After a solid 2 weeks of tightening up my eating, I've got a little distance from the hold food can have over me. This distance is a great thing because it allows me to be present and see things more clearly. So much of having a healthy relationship with food is having a healthy mind. I'm going to list some of the common pitfalls I encounter when it comes to food, and how I deal with them. It is always easier to deal with them when I'm on a roll with good eating, with a clear head. I consider each event to be "practice" for my ever long quest to fuel my body with the best quality, and at the right quantities.
#1- I've been eating healthy for X amount of time, I deserve a treat!
This. This gets me almost every time. I reach a point where I've just had enough of vegetables and lean protein and I feel that I deserve to eat whatever I want. Unfortunately, history has shown me that once I do indulge in some form of treat, pulling the reins back in quickly (or at all) is my biggest challenge. I will continue to work on this forever, because I want to live a balanced life that does include the occasional twice baked almond croissant from Bakery Nouveau. I simply refuse to believe that I can never eat certain things again. Not only is that incredibly disordered, its just plain boring. There are no "good" foods and there are no "bad" foods. There are just better choices.
My solution: I really need to focus on making sure that my times of indulgence are the very, very minority, and 95% of the time I'm fueling my body properly.
#2- Free food/catered lunches at work
I don't know what it is about free food. I act like at some point I was poor and starving and I can't get that out of my head when I see free food. Trust me, I have never been starved my whole life. Even at times of having little money, I always managed to eat plenty. But when I'm around free food, you would never guess that! Even if I'm able to pass up the food at first, knowing it is just sitting there and I haven't tasted it haunts me. When I'm on a roll of eating well, I have the best ability to stand up to it and think about other things. When I'm down the slippery slope of eating...I tend to go crazy.
My solution: Keep vigillant. Know that their will always be food, free food, things you have not tasted. Remember what my goals are- to fuel my body properly.
#3- Going out to eat
The hubs and I love to go to restaurants. The problem with going out to eat too much is I don't know what they are putting in the food, and portion sizes are generally large. Not to mention with a new baby, going out to eat all the time is not where our finances should be focused.
My solution: Keep fridge stocked with easy to make proteins and veggies. Plan restaurant outings days in advance so they are special and not whim decisions.
#4- Food = Something to do
Whether it be out of boredom, or a social activity, eating is something to do. To me, eating is fun. Something to look forward to. When I don't have a lot going on, I often plan elaborate meals to make (or prior to ditching the SAD, I would bake things like crazy). When a friend wants to get together, its usually for lunch or dinner, and I get excited at the opportunity to "treat" myself.
My solution: Recognize the difference between looking for something to do, and being hungry. Often, just noticing that I'm bored is enough to get me to think of a different way to spend my time. Also, baby has been a pretty good time suck so lately I don't have a lot of free time to shop and make elaborate meals. The occasional outing with a friend, I'm going to put those into the 5% food choice category. Sometimes I'll be that annoying friend that orders a salad with dressing on the side, other times I won't.
#5 Celebration food
Holidays, vacations, birthdays, Fridays- you name it. There is almost always something going on. It's easy for me to justify things with "special occasion" and suddenly everything becomes a special occasion.
My solution: Plan out which holidays throughout the year I want to celebrate with food. My birthday? Yes. Fourth of July? No. Thanksgiving? Yes. Christmas? Meh/no. Then when the occasional unplanned event crops up, I can decide if it is worth it to potentially risk derailing myself.
It helps me to call these things out so I can see when I'm doing them. If I have an explanation for what I'm doing, usually I can act in an appropriate manner. It is when I become distant and don't own up to my behavior when things go crazy. I believe that is how people "wake up" and find themselves at 400 pounds.