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,