Monday, June 13, 2011

Food Thoughts

On Saturday morning, hubby and I had the rare pleasure to go on a quick breakfast date. Due to where we were, we ended up in a hamburger place that also serves breakfast on the weekends. All the choices were very hearty. Not my normal breakfast picks. Here is what I got: 2 over-easy eggs, 2 pancakes (with tons of butter on one of them), and bacon.

I ended up eating one pancake with a little butter and a bit of syrup, one egg on half a slice of hubby’s toast as well as one slice of bacon. I also had a few bites of hubby’s omelet and hash browns.  I ate slowly and mindfully and stopped when I was full. It certainly wasn’t the healthiest breakfast out there, but I made it fit into the rest of my day, and I felt no guilt. Most importantly, I really enjoyed my one-on-one time with hubby!

About ten years ago, when I went through a very stressful period of my life, I gained a lot of weight. I used food to deal with life, and I also made everything about food. That is, when I went out to a restaurant, my entire focus was on the food, and I didn’t slow down enough to really enjoy it. I often left uncomfortably stuffed.

I also was very stressed at work, and to relieve my work stress, I often ate huge amounts of food at night. I was in a bad cycle of not eating a lot during the day, and then eating way too much at night.

Luckily, I never stopped exercising, and exercise is what ultimately got me back on track. I remembered that nothing relieves stress better than a brisk walk. While I was always active, I also realized that I had to step it up a bit more, and I got serious about lifting weights and doing high interval training.

To get back on track when it comes to food, I knew that I had to be better about eating throughout the day so that I wouldn’t walk in the door starving. I started by always eating breakfast and carrying healthy snacks and water at all times. Meal planning really helped me keep things simple, organized, and healthy.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, I learned to move on when I made a “bad” food choice. I realize that the next meal always provides the opportunity to make a different choice.

At different times, I would have approached the above breakfast very differently. At one time, I would have eaten it all very quickly, and I would have felt horribly stuffed afterwards and then would have beaten myself up for eating it. About a year ago, I would have probably refused to eat it at all as it was not “healthy enough.”

I like the place I am at when it comes to food and exercise. I’m by no means perfect. There are days when I eat too much or feel some guilt for a little while. But I don’t beat myself up over “bad” choices, and I eat overall healthy foods and allow for an occasional splurge, which I think is healthy.

Questions: Has your relationships with food ever changed? If so, how? What is the most important “food lesson” you have ever learned? As I said above, I think realizing that the next meal is an opportunity to make different choices has been huge for me.

Be well,


  1. A very smart attitude to adopt!

  2. I'm so proud of the healthy attitude you've adopted! You're perfectly right that enjoying food is all about balance - balance that we could apply to all part of our lives! It's difficult to separate our emotions from food, and I've definitely changed my eating (inadvertently or not) based on my emotional state. I feel like our relationships with food are constantly evolving, which means we don't have to be perfect! :)

    When Peter and I were in Chicago for a weeding a few weeks ago, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast similar to yours. It's wonderful to celebrate and enjoy life, isn't it? :)

  3. Boy, no kidding huh?

    I think we've lived a similar journey and isn't it way better to eat guilt free, enjoy it and be conscience of your meals as compared to the opposite??

    YAY and a fluffy pancake and bacon sounds so good...I am so craving salt right now!


  4. Thanks for sharing.
    I think I have come a long way with food and emotions. I try to be more mindful of food, especially when eating out.
    I do also try to prevent emotional eating which I used to struggle with a lot. If I am having a bad day, I try to remember that food is only a temporary fix.

  5. Such great food lessons! I feel i've come a long way in my relationship with food. I used to just really eat too much. I'd feel full and kind of miserable. THen i'd skip meals and wake up ravenous. I much prefer to eat more, smaller meals all day to keep my energy up. I've realized I just hate that too-full feeling and don't want food to make me feel that way. I want to feel satisfied, not glutenous!

  6. You choices and your life seem so balanced!!!! I admire you!! Have a great week Andrea.

  7. That does look like a hearty and delicious breakfast.

  8. I couldn't agree with you more on this post Andrea. My mind has shifted these last few months I've been on WW. No longer do I beat myself up if I have an extra piece of pizza - the old me would have thrown up my hands, and then eaten like shit, breakfast lunch and dinner for weeks before reeling it in.

    It must be working - I am down 16.2 pounds since March 1 - woot!

