Friday, June 25, 2010

Social Eating: how to manage your eating at buffet-style dinner party

Despite my outgoing nature, I actually have a bit if social anxiety at events where I don’t know nearly everyone. And because I have a bit of that anxiety, I usually make sure I eat myself into comfort. Tonight I had a huge accomplishment and didn’t fully realize it until after it was over.

Tonight I was invited to a dinner party where I didn’t expect to know many people. Turns out I did know a handful of folks, which was nice, but the point is, I didn’t want go to the party and overeat, as I'm apt to do. I’ve been eating pretty lightly and trying to eat only when I am hungry and I wanted to stick to that. I tend to grossly over indulge at buffets and community eating situations.

So today I had a snack about an hour or so before leaving for the party. My contribution to the party was a caprese salad which is super yummy and healthy. And off I went.

I started by not drinking. Mainly because I drank too much last weekend and it’s still too soon for me to have another after that bender. But it helped because oftentimes, with the social lubricant of alcohol, it’s easy to not be mindful of what goes in one’s mouth. ANYway, I stuck with water and ended up visiting with people away from the dining area where the food was laid out. I made note of when I saw people starting to spoon up appetizers, but I was enjoying my conversation and saw no reason to interrupt that in order to spoon up just yet. At one point someone passed around some bruschetta, of which I had a slice, and I noticed, just then, that I was watching him, wondering if he would make it to where I was sitting. Which he did, but I made a note to only be present with my conversation and not worry about anyone else or what was going in their mouths.

When I decided I was ready, I helped myself to one piece of my Caprese, a piece of another Caprese and a small hunk of cheese. I savored each bite and was perfectly happy. I had small spoonfuls of what they served for dinner and enjoyed each of those bites as well and didn’t go back for seconds as I was no longer hungry. When I finished, I threw away my plate so I would not be tempted to go back for more food for the simply sake of going back for more.

And as I left, I thought “wow, I did really well at that!” I practiced what all the experts say to do at things like this… don’t go to the event hungry, start with small servings, stay away from the food table when socializing and be mindful and enjoy your food. I feel VERY happy! And now, an hour later, I’m going to indulge in a single serving skinny cow ice cream cup. GO ME!!

What do YOU do to get through parties/ social events to enjoy the food and the people without stuffing yourself full?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good food under emotional diress

This isn't one of the things I was going to talk about, but I do suppose it's relevant now. Things in my life have changed since my last post. My relationship of 6-9 months (depending on how you look at it) has ended. Things are still up in the air in regards to possible reconciliation, but at this time, we are not really in touch until our next talk date which is Friday. But that's a side note.

The point is... I'm sad. You know... like break up sad. I cry all the time, I reach for him in bed, I pout when I drink my morning coffee alone, and all songs, no matter what they are about, break my heart. A few hours after Special K left my house on Sunday, I went out with my best girl and had 12, count them TWELVE chicken wings. They were gooey, hot and fatty goodness. Except, when I think back on it, I really only enjoyed the first three. The others, I just shoveled in and didn't really notice. Wow, what a thing to realize.

So even though my eyes are leaking and I'm totally confused and sad, I have continued to eat my salad every day along with my rice, beans, fruit and seeds, and to do my work outs... No matter what. And honestly, having gone through breakups before, I feel way different. I feel like... I'm sad... but not broken. I'm crying but I'm not poisoning my body with loads of empty calories and fat. I'm still fueling and my energy is still maintained despite my emotion and that is... REALLY powerful stuff.

I can honestly say I have always taken advantage of going on an emotional eating bender. B/c fast food and ice cream comforts me. Right? Wrong. It makes me feel bloated and full and I don't even taste it. Now I am saving my fast food and ice cream moments for when I really want to enjoy it instead of using it to numb out. At least... for now. This is a huge, HUGE accomplishment and it goes to show you (ok, me) that mindless emotional eating doesn't have to occur at every emotional turn in one's life.

What a big revelation!! *as I sit here and munch on my salad* :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Results and detaching from the outcome

Do you think it's even remotely possible to do something for ourselves for the sake of doing it? Something that is good for our minds, our bodies and our hearts (both figuratively and literally?) without expecting more noticeable results?

