Do We Give Food Too Much Power?

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I posted this on my Facebook page earlier this morning.  I wanted to put it out there because for YEARS I would have done some combination of A, B & C.

A couple of my coworkers were joking with me just last weekend that I must have some kind of hidden secret because there was no way I could “eat whatever I want” and look like I do. I told them there was no secret and that’s actually what I did.  I ate what I wanted within reason – though I’ll be the first to admit last night was a litttttle overboard 😉 – and I maintain my weight, clothes size, strength, etc.  After thinking about it though, I guess I do have a secret…

I give food absolutely zero lasting power over my thoughts whatsoever. Zero.

When I published that post this morning I wasn’t expecting as many comments, text messages or emails as I got.  It was kind of just a thought I had and figured it might resonate with a few people.  For some they might have been in the same shoes as I had been for so long, some might be there right now and some might just be impressed with the amount of food I put away (thank you very much!) so I ‘m going to share my secret to eating what I want and maintaining my physique.

We like to prove ourselves right, don’t we?  No one likes to be wrong.  So if we’re constantly telling ourselves that we’re failures, we can never get it right and it’s not worth the effort because we’re just going to blow it, