All powerful, uplifting statements, but lately, I’ve become the sarcastic and jaded party-goer that makes everyone feel like they’d rather go home and change their cat’s litterbox than stay one more minute.
I thought I had really come a long way from the “eat everything on my big plate” phase in life, but my pants are starting to say something different.
Today, on our way to work, I looked down at myself and said something I would never dream of thinking let alone saying to my best friend.
Was I loving myself? No.
Was I doing more harm with the negativity than any rogue eating? Yes.
A little over a year ago found me opening my eyes to calories and their role in weight management. A bit slow, I know, but I’ve always been more conscious of fat in foods, and paid little attention to portion sizes and calories.
During my health-start journey, I began logging all of my calories down to the very last crumb. Everything was meticulously written down and if I had “run out” of calories for that day, I would stop. This opened up a few positive doors:
- It helped me realize the reality of a serving size (and it wasn’t half my plate plus seconds).
- It gave me control over my health and weight. I didn’t feel like I had to eat everything served to me.
- It made me aware of a whole spectrum of nutritional information, and it helped me to better regulate my protein intake (a good thing seeing as how I’m a vegetarian).
While all of these things are definitely positive, they were becoming obsessive. I began restricting calories, saw food as a number rather than as an entity, and I was beginning to feel like the only way to stay in control was to beat myself up for slips and dips that naturally came and went.
In other words: bad news bears.
So, when I went on vacation back in May, I decided to not count my calories and to just play it by, well, stomach. I knew I was going to gain weight, but it was really an experiment in possibilities. Could I really do it without feeling horribly guilty? Would I still count the calories in my mind? What would happen with my weight? Would I go crazy thinking about it?
I did gain weight from the vacation, but it was easily lost once I got back into the swing of things. I did count calories in my mind, but it was a more general than precise – this opened up a new enjoyment for food. I didn’t go crazy, but I have found that it’s far easier to blame myself over any weight gain. In the end, I was a bit worried that I was letting myself enjoy the new freedom a bit too much.
I wondered whether I should go back to counting, but I loved how more intuitive my eating had become. I loved being able to indulge without obsessing over the 10 extra calories. I loved being more aware of my choices but not led through the nose by them.
So instead, I’m trying a “new” approach: I have a brain, so I’m going to use it – not let it use me for its own gratifications.
Just like every Jack and Jill out there, I can be an emotional eater. I’m also a celebratory eater and while I still believe that food can act as an important medium within social bonds, I don’t want to treat myself like a good dog. I’m a smart gal with a brain that should be better at regulating itself. It just needs a bit of training.
Training is now in progress, folks! Let’s see if this old dog can learn new tricks. 😉