A couple of months ago, when I started down this journey of healthy eating and exercise, I told myself it was energy related. And it was. I was tired every day, barely able to keep my eyes open in the afternoons and I'm a pretty high energy person naturally so I just was not feeling like myself. And if you don't feel like yourself, then who are you? I continued to have very low energy even after being treated for hypothyroidism and that's when I started the basic diet my naturopath gave me with the whole grains, beans, leafy greens, nuts/seeds and fruit. That DEFINITELY helped. And then I decided to kick up my workouts that I was doing at home (thank you, Biggest Loser DVDs and P.S. I love you, Bob Harper) and bought some personal training sessions at my gym and committed to doing whatever he told me work-out wise.

And now, I feel like a million bucks. My energy level has picked up and is consistent throughout the entire day. My body is fueled much more efficiently and my metabolism has got to be revved up a bit from the additional cardio and weight training I'm doing. So yay!! Goal achieved. Right?

One would hope. But I haven't lost any weight. I found out today I've lost 5 inches in 5 weeks (mostly in my lower body) and while that is not an achievement to scoff at, my scale holds steady and my clothes almost feel tighter. So what's a girl to do?

Well, I could sit here and feel sorry for myself and binge on ice cream (which, trust me, sounds like a mighty fine option). Or I can stand up straight, pat myself on the back for my diligence and trust that whatever is meant to be, will be. If I am meant to weigh this weight, then I must learn to accept that the best I can. If I'm not, then I am learning some seriously awesome building blocks to make those changes happen; and they will happen, in their own time.

It's easy to become attached to an outcome/result and be disappointed when it's not what you want, especially when it comes to weight. It's harder to just trust and accept and do your best all the while. Today I'm going to put my energy into appreciating the body I have the best I know how, keep fighting the good fight and let the Universe do what it will with the rest.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Diets don't work

Dieting is all the rage and has been since well before my time. It is a katrillion dollar industry… selling based on our “trouble spots” or sense that something is wrong with us because we don’t look like the women we see in magazines. Well, you’ve heard all that before, so why be redundant, but you know… it can really get ya down!

I have tried it all. My mother put me on a 600 calorie a day diet when I was 11, determined to make me fit into the doctor’s ideas of what an appropriate weight is. (more on this later, as I’ll NEVER fit into that range). I was a normal girl and more chubby than fat, but here I was eating turkey deli meat and dill pickles and yogurt all day to starve myself to make my mother proud. And thus it started.

Since then I have done the zone, the grapefruit diet (I hate grapefruit!), Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, LA Weight loss (for 1 whole day before I asked for a refund), herbal diet pills, Dexatrime, Xenadrine (only stopping when I went on a hike in college and started having heart palpitations). I’ve done Body for Life, more and more and more Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. I’ve done fasting and cleanses and macro vegan. The only thing I haven’t done is low carb/high protein because that just never made sense to me. But you get my point. I’ve been there and done that. It’s exhausting. And expensive. I bet if I had all the money I ever spent on diets and slim fast shakes and protein bars and frozen boxed diet food, I’d probably be rich.

So finally, at 31, I’ve realized something. A light bulb has gone off. Diets don’t work. There is no miracle cure for being fat. But there is the math. And it seems so very very simple. Ingest fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. Take in 3500 calories less than you expend and you have just lost one pound.

But counting calories is tedious. And diets don’t work because we feel deprived or because they are bad for your body long term (or straight out gimmicks). So how does one manage their calories without having to be obsessively thinking about it but still get some of the foods that make them happy from time to time?

Well, this is the age old question and I’m still figuring it out. For me, lately, I’ve done my best to eat really healthy whole foods with less processed ones, less sugar and less hydrogenated oils. I try to eat what’s been recommended for me to eat every day by my naturopath. In case you’re wondering, that includes ¼ cup unroasted nuts or seeds (peanuts don’t count), 2 servings leafy greens (iceburg doesn’t count), 1 serving fruit (not banana), 1 serving whole grains (millet, steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar) and drink plenty of water. And I’m working out 5 days a week mixing cardio with weight training. I’m not losing weight drastically, but my body is changing and I feel great. I love my body for keeping up with me the best it can and I love myself for feeding it well. I have more energy and am better able to manage stress. As for the details, I suppose those will either sort themselves out or I’ll see how this goes and adjust accordingly. But as for the diets… I am boycotting. :-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day One

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Or so they say.

I have given the 'ole blog a face lift. Food, fitness and health are big issues for me. Always have been, and likely always will be. We have all "been there and done that" in some respects. I know I certainly have and I'm know I'm not alone. That many of you have these issues on your mind as well on any given day. This new space will be about my struggles and successes through the world of fitness, food and the constant quest to be healthy and love myself just as I am. I hope you will share your story with me in this venue as well as time goes on.

Buckle up, ladies and gents, it's going to be an awesome ride!