I love food. And I hate food. Some days it is my friend, other days, it is my worst enemy. I have love/hate relationships with a lot of things, but food is probably the most difficult one. And it's the one that is the hardest to avoid. I have to have food to function from day to day. We all know the importance of the nutrients in food, so I'm not going to get into that. What I want to talk about is why food and the temptation of "bad" food is so hard for me.
I am an emotional eater. I have been for as long as I can remember. I know, cry me a river. When I'm sad, I eat. When I'm stressed out, I eat. When I'm bored, I eat. When I'm happy, I eat. WTF! The first three things I said are pretty self explanatory, and maybe some of you know from experience what I'm talking about. Had a bad day? Eat a candy bar! Stressed about upcoming deadlines? Eat a piece of cake (or two or three...)! Upset about problems with a loved one? Eat some chips and dip (and by that I mean half the bag and half the jar of dip)! Sitting around with nothing to do? Go stuff your face with the first thing you can grab! The last one, eating when I'm happy, I'll explain a little better.
My mama and my mama's family love to cook, therefore, we love to eat. For as far back as I can remember, all of our family/social gatherings have been centered around FOOD. You can't have a Landolt get together without tons of it. If you know my Meemaw, my mom, or any of my aunts, you know that everything is better if it has a pound of butter in it. And even better if it's fried. If you don't need butter or grease, it's not worth eating. Needless to say, our buffet of food is generally never a healthy one. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Our family has the best cooks around and I can't think of a single time I've been at a function where I didn't like the food they had prepared. But, that's what I mean about eating when I'm "happy" or eating "socially". When food is the main event, it becomes what you associate those gatherings with. Does that make sense? We aren't going to get 50+ people together and not have five main dishes, ten side dishes, and fifteen desserts. It's just not gonna happen! Unfortunately, that's how I feel about a lot of my social gatherings even now as an adult. When I go out with friends, we usually have dinner and drinks. Even if we go shopping or get pedicures or do whatever else first, food is always involved. Basically wherever I go, I've got food surrounding me.
For someone like me, who loves food, but who is also trying to lose weight, all of that emotional eating is a big fat road block in my journey. Anytime I'm supposed to go out with friends, I get nervous and wonder if we will pick a restaurant with "healthy" choices. And even if we do, will I be smart and choose something healthy, or will I crack and get the worst possible thing? Will I be able to resist the temptation of eating chips and queso and eating a taco salad instead of enchiladas smothered in creamy scrumptious sauce? How do I go to my family's gathering and stay away from the table of desserts that has every flavor possible for my panting tastebuds? At this point, I don't have any real answers. I have "suggestions", and things I have learned along the way. But I am far from having the answers and figuring out how to balance these food issues with my weight loss.
I know that it is ok to eat unhealthy foods on occasion. I know that completely depriving yourself of the foods you love does nothing but set yourself up for failure; I know, I've done it before. I know that portion control is HUGE in the game of losing weight and in maintaining that weight loss. Right now though, I am at a place where it is just easier for me to say, "No" to certain things, rather than attempt to eat a small portion. For instance, at work yesterday, this was staring me down in the workroom:
Chocolate chip cookies and candy corn! Seriously?? I'm not big on candy corn, but sugar is sugar people! And don't get me started on the cookies. So everytime I had to walk past that table, I forced myself to look away. I wasn't trying to punish myself by not eating even one cookie. No, I was resisting even one cookie because I knew that my inner fat girl was not going to be able to eat just one. IFG would have grabbed a handful and
shamefully taken them back to my classroom and eaten them. And then felt like crap afterwards. I know that I'm not ready to even try "portion control" on certain things. I know my weaknesses, and I have to work around them right now. I also know that at some point when I walk into the workroom and there is a plate of cookies or a delicious cake begging to be eaten, I will be able to eat just one piece, no guilt, no desire to devour more, and move on with my day. Right now, it's still an inner battle between FG and SG. I want skinny girl to win, so I'm doing what I have to do.
On another note, I wanted to talk about some of the meals that I eat and what I am doing to work on portion control and retrain my body to eat the right foods and the right portions. I am bad about fnding things that are quick and easy for breakfast/lunch, but eating them every day and getting burnt out on those foods, which begins the cycle of starting up bad habits. So, if you have any quick (because I'm always rushing) meal ideas for breakfast/lunch/dinner, please let me know! Christopher introduced me to some protein bars called "Clif" bars, and they have a couple of flavors that aren't so bad. I also have found "Luna Bars" which are geared more towards women and don't have quite as many calories as the Clif bars. Both taste ok (and by ok I mean they have enough flavor to not taste so much like a bar of chewy dirt) with a glass of skim milk, and they usually keep me full until well past my lunchtime (because I'm a baby and my lunch is at 10:45 a.m.). I have to switch it up with the bars for breakfast though. For lunch, lately I have been switching between a turkey sandwich (wheat rounds--if you haven't tried them, you should, they are yummy and only 100 calories--spinach, turkey, spicy mustard, and sometimes a slice of cheese) and then soup (I get the "Soup in hand" in either Tomato or Chicken Noodle) with wheat thins and a laughing cow cream cheese wedge. Both meals fill me up and I'm usually not starving by the time I get home or head to the gym. If I do get hungry, I grab a protein bar or pack some apple slices and peanut butter to hold me over until dinner. I have also found a few energy drinks that are pretty tasty. I have never been a fan of energy drinks, but most of the "zero calorie" drinks by Monster Energy are pretty tasty and worth the couple of bucks if you are in need a little pick-me-up in the morning or before a workout.
The White Chocolate Macadamia Nut is my favorite Clif bar.
These are sooo good. Only 45 calories and goes well with my soup/cracker combo below.
Yeah there are exactly 7 triscuits in there! I know my calorie and serving size for triscuits!
These are good, must have milk with it though.
Same with these.
Now dinner is a whole other story and sometimes catastrophe. Three out of five nights during the week a family member either brings home take out (how do I pass up Johnny Carino's??) or Granny sends over a meal like chicken and rice (and no it's not healthy, it's super effing delicious and I know better). Here is where that whole hate thing comes in. I KNOW I don't have to eat the unhealthy food that is on the counter. I KNOW I have healthy options in my fridge and pantry. But IFG is a baby and gets all emotional thinking how unfair it would be for the rest of my family to sit around scarfing down pasta and bread while I nibble on a salad. This is when ISG needs to slap the shit out of IFG and remind her that if that bad food wasn't on the counter, I would have no problem eating a salad and being content with that for dinner. And also remind her that these rolls aren't going to go away with pasta and bread sticking to them! I probably sound like a lunatic to some of you right now, but if you've ever been fat, you know what I'm talking about.
So there it is. My love/hate relationship with food. I'm no dummy, I at least understand and acknowledge what I NEED to do. It's just doing it that is sometimes the problem. I'm stubborn, and I know it. I am doing much better though, and I'm noticing changes slowly but surely. That's always a good thing because it makes all the struggles I'm going through and the work I'm doing seem worthwhile. I hope if you're battling something similar that this has helped you. If you aren't, but have any advice for me, bring it! If I don't like it, I'll just laugh at you. If I do, I'll let you know how it works for me! I just got this ridiculous notion to start singing, "We're all in this together" from one of those teeny bopper movies, High School Musical maybe? Anyway, we are, so have fun singing that shit the rest of the evening!