Part of the reason for this blog is to learn and to explore, to go deeper, and to try to figure out how I got to where I am today. So, today, I want to talk about why we form the eating habits that we have. I think that understanding why we overeat or choose unhealthy food will help us to make wiser choices in the future.
Grief: A few years ago, we found out my sister, Tracy, had breast cancer. During her time of treatment and hospitalizations, and then after she went to heaven, I found myself eating a lot of comfort food: spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken, Mexican food, all-you-can-eat buffets, poboys, french fries, fried shrimp – and that’s not even counting the desserts – like the ice cream I’d stop to buy on the way home to eat for dinner. I found this food oddly comforting while I was handling the stress of watching my sister suffer and then grieving her loss.
Boredom: I worked in an office that had three snack jars filled with different snacks every day. Out of boredom, I would get up and walk away from my desk and walk straight to the kitchen to munch on Chex Mix, chocolate candy, pita chips, cookies, cheese puffs, cheez-its and whatever else they put in there. It’s amazing the things we tell ourselves. I actually convinced myself that Chex Mix is cereal.
Fun: I am blessed with a lot of friends, and I love visiting with them over meals. We also attend a lot of events – BBQs, fundraisers, church & business meetings – and most of them involve food. I used to be active in Christian Motorcyclists Assn., and we would go on a lot of long rides, and they always seemed to involve eating. One day when we were trying to think of a slogan for our chapter, one guy suggested it should be “No Buffet Too Far.”
Our Thinking Processes: Yesterday, when I was so hungry because I accidentally skipped lunch, my old self would have been thrilled to go to Tastee Donuts to get a Kastle burger and fries. I would have felt justified eating them because I hadn’t eaten all day. In fact, I’d have even found a way to pat myself on the back for skipping a meal, and therefore, I deserved the treat of the Kastle burger. I’ve found that I’ve been thinking this way for years. I starve myself between meals, and this gives me a perfect excuse to eat whatever I want for dinner, and then I overeat. And I convince myself that it’s ok because I skipped a meal.
I love to cook and I love to eat. Nuff said.
Ok, so those are some reasons why I think I overeat. Do you identify with any of these reasons? Can you think of some more? Knowing these things, how can I do things differently going forward?
Grief: I think that to eat less during these times, we must share our feelings more. Cry, get mad, talk to friends, vent, exercise. We need to do things to get the feelings out so we don’t try to stuff them down with food. We will eat out more often during these times, and people will bring us food, but we just have to exercise it off or make healthy choices.
Boredom: We all need to walk away from our desks from time to time. Instead of going to the kitchen or the snack kiosk, go for a walk around the block. You’ll feel much better!
Fun: Don’t stop having fun! Even enjoy the occasional splurge. But splurge when you want it, not just because it’s there. If we find ourselves attending a lot of events, we just have to choose healthy options and sometimes forego the high fat choices. For instance, at a BBQ, eat the meat, but not the bread and desserts. At all-you-can-eat buffets, eat sushi and salad. You’ll thank yourself later.
More dos and don’ts:
Don’t allow yourself to get hungry. If you are starving, you will make bad choices.
Don’t watch TV or read while you’re eating. If you aren’t aware you are eating, you will keep on eating even after you’re full and you won’t have enjoyed your food as much.
Don’t become a hermit. Just because you are eating healthy, don’t stop going out, even if food will be there. It will take a lot of willpower, but exercising our willpower is a good thing. If we avoid going out while dieting, we will not know how to handle the temptations when we resume going out after our diet is “over.” Instead, keep your life and practice eating wisely while living it.
Do eat small snacks (healthy ones) between meals. My friend Sue told me that she keeps a container of cashews in her car, so if she gets too hungry, she can eat a few nuts to tide her over.
Do be an encouragement to others. Instead of relying on your friends and family to support you, be a good example for them. A friend told me today that because she’s been reading my blog, her pants buttoned a little easier today. Hearing that was a nice bonus.
Do make it fun. Be creative with your meals and make them look appealing and colorful. Enjoy every bite.
Can you think of some other dos and don’ts?
VEGGIE FETA SPINACH WRAP
Simple and delicious!1 wheat tortilla 1 hard boiled egg Feta cheese Spinach Fat Free Ranch Dressing
Just mix it all together and wrap it up!