Good Morning and here we are facing another week. Ah well, time seems to be zooming by faster than I am comfortable, so I know another weekend will be here before we know it. Plus since last week was craptastically-crazy with work, this one was a bit calmer
On Mondays I typically enjoy recapping how I spent my Saturday and Sunday but honestly, there is not much to report! No complaints or anything, but just a rather average, yet pleasurable weekend.
Although one activity that was quite enjoyable was prepping candy bags for my residents in honor of Halloween! Last week I utilized my RA budget and went shopping at Target for all things Halloween, well food related that is My Co-RA and I are planning to deliver these personally to each resident this coming week… as Halloween is just around the corner!
I basically bought whatever kinds were my personal favorite, but I believe I represented the varying taste buds of most people- Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, Butter Finger, Reeses PB Cups for the chocolate lovers and Skittles, Swedish Fish, and CANDY CORN for those that might prefer those choices. Everyone gets a mix of kinds though, so hopefully they will be pleased by something!
The only bad thing about this candy adventure is that it’s been sitting in my room for the past week or so…. Tempting me at every turn, calling my name in this small, gentle voice that just sounds so enticing- “eat the candy, you know you want to…!” You are right candy, I do! However, I am still working on that whole moderation thing so I was reluctant to open up even one bag just to “sneak a few pieces” as I feared I would binge on its entire contents.
How curious that the candy corn is open...
Obviously these semi-hysteric tendencies I feel are a direct result of depriving myself of food I truly crave, as I discussed on my binging post. So to put myself to the test (and because I really freakin wanted some) I opened the bag of candy corn (whoops and a few others), specifically the autumn mix (yes with the glorious pumpkins!) and had a few pieces.
Not going to lie though, at first I felt myself wanting to shove pieces down my throat as fast as possible, to get that glorious, sugary, sweet taste I was craving so badly. And yeah, a few handfuls later, the candy corn had lost some its former delicious appeal, subsequently leading to the inevitable guilty feeling of losing control in a situation such as this. I managed to pull myself out before the entire VALUE bag disappeared and I would be left feeling sick and disgusted with myself.
The next time I had a craving for the candy corn (about an hour later), I calmed myself down, picked up a single piece, put it into my mouth and started to chew… slowly. I was making a genuine effort to truly taste the processed deliciousness I was consuming, rationally understanding that when I take the time to really enjoy and savor what I am eating, it is a much more rewarding process…oh and binging like a hysterical person is much less likely to occur!
Too often I sit down for a meal or treat and end up wolfing it down incredibly fast just to make it go away… so it’s out of my sight. Do you think I actually taste anything when I am scarfing it down? Uh no. What is the point of eating then if I am unwilling to even let myself explore the flavors, textures, aromas, and feeling that the food gives me?
Now if you have been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I talked about this in a What I Ate Wednesday post a few months back, “Tasting Foods Edition.” That particular theme had to do with the ever-present process of teaching myself to eat intuitively once again, as my years of disordered eating have completely skewed my views of food and how to even approach it when it comes to meals.
Intuitive Eating is a self-help book that I picked up as a recommendation to help me on this arduous journey.
**I am not being paid to review Intuitive Eating or anything. I am just sharing my personal experiences with changing my habits
The primary goal of intuitive eating is to change your relationship with food, exercise and your body. For the intuitive eating process to be effective, it is believed that one must focus on learning to listen to their body instead of trying to change their physical selves. I realized the aim of the authors is to once again, develop a healthy relationship with food and to stop obsessing about it. Yes, one symptom of this is weight gain (a subject the book focuses on), but another is weight loss and I fit nicely into the latter category.
Instead of focusing on another principle of Intuitive Eating, I am going to update you on past aspects I have discussed and how I have made conscious changes with these principles in mind. I realize it has been quite some time since an intuitive eating post, but it is important for me to shed some light on this area again.
The whole candy corn scenario is an all too familiar one. Although I improved significantly in this area, I can still do better. Restriction is an on-going battle that I face on a daily basis but I tend to “crack” more these days, sometimes leading to a terrifying feeling of a lack of control. When these incidences occur, I have to make a tremendous mental effort to calm myself down and acknowledge what I am actually doing. It is also important to remind myself in these situations that food tastes so much better when it is savored, rather than swallowed in great gulps.
This one I still a work in progress of course, but persevering in mini battles each day, indicates clear evidence that you are improving. That minor victory I had with the candy corn, where I actually realized what I was doing and calmed the heck down, was just another lesson to learn from. I will be more prepared when the frenzy feeling of needing to eat something asap comes around, which I am fully aware it will.
This leads me to the next Intuitive Eating Principle I have discussed (and ties quite nicely to what I just talked about), Make Peace With Food.
Call a truce; stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often, binging.
