Rather than send a long post on Thursday this week, I am breaking my weekly post into smaller dailies. Easier to read, one thought that will take a few minutes to read.
I am not a doctor or fitness trainer. I am only discussing what worked for me. What works for me may not work for you. However, if you are trying to become healthier and gain more life, you have to start somewhere and learning from someone else is a good place to start.
Making massive lifestyle adjustments is like trying to do renovations to a house that is on the back of an 18 wheel truck. You are moving fast but it will fall apart without the foundation.
I am learning kind to myself. When I began pay more attention (aka “TIME”) to my health, I read about having a cheat meal once a week. It made sense. Work hard all week and then eat anything I want for one meal. At first it worked because I limited my portion sizes and treats during the week so I could have a reward on Friday night. Eventually I developed a habit of saving up every damned craving and then I would eat it all in one meal. My cheat meal was a lot of food: half a pizza, two or three bags of chips, a chocolate bar and whatever else I could find in the cupboard. I would really indulge at the end of a week of working out. It pissed me off that after all of that work I did not lose any weight and I felt lousy for almost half of the week because of what I was eating.
I felt like I had a food hangover. I had lost some weight but because of how I was eating I felt terrible. It is not what we eat but how much we eat that we need to be aware of.
My relationship with food is not healthy when I eat without listening to my body. Eating more than intended can be a hard habit to break and I find it takes consistency to make small, slow improvements. I am happier when I reward myself with healthy food, lots of vegetables and a reasonable treat rather than gorging myself for one meal.
Take a few days and do nothing but pay attention to how the food you eat affects your body. What you find may surprise you.
- How does what you eat effect your mood before, during and after you eat? What physical sensations during you are eating? After? What do you like about these sensations? What makes you uncomfortable?
- What helps me is to ask myself if eating this food will make me feel happy after I eat it? Or will I feel stuffed or uncomfortable? Usually eating a smaller portion slowly is more satisfying than vacuuming my food. But that may just be me? Probably not…
- If I am going to eat a treat, is it exactly what I want or the best quality I can find? If I really want a cookie and I’m going to have a treat, make it the best cookie I can find rather than a stale bag of no-name chips. I will probably eat the chips, more cookies and other crap when all I wanted was a good cookie in the first place.
- I have had to consider whether I can be satisfied with one cookie or two, rather than five. What works for me is to enjoy (eat slow) a reasonable portion of a treat along with something healthy, like apple. This way I have something that helps to fill me up and I don’t feel cheated. What it does is breaks the habit sequence of vacuuming the food.
“Sustainable weight loss isn’t about continual pain and deprivation, but changing who you are. You can’t sustain something you hate long term. You can’t view exercise and healthy eating as simply a means to an end. We’re surrounded by 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants and never have to walk anywhere, and to live lean in such an environment requires a massive mental shift.”
Fell, James. (2012). Insights from Keeping up to keep weight off. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-11/site/sc-health-0711-obesity-20120711_1_extra-calories-caloric-deficits-weight-loss.
Until tomorrow, keep it real.