May 24, 2011

balancing my food pyramid

I have an eating disorder and I'm slowly fixing myself. It's a very common eating disorder. In fact, over 190 million Americans have the same problem. I overeat. Not all the time but often enough that I'm at least ten pounds overweight and 25 pounds heavier than my goal weight. Luckily I don't have high cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure or diabetes at this point in my life but I could someday if I don't change my relationship with food.
I was reading an article the other day in Whole Living Magazine about the Self-Compassion Diet. It was an interesting article and I felt myself relating so much to the author's relationship with emotional eating. The main point that spoke to me was this. The body and my body are too different things. I want to eat the whole batch of chocolate chip cookies, not the body. Rather, this body of mine wants vegetables, grains, fruit, lots of water and daily exercise. So, why is it so hard for me to listen to the cravings my body is really asking for?

It's taking me a long time to figure out the answer to this question. To be honest I may have the answer but I haven't quite yet accepted it because I just love those chocolate chip cookies so much and I still get pleasure out of eating more than I should. Really I don't think I'll "get over" the love to gorge myself on things because I have an inner battle between my digestive system and my emotions. One is telling me, "You ate too much!" and the other is saying, "Just one more! It'll make you happy!".

The author tells the story of gaining weight and her success with losing weight. She then goes on to explain that she became obsessed with losing more and more pounds after she had reached her goal weight. I've personally never had a fetish for exercise or dieting but the lesson she learned in moderation is one that I need to learn myself. I know that my life will be unhealthy, physically and emotionally, if I continue to eat the way I have in the past and with the little exercise that I get. I also know that my life will be unhealthy, physically and emotionally, if I deprive myself of bread, hamburgers, ice cream, cookies and onion rings for the rest of my life. So, what it comes down to is deciding to fill 95% of what I put into my body to be food. Not too much. Mostly plants*. But aren't all those other treats, although unhealthy, food too? Yes, and that's why I can have 5% be a treat every once in a while. Not every day. And if I do have a treat then I need to eat it in moderation and make sure that it is does not have HFCS, PHO, artificial sweeteners or other weird chemicals. This is where the self-compassion part comes in. Listening to what the body wants and not my brain and allowing myself to eat food with no regret because I know my spirit made a good choice for my body.

"Certainly one must gain all the new information he can in matters dealing with the health and care of our bodies, but I believe the Lord expects us to use wisdom and common sense. The key words are balance and moderation - thoughtfully applying all the truths one knows, not just a big emphasis on one of them."
(from this wonderful talk)

*taken from Michael Pollan

14 comments:

  1. oh my Lizzie, I am 58 and still feel like you do. I love food and all that it offers. I am on the brink of high cholesterol well it is 112 and the doctor wants iot at 100 Geeeesh what happened to 200! I hear what you are saying I hope I am inspired. Thanks for the lesson. Donan in Massachusetts (next to Canton) WiNK

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  2. I have the same love/hate relationship with food. I LOVE ice cream, cookies, pizza and all that fattening good stuff too but I hate the way I feel after I eat it! I agree that moderation really is key though! That's been my main goal trying to get this darn baby weight off! Thanks for the inspiration. I'm going to be more conscious about what I eat today after reading this post! Can't waitto see you next week!!

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  3. I applaud you for writing this post because I know it'll apply to many people, me included. I find my major problem is a lack of willpower and that is something I need to work on but too often food wins out. I'm going to see if I can find the article you linked to because it may just do me some good. It's my 50th next year and I'd love to have lost some of the excess weight I'm carrying around with me every day! Thank you for sharing this :) xx

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  4. Me. Too. I think, in some ways, this is a very "American" problem. A Western problem, if you go with Mr. Pollan. While I would love to lose "just another 5 lbs," right now, I'm pretty happy where I am. BUT - I still fight daily with food. With NOURISHING food. With viewing food as my friend, as a tool to show my love for this one body I have, and not the enemy. I did a cleanse for about two weeks back in February (nothing wild and crazy - I ate actual food at lunch, soup for dinner, smoothies for breakfast), and it really turned my mind around. I still fight this, I will always. But I'm trying to put more good, whole stuff in my body and less processed, fake stuff in there. And I do feel a lot better and have less trouble with some recurring health issues I've always had. And my weight has just drifted down. And I'll have dessert if I want to. Just not the whole cake, LOL.

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  5. I think it's our plight as women to have an odd relationship with food. I think that some women are lucky and don't have an odd relationship with food -- but I am sure they are in the minority.

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  6. I am in the same boat. Just had a baby two months ago, so I have 20-30 lbs to lose, but I have vowed that I will never diet again. I want to finally straighten out my relationship with food instead. I am not going to eliminate any food from my life, but I am going to learn listen to my body - just like you said. Good luck to both of us! Now I'm going to go eat some veggies ;o)

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  7. Thanks for sharing! I over eat all of the time, too. Just like you said- too many cookies, etc. I love the quote you posted at the end!

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  8. Hi! My name is Karissa and I have lurked on your blog, enjoying what you write about life and your beautiful family.
    I too am in the same boat. Struggling daily to not overeat on things I really enjoy. It's hard when you love food.
    Thank you for posting this. It's just what I needed to read. Gives me a little extra push to keep on trying to reach that balance.

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  9. Have you ever heard of intuitive/mindful eating or the Am I Hungry book? It helped me alot with how I think about food. I used to overeat and think about what my next delicious meal would be. Somehow I have overcome that and I really liked what this book had to say. That is not to say that I don't occasionally overeat or indulge, but I feel way better about my relationship with food adn don't think about it all the time. Check out the website: http://amihungry.com/. Also, I love the Moms Into Fitness website for intense, toning workouts. http://www.momsintofitness.com/.The $5 montly downloads are great!

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  10. Prior to turnning 50, I was overweight (for about the past 8 years) and would overeat. I kicked into high gear about 4 months before that birthday, watching portions AND hitting the beach to walk several times per week (by that, I mean at least 5)...The weight has come off and I have added ROWING which is marvelous because it hits all areas in one workout, plus I've added some resistance training, too. I HATED exercise but now LOVE it because of how it makes me (empowered). Liz, it doesn't take much and by doing just a little to start, you might just love it, too. I love to cook and eat (but I'm not a sweet eater, luckily), and don't deny myself, but I am absolutely more conscientious.

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  11. I liked this. Well written. You were able to organize your thoughts well.

    I try to look at it as abusing food. Do I abuse the purpose of food? Like do I binge because I am bored? Food is for nutrition and energy and to maintain my health. If I remember to respect the food, I have an easier time not eating an entire Ritter bar at night.

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