A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Things I’ve learned about my relationship with food . . .

on August 5, 2015

Yesterday afternoon, I was STARVING. Not literally of course, but I had major hungries even before my speed work in the evening. I’m going to have to really work on optimally fueling this 6 day a week training plan! I stopped at a vending machine at work and was a little amused by the healthier choices highlighted for us. While these aren’t things I’d consider particularly healthy now, I reminded myself that they were far healthier than the other things in the vending machine and far healthier than the Snickers bar I would have grabbed when I was hungry a couple of years ago. It’s important to remember that we all make incremental changes towards our healthier lifestyles over time. Just making the switch from a Snickers to a granola bar is an improvement, even if it is a small one. Don’t judge imperfect choices too harshly, whether they are our own or someone else’s – it may represent an improvement and that should always be celebrated.

I will officially call shenanigans on the Rice Krispy treats in the healthy column though - seriously?

I will officially call shenanigans on the Rice Krispy treats in the healthy column though – seriously?

Thinking about that got me wondering about other things that have changed in how I think of food over the last few years.

– Almost all of my memories about places I’ve traveled start with where/what I ate. I can wax rhapsodic about places I ate years and years ago. Now, knowing how much my palate has changed, I wonder if I’d even enjoy those things as much but in memory, they’re perfect. However, that’s shifted and even though I know some of the food I ate Italy was great, what I really remember most about that trip was the time spent running and hiking on the trail there.

Some sections were too rocky to run, but on stretches like this I couldn't keep my feet on the ground.

Some sections were too rocky to run, but on stretches like this I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground.

–  Along the same line, my first thought in planning vacation has always been thinking about what food I’m going to get to eat (particularly dangerous when the next vacation on deck is Disney World & Wine and Dine!). Even that is shifting now, as I find myself more naturally thinking about what activities we’re going to do and where I’m going to run.

– It’s a lot easier to tune out all of the food in my environment when I’m not stressed out. There’s a lot going on this week and suddenly it seems like I’m surrounded by bagels and pizza and birthday cakes and all kinds of other snacks at work. I know those things are always there, but when I’m feeling on edge, it’s like they have these neon flashing signs on them. When I was first working on my food choices, it felt like the world was against me in terms of the constant availability of bad choices. While this is somewhat true, I now know my biggest weapon against that is making sure my stress levels are under control (easier said than done!).

I didn't open those boxes, no matter how tempted I was. Scout's honor!

I didn’t open those boxes, no matter how tempted I was. Scout’s honor!

– When I was working on giving up night time snacking (going fairly well still!), I realized that I would wait until 20-30 minutes before bed time to have my usual Greek yogurt snack because I knew that once I started eating, it was really hard for me to stop. This isn’t because I’m hungry – it’s because I absolutely love the act of eating and once that gate is open, it’s really hard to shove back closed. Thus, my husband knows when I go get my yogurt and PB2, I’ll be asleep 20-30 minutes later. It’s a helpful self-preservation mechanism. During the day, gum serves the same purpose as a way to try to close the gate again. It’s definitely taking a lot of conscious effort to stop eating earlier in the evening now when I know I’m going to still be awake for an hour or two. I confess, I’m still actually SAD when I eat the last thing for the day.

With my focus on improving my relationship with food this year, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what’s actually going through my head when I’m confronted with choices about food a hundred times a day. Pausing to reflect on these patterns and thought processes can really help you identify the places that will cause you difficulty and the strategies for addressing those. For instance, I will no longer go visit the lounge where I stumbled across those pizza boxes on stressful Monday afternoons. 🙂

What changes have you noticed in your relationship with food?

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16 responses to “Things I’ve learned about my relationship with food . . .

  1. It’s hard to make smart choices when you’re starving and a vending machine is all that’s available. But, good for you on choosing the healthiest option available! I’m struggling with the same issue. Small changes that are consistent are still beneficial!

    • They’ve just put in a nice little automated store that actually has fruit and string cheese and things, which is really cool but I was stuck with the vending machine yesterday as I was without a credit card for the store. It’s nice that there are healthy options more readily available these days.

  2. chasingdownhealthy says:

    I appreciate your honesty and sharing this, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. It sounds like you’re making GREAT strides, and that’s fantastic! We have vending machines on every corner here on campus, and I’ve at least learned to leave those be. I went from being super fat, to viewing food as the enemy and feeling like I needed to avoid almost everything. I’m settling somewhere in between these days and realizing that I can love food, and eat good things, I just have to moderate it and make better choices. Closing the gate, as you put it, that’s my struggle. This is a good post!

  3. As a former daily vending machine abuser, I highly commend you for making the most healthy choice you can. Since I started on this lifestyle (and there have been plenty of slip ups) but I try to avoid those slip ups by bringing at least a morning snack and an afternoon snack at work and I even have a back up snack in my desk that is non-perishable (a protein bar..). Having those at my disposal have helped me so much to avoid the Vending Machine temptation!

    • I always bring snacks too but had eaten my entire bag of snacks by lunch. 🙂 Hungry day! Maybe I need to start leaving something temp stable out in my car so then I get extra steps to go fetch it and it’s a little farther away so I won’t have eaten it by noon?

  4. Do you work where I work?! We *just* got one of those vending machines over the weekend. I didn’t even realize that was the “healthy” column! I’m gonna go look at ours to see what they put in there!

  5. One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I am a lot better about not continuing to eat something that is “just okay”. If I take a bite of a cookie or something like that and it’s mediocre, I stop eating it. It’s not worth wasting calories on something that’s lame, I want to spend my treat calories on something that makes me mouth-gasm. In the past I would have been like, “this cookie kind of sucks” but would have eaten it anyway. My tastes have definitely changed!

  6. mkadens1 says:

    Um yeah Rice Krispie treats don’t belong in the healthy column. Ha! You’re so right it’s all about small, gradual changes. I am a sugar addict and suffer from lack of an off-switch in that regard. It’s been torture here lately with a birthday cake in the house.

  7. This is a great post that really got me thinking. I always felt that I was the odd one out at WW meetings because I don’t have many of the same temptations as others. I have never been tempted by vending machines or food at work in general because I know the majority of stuff is not vegan and simply off limits. When I do go out to lunch, my coworkers let me choose the place because they want to be sure there’s something I can eat. But while I don’t have those temptations, there are many other challenges with my relationship with food. The first is planning. If I don’t plan out my meals and I’m out or on vacation, I may be faced with having absolutely nothing I can eat. That’s one of the reasons we rent houses instead of stay in hotels–so I can have access to a full kitchen to make my own meals. So planning is a huge must for me and something I do well. Where I need to improve is the continual snacking on weekends, especially if I’ve done a long run and racked up tons of activity points. Once I start snacking, it is so hard to stop. I have done great on this the past two months but had a slip this past Saturday. It’s a continual journey to get to a point where I can snack smartly without going out of control.

    • I can definitely see where being vegan gives you lots of practice in navigating limits. Renting a house for vacation would make it easier for lots of us but especially you. Plus the house you rented earlier this summer was gorgeous!

  8. One of my biggest changes with regard to how I look at food is that it’s become so much easier for me to turn down food that I don’t particularly care for. I used to eat whatever food was in front of me (unless it was just absolutely disgusting), but now I’ve noticed that I have a much more selective palate. I realized that I control the food that I eat, food doesn’t control me. It’s a beautiful thing.

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