Monthly Archives: June 2014

Structured Eating

It’s been a couple of weeks and I have to say it hasn’t been easy to eat mindfully.  Since school has been out for the summer, I haven’t had much structure or routine to my days. Instead, we’ve been planning on the go which leads to unhealthy eating choices.  I find myself mindlessly eating at night, mostly sweets.  I’m feeling an undercurrent of stress right now because I’m moving and starting a new job so that is definitely weighing on me, but overall I know I’m doing a whole lot better than 3 years ago. I’m excited to move even though things are not all in place. I have a lot of faith that things will work out and we’ll find the right place to live and in the right town.  Whenever I think excessively about it, that’s when the stress shows up, but what’s the point of stressing when I can only focus on today?  It’s a different approach for me, but I know it’s the right approach.

I don’t know if the mindless eating is a result of the undercurrent, or lack of routine, or just plain old habits showing up again. Either way, I’m disappointed in myself because I know this is not who I am as a person.  I know I can do better. I contemplated going on another diet, but had to talk myself out of it because diets don’t work. I’ve been on and off of them for years and it only is a temporary fix.

I have been noticing lately the saying “It’s going to get worse before it gets better”. It’s a sign from God because I’ve been feeling a bit of helplessness lately and when hearing that statement, I realized, that’s true. It has to ‘even out’ before it gets better because I’ve been on a diet most of my adult life and to get out of that mindset takes time and effort.  I have to re-learn how to eat based on appetite, taking the time necessary to break down food, know when the body is full and to become aware of the emotions around eating.  These are some things I didn’t learn.  It feels weird at first, but then again, everything that’s new feels weird until it becomes habit.

Even though my schedule is not structured, it doesn’t mean my eating has to be unstructured.  I thought about just writing out what I’m going to eat or write it down afterwards to at least introduce some structure.  Not for the purpose of counting calories, but for just inserting some awareness into my day.  I’m going to see how that works and if it will help or not.

The next couple of months are going to be busy, but it doesn’t have to be an excuse to eat out of control or practice habitual mindless eating, how do skinny people do it when they get busy?

What do you do when you find your life ‘out of control’? Do you eat more or less? Why?

 

Beliefs are key to making healthy food choices

I have been attending this ‘Emotional Eating’ class at night which is hosted by Karen Koenig.  She’s the author of “Rules for Normal Eating”.  We’ve been going over all the ways to start listening to your body to determine when you are hungry and when you are craving food. It’s been incredibly helpful when making healthy food choices.  All of what she says in her book and in the class are logical and make a lot of sense.

However, I’ve been struggling to act out these rules to make healthy food choices.  It’s now summer and I’m running around, trying to get my family situated in camps, interviewing for jobs, and looking for a place to live because we have to move within 3 months and we have no idea where we are going. It’s been chaotic and I’m thinking to myself, how the heck am I going to make time to sit down and focus on eating and making healthy food choices? I barely have time to go work out, which I try to do everyday.  It’s been more like 3 days a week, which is better than nothing.

When things are chaotic, my attention is diverted to other things, not making healthy food choices. Instead, I find myself looking for the drive-thru or making easy meals which usually aren’t healthy.  I feel guilty afterwards because I’m thinking, I could have done better.  I’m slowly trying to change this thought process to exercise compassion with myself rather then being critical because that just furthers the frustration.

I know planning is key. I’ve learned that over the years, but for some reason, even if I have a menu on the refrigerator and all the ingredients, I still do not make the healthy food choice, why? Ah, that is the question.  It stems from beliefs which lead to thoughts which lead to actions and behaviors.  I know deep down I have this belief that says, ‘Just grab the other food, it’s easier and you don’t have to think about it and it tastes good.’  I’m working on changing this underlying belief by re-framing it to say, “I can take an extra 10-15 minutes to make a healthy and tasty meal for myself and family and the best part is I will feel better afterwards.” Sounds good as I write it, but putting it to practice, that’s the challenge.

For lasting change, I will become more conscious about my actions. I noticed, my brain goes on auto-pilot after 4 PM and I’m not typically doing things with awareness. Instead, it’s habitual and I’m just grabbing food and eating mindlessly because that’s what I’ve always done.  I’ve been working on trying to talk more to myself on the ride home from work to say, “Okay, when I get home, I will drink a large glass of water and take the dog out for a walk.”   Sounds so simple right, but I’ll have to be pro-active until it becomes a habit.

I will keep you posted on how things go but in the meantime, tell me, what is one belief that you know is not helping you make healthy food choices? What are you telling yourself that is sabotaging your progress? If you aren’t sure, you can start by identifying a habit that you feel is not supporting your progress and then dig deeper to find the underlying thoughts and ultimately the belief.  Let me know what you discover…