I mean…duh. This is clearly what I was doing with the candy (and so many other foods) and subsequent desires are a result. Legalizing food is the critical step in changing my viewpoints with all of this.
The idea is that it will free me to respond to inner hunger signals that have been smothered by negative thoughts and guilt feelings about eating.
When you constantly avoid what you want, you will never be satisfied with what you eat. There have been countless times where for example instead of actually sitting down to a prepared dinner and enjoying the plate of eats, I fear this process and instead consume things around my room that I consider “safe.” Sure I feel full after something like this, but I am not truly satisfied, oh and I still want what I had planned on for dinner! I realize this makes zero sense by the way…
So how am I doing with this? Much better. My obsession around what time it is and if it’s “okay” to eat have improved which have a lot to do with this as well. If I know I am having something in particular for dinner, I will NOT snack my way to the meal because of my anxiety, but actually wait around and do my best to savor what is placed in front of me.
I am giving myself “unconditional permission” to eat. I have done my best to enjoy foods that I am genuinely afraid to put into my mouth- aka pretty much anything with butter, sugar, unhealthy fats… sooo anything that is actually good! Ha. But I have overcome obstacles in this area such as tasting what I bake every.single.time now, eating foods that are not completely “clean,” and so on. Yes these occasions occur rarely, but they do happen and as continue to put myself of my comfort zone, these doom foods will no longer seem like such a threat.
No matter what it’s contents are or if it’s a time of day where I “shouldn’t” eat, I am attempting to convince myself that there is no such thing as this and that I do in fact deserve to enjoy things once in a while for goodness sake.
And finally, the last Intuitive Eating Principle I have acknowledged and tackled, “Honoring Your Hunger.” In these last few years, I have become unfamiliar with how to really gauge my hunger levels, when to stop when I am satisfied or full, fearing the pangs of hunger and yet continuing to deprive myself of proper amounts of food…. Another aspect of this principle that I paid close attention to was the idea that hunger is terrifying. That’s exactly what it is for me. I “love” how ironic this whole thing is… I am petrified of being hungry yet don’t eat when I am feeling those familiar pangs… uhh interesting.
I have made vast improvements with this principle as well. Instead of absolutely flipping out at the first feeling of hunger, I try my best to rationalize the situation and logically understand what I am experiencing. Hunger, a normal part of our every day lives that signifies that food should probably be delivered to the body in the near future. Being hungry is NOT equal to doom and gloom, the end of the world, the worst thing ever… not at all. I have been unable to tolerate this all-too-familiar feeling for so many years now because I was in a constant state of deprivation.
Personally, the most difficult times for me when it comes to that ever-present “need” to eat, is when I am sitting down to study, write a paper, or do other homework. These are the moments when I am incredibly vulnerable to dwelling on food and what I want to eat, rather than the work I should be doing. As a matter of fact even as I write this, I cannot help but ponder the next snack I am going to have, how long I can “resist” it, and what it could potentially do to my body. I have tested myself in these situations by actually eating something, enjoying it and moving on to finish whatever the assignment is. You know the crazy part? That tends to work- I am hungry, I eat, I am no longer hungry. Done and Done.
If only it were that simple.
Food is constantly on my mind and it’s pretty darn annoying. But as I continue to properly feed myself with correct amounts of nutrients and calories, the hunger feelings are still there, as is the “need to eat”, as they should be, but it’s much less of an intense, crazy, overwhelming feeling. It is ones I can tolerate much better, especially when I realize that my next meal or snack is not too far off, or even more exciting, if I am hungry at this very moment then it is A-OKAY to have something! And it should not matter what time it is, whether I “should” or not, and so on.
I mean how awesome (for lack of a better term) would it be to think about something other than when the next meal is, what is going to be in it, how much I weigh, how much I exercised that day, what I am “allowed” to eat, food food food! It would be spectacular, as I am pretty sure I would be able to accomplish so much else with my life.
So wow, uber long post for a Monday morning, but really what got me thinking about it was the near-binge episode with the damn candy corn. I am determined to continue working on my relationship with food and my body and trusting that with my dedication, the hard work will be payed off. And not going to lie, being able to eat whatever, whenever and trusting my body to tell me what it needs, would…. be glorious, spectacular, and life-changing. (insert other adjectives here.)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this…
1) Have you tried eating intuitively? If so, how successful have you been with it?
2) What parts/areas would you like to get better in? For me, listening when I am really truly hungry is still in the “needs improvement” grade.
3) Do you sometimes feel that you do not deserve to eat something in particular? Are there certain times you experience these feelings? For me, it’s when I am stressed, I am quite good at bringing myself down even further.
4) Overall, how was your weekend? Tell me some high points any races?
Have a great Monday everyone, thank you for taking the time to read this.