    Thanks for your honesty in this post! :D

  9. I love bacon! Great post and thank you for sharing the lessons you have learned. Been there and done that myself!

    I have learned that all or nothing thinking fuels yo-yo dieting. I now know that some day my food choices are going to be better than other days but that doesn't mean that if I have a less than stellar day of choices that I should throw in the towel. It means that the next meal needs to be a healthy one. I no longer strive to be 100% perfect with regard to my diet. That attitude just sets me up for failure.

  10. I have learned to appreciate and abide by the late-Julia Child's philosophy on food: "Enjoy everything, but in moderation.'' It's just what you described pretty much about your pancake breakfast. I think we all deserve to indulge, but we also need to show restraint. As much as I would love to eat pancakes and bacon every single day, I know it's more of a once-in-awhile treat. And it makes eating it more special and meaningful that way, too.

  11. I love that I am in the same spot, emotionally, mentally, and physically, as you are (according to this post). As you know, I used to have a very poor relationship with food. After my ED, I sort of became a nighttime binge eater, and like you I would eat little during the day, and a lot at night (I "fed my emotions"). I also felt guilty whenever I ate anything "Bad". It was awful. Now I can finally say I feel great about the food I eat, even if it's an indulgent food! Your breakfast sounds perfect, and good for you for listening toy our body and stopping when you were full. You didn't leave deprived...right?! Most people would assume if they didn't finish everything they would still be hungry!

  12. Great attitude Andrea...I love eating, therefore do not hold myself...I eat everything, in moderation. Have a great week :-)

  13. You have such a great attitude! I feel very similarly about food and I LOVE going out for breakfast especially with my hubby! Dream date!!! One of my struggles is still portion control. It's not an emotional thing I just LOVE to eat. It's not with just junk food...I enjoy everything from nuts to fruit to artichokes so much that I would like to be able to eat more than my body needs. I don't binge but it takes a conscious effort to not eat more calories than I need to maintain.

  14. I knew you had a bit of food issues in the past, but never really knew exactly what it was. Thanks for sharing, Andrea! I certainly have dealt with overeating issues as well. My goal is still to love food (I already do), but not to give too much priority or value to it. I'd rather love myself and my life more than I love food.

  15. I LOVE your phrasing about making it fit into your day.
    So true as any one meal or even entire day---is simply that.
    one to be enjoyed and then move on.

  16. Such a wise post here. I think you described emotional eating well in "making it all about food". My most important food lesson, good question I am such a fan of planning my food day, also thatI feel better eating good food.

  17. I love how you approach food today. I can learn a lot from you. And I'm going to think this one over. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Great post! I'm very comfortable with what I eat {meaning I enjoy a lot of healthy food so don't feel guilty when I indulge}, but sometimes I need to focus on the mindfulness issue, which can be a bit of a challenge with kids/work/life/etc {I know you know what I mean!} One of the most important food lessons I have probably learned is to allow yourself to eat whatever you want and when you want. By doing this I actually eat less, knowing that the food will always be there for me...No need to ever eat huge amounts of food!

  19. I agree. I don't get caught up on the "once in a whiles" - I focus on the 90%+ of the time that I spend making great choices for my body - food and exercise alike. It's all about balance, like you said :0)

  20. ANDREA!!!

    i just caught up on a bunch of posts, and it was so lovely to see you, the lil' punkin and reading all of your inspiring writings. lately, i have been in more of a "unhealthy" eating cycle, but i guess i have just learned that when there is a lot going on, i can't put too much pressure on myself to eat perfect. once work settles down (hopefully by next week!), i can jump right back on track.

    have a great night!!!

  21. My hubby will never change his eaeting habit. I am changing mine & so are my kids. We tried to eat light breakfast but heavy lunch and little at dinner. Due to the fact, warming up the belly in the morning and more calories intake at noon due to more works. And try to bring down the intake of calories before going to bed. Of coz, light exercise is needed. I love playing PS dancing game. It makes me sweat like no body business. And some floor workout before going to bed. But I still wish to cut down another 1-2kg. :o)
    Hoep you're having a grea day.

  22. Anonymous6/16/2011

    I feel exactly the same. I lie where I am in term of food. A good strategy was to move food away from the focus. I used to be obsessed about what to eat next and would plan what I would eat in the morning for the rest of the day. But now I don't even think about what I'd eat next. I think about food only when I'm hungry. And when eating out, usually with someone else, I'd focus on the conversation rather than food and it feels great that way and makes me connect better with my friends/family.

  23. Love this post and the way you deal with healthy eating in any situation. No matter what is on the plate, portion control is the #1 priority. If you overeat on even healthy foods, you will gain! Great thoughts.