Saturday, November 30, 2013

“Perfect Eating:” There is No Such Thing

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I have not always had the best relationship with food. In fact, during a particular difficult period of my life I used food to “deal” with stressful situations, and it got me in a whole lot of trouble as I gained quite a bit of weight.

Back then, I ate too much food (not necessarily unhealthy food) every single day and also used “special occasions” to justify eating extra food. There were way too many special occasions that I came up with…

To lose the weight, I managed to let go of “stress eating” (through some real soul searching and finding true stress relievers such as long walks and yoga), and I also no longer justified eating extra food because it was a special occasion. I made special occasions all about people instead of food.

For a while, everything was “perfect.” I ate very healthy foods in the right amounts for the right reasons (to nourish my body and because I was hungry.)

However, at one point “real life” happened, and I overate. Not a lot. But still. I overate. At first, I panicked. I was terrified of going back to my unhealthy relationship with food. One bad meal could be the beginning of the end in my mind. And, honestly, it could if I let it get out of hand.

But eating too much on one occasion can be easily dealt with. It happens once in a while. It’s normal. And it surely doesn’t have to lead to weight gain.

On Thanksgiving I ate too much for dinner. Not an outrageous amount of extra food, but I definitely felt too full. However, I had also planned for a bigger dinner, walked a lot, and made good choices the next day.

I started Thanksgiving like I start most days (ever since I did the Conscious Cleanse in January) with 32 ounces of warm lemon water and a big green smoothie. A little later I had some Greek yogurt. Lunch was on the go and consisted of carrot and cucumber sticks with cashew “cheese” (soaked cashews ground in my mini food processor with lemon juice, garlic, spices, and water). A couple hours later I had some grapes.

Dinner started with a creamy mushroom soup (delicious but certainly not low calorie and quite substantial), which was followed by a salad. Honestly, I probably could have stopped eating right then and there and would have been perfectly satisfied. Instead, I ate some turkey, mashed potatoes, yams with maple syrup and pecans, and green beans. I had seconds of the yams and green beans. At that point, I was definitely more than full. But there was dessert, and I had the inside of a slice of pumpkin pie as well as a small piece of marzipan. Plus, I had 1.5 glasses of sparkling wine.

We decided to go for an after dinner walk, bringing my step total to over 16,000 for the day. I definitely felt a lot better after the walk. The rest of the evening I made sure to drink a lot of water.

Since we were out of town, I couldn’t start Friday with my usual lemon water and green smoothie ritual. Well, maybe I could have, but I didn’t plan for it. Instead, I drank a lot of water. Then I ate a banana and a bit later some leftover turkey slices.

I also did a strength/core/yoga workout, consisting of pushups, squats, kicks, planks, and a yoga flow. Then we walked some more.

Lunch was at a restaurant, and I got a salad with thin steak slices and a portobello mushroom. I made sure to hydrate with lots of water.

In the afternoon, the older kid asked for some “iced coffee,” and I decided to make some blended mocha with ice, milk, instant decaf coffee, unsweetened cacao, and stevia. Naturally, I had a glass, too…

For an early dinner, I had cucumber slices with cashew “cheese.” The rest of the evening I had lots of warm water with ginger slices, a new favorite.

I wouldn’t call either of the two days “perfect,” but the overall food intake over the two days was okay I think. I definitely didn’t eat enough greens, and I’ll make sure to fill up on them in the next few days. I also didn’t gain any weight, despite some indulging.

I think the lesson I learned many years ago is that you don’t have to eat “perfectly” every single meal, but in the end things have to balance themselves out. In other words, you’ll have to compensate for splurges. But beating yourself up over splurges certainly doesn’t work. Instead, I try to plan for extra food and usually eat a bit “cleaner” for a couple days following the splurge to compensate for calories as well as nutrients the splurge may have lacked. Overall, I try to do nothing drastic but get back to pretty much my normal eating with doable modifications. I also make sure to truly listen to my body and look at my soul food, a concept I learned by doing the Conscious Cleanse.

Finally, here are some photos from our Thanksgiving weekend. If you follow my on Instagram, you may have already seen some of them. I’m very thankful that I got to spend Thanksgiving with all my boys.

Questions: What strategies do you use when you eat “extra food?” If you are in the U.S. or celebrated Thanksgiving elsewhere, what was your favorite part of Thanksgiving? What are your thankful for today?
Be well,