered into MyFitnessPal and I am always thinking ahead to allow for enough calories for my daily cup of coffee (aka creamer with some coffee).  Maybe this is a little OCD, but it’s been working for me as I’ve consistently been losing about 2 pounds per week, which is a great pace for long term results.  I am slightly really competitive, even with myself, so trying to eat good food that I enjoy and stay within my goal caloric intake is a fun challenge for me.  Most of the time.

Yesterday I was driving home from the zoo, where I had eaten a healthy packed lunch.  I didn’t pack enough though and was pretty hungry in the car.  That is a dangerous combination for me.  In my previous lifestyle, I would have hit up a drive thru for a milkshake or some French fries.  Yesterday, all I wanted was an Arby’s roast beef sandwich.  I literally had an argument with myself from downtown to the dreaded exit where I’d have to get off to fulfill my craving.  I drove past it though, went home and had an avocado and tomato salad.  This (not that exciting, sorry) story made me think yesterday.  Am I being too hard on myself?  Too strict?  Will this backfire?  My goal has always been to eat food in moderation and not restrict myself, so do I feel restricted? 

I came to the conclusion that restricted is not the right word.  I do feel like I have made food my competition, or my enemy.  It’s been my goal to beat it everyday and lose weight.  I see something at the grocery store (usually of the sweet, cake like variety) and convince myself that I’d rather continue to see progress than eat a cupcake.  It sounds crazy, but I actually think I then get mad at that box of Betty Crocker!  How dare she tempt me?  Before you admit me to a psych ward, let me give you two more examples.  Last night, I ran to Target for a few things and Andrew requested ice cream.  I stood in the frozen section for a good ten minutes trying to talk myself out of getting the kind I like.  I ended up buying this…which actually has more calories and sugar per serving than Andrew’s regular chocolate chip! (Note to self.)

Yes, I recognize the irony here ;).
Today, I went through the Panera drive thru to get my favorite salad for lunch.  Got home and realized they gave me the grossest salad ever made instead…talk about depressing.  I ordered Jimmy John’s instead and actually got the sandwich with the delicious bread instead of a lettuce wrap.  Even after enjoying it, I felt guilty.  I’d say you could classify me as an emotional eater. 

I was hoping by writing this out on here, I’d come up with some way of solving this issue, but I think it’s going to take more than a half hour of typing.  The truth is, for some people, food is not a big deal and they don’t give it much thought (lucky ducks).  But for me, and so many others, it’s tied to our emotions, it’s fuel, it’s nourishment, it can sometimes be the enemy.  I am going to choose to partner with food instead of making it my nemesis.  Ice cream and French bread are both delicious and are not out to get me.  I can eat them, maybe not everyday or every meal, but it’s OK to have them.  I can honestly say I was satisfied sticking to one serving of ice cream last night instead of the entire pint.  And you know what?  I was still down another two pounds this morning.  Here it comes, that buzz word…balance.  It’s cliché, but balance in eating and exercise really is key.  I am living an active lifestyle now and eating well more than 80% of the time.  I feel better than I ever have, and am not afraid of slipping down a slope or going backward.  I’m not working on a new lifestyle anymore, I AM the lifestyle.   And in this lifestyle, there is no room for enemies. 

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