It’s Not The What…It’s The How
In the last month since I’ve decided to screw the scale and calorie-counting, I’ve learned a lot about my relationship with food. Mainly that it wasn’t/isn’t what I’m eating that is my greatest health hurdle…it’s how I’m eating it.
It’s not my love of chicken tenders, or baking. It’s not Krispy Kreme donuts or potato chips. I never feel guilty when I use a pizza delivery app when I don’t want to cook dinner. None of the unhealthy things that I love are what has given me nutritional concerns. It’s my relationship with food in general.
I’ve always said that I don’t keep junk around the house, but when I have a binge night? I’ll eat 3 bowls of granola. Or 4 peanut-butter sandwiches. In the big picture of health, what do you think is worse: A girl who binge-eats 4 peanut-butter bagels before bed, or the girl who has a decadent dessert with dinner one or two nights a week? The bagel girl, because she has an unhealthy relationship with food. I AM THE BAGEL GIRL.
In the last month I’ve just eaten smart, but I’ve not deprived myself as long as I was still being smart. I was in Chattanooga last week and spent four days eating all of the yummy and interesting foods I wanted to try. We went to my favorite restaurant (Big River Brewery) and Donnie and I split the meatloaf and the fish-n-chips. Two of the richest things on the menu. We went out later for beer and banana pudding pie. We ate real and all natural hot dogs (SO GOOD). We drank fun sodas (APPLE PIE SODA!) and ate at a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlor. And you know the biggest sign that my relationship with food has changed?
I didn’t feel guilty about ONE bite.
Okay. Maybe I felt guilty about “accidentally” ordering Wes the wrong ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s and then eating it. But other than that? NO GUILT.
Here’s there thing: I LOVE FOOD. And I’ve decide that is OKAY. I just have to be smart. We only eat out about once a week here and we eat smart at home. Traveling to a new city where we walked several miles every day doing touristy stuff? I wasn’t going to then deprive myself of the chance to do the thing I love: EAT and DRINK and BE MERRY. I never binged. I never even ate when I wasn’t hungry. (Two things I’m VERY guilty of doing often.) I just enjoyed the mealtimes in a new city with yummy chances to try interesting foods.
And I came home and started expanding my Whole Food nutritional regiment. And this week I’ve eaten really smart. I’ve fueled my body excellently for my distance running and boot camp regiments, I’ve gotten good sleep, I’ve only had one beer and NO binging or eating out of stress/boredom. That 4 days of loving food in Chattanooga? Did me NO HARM whatsoever on the scale of Kim’s Healthy Living.
EVERYTHING Tastes Better Than Skinny Feels – Because FOOD IS AWESOME.
This is what I’ve decided during my new approach…that food shaming sucks. My healthy/fitness/diet problems have never EVER been about what I’m eating. Why does everyone blame the food? Because for ME? That’s NEVER been the problem. Maybe it’s JUST me, but I doubt it.
You know my least favorite “motivational” saying out there for people trying to lose weight? “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” There’s a more tolerable variation, “Nothing tastes as good as being fit feels.” But you know? I don’t like either of them. Why? BECAUSE FOOD IS AMAZING. Maybe for people who have a healthy relationship with food, but make the wrong choices? Maybe that saying is okay for THOSE people…but for me? It doesn’t work.
For me? It’s always been more about how I’m eating it the food: To make me happy when I’m sad/stressed/tired/bored. I’ll buy a box of diet snacks and eat them all in one sitting because I have nothing better to do. I’ll eat leftovers (of a healthy dinner!) at 9pm just because I’m anxious. I’ll eat a bowl of (healthy!) cereal because I’m down. So, in my world? That saying doesn’t do shit for me. Everything tastes better than skinny feels. Because, in that moment, I just want to BE EATING ALL OF THE FOODS to cure my anxiety/stress/exhaustion/boredom.
Food is NOT the evil thing for some of us. It’s the role food is filling in our lives.
No More Food Shaming For Me
I’m not going feel guilty when periodically I make a decadent dessert for family dinner. I’m going to keep enjoying my favourite french fries at my favourite local restaurant! We keep finding new and exiting restaurants to try out with the Dandy Kat website! I’m not going to drink lite beer. I’m not going to buy sugar-free jelly. I’m just going to keep doing what suddenly feels like the smartest decision I’ve ever made: JUST EATING SMART. Do I bake the decadent desserts on a Tuesday night? No. But I’m baking two cakes for Sunday Family Dinner because I want to try them and can’t decide which one to bake! And you know what? THAT’S OKAY. I’ve already run 17 miles this week…why would I work that hard and then only eat almonds and fruit? I love food too much to live like that. If I can teach myself not to binge because I’m stressed then the periodic piece of cake does me no harm whatsoever because I’m eating smart the rest of the meals.
I’ve Been Her Before. I Like Me Now Better.
Those cakes will both taste better than skinny feels because skinny feels really shitty if you’re constantly feeling guilty and depriving yourself of good foods. I’ve been skinny in that mindset before, and as Sarah and I discussed recently: Cheesecake tastes better. I never allowed myself to have anything good. I also never exercised. Yes. I weight 108 pounds. But was she happier and healthier than me now? NO. Because she didn’t get to try chocolate covered bacon!
I think food shaming way back when I was trying to get skinny for my wedding is honestly the start of my unhealthy relationship with food. I deprived myself to wear that tiny dress, to be small for my dream day, and then years later I’m binging when I’m sad because I made food something I COULDN’T HAVE so therefore HAVING IT MUST MAKE ME HAPPY. Which – you know – is a really unhealthy outlook on food.
I remember on our Familymoon (after my wedding where I weighed the 108 pounds) I felt guilty that I kept trying key lime pie everywhere. Key Lime Pie is my favorite…and I was on my honeymoon! Why did I feel so guilty? But today. Almost 10 years later I still remember that feeling. I didn’t even enjoy it because I felt SO SHITTY eating it. But yesterday, when Hank Green tweeted about Key Lime Pie on a STICK? I thought: GET IN MAH BELLY. And I promise, when/if I ever find a place to enjoy something that wonderful? I’m not going to feel bad about it. Skinny or not.
I know this should not be relevant but I do want to show that this new mindset has helped on the scale too. In one month I’m down 4 pounds. The easiest 4 pounds I ever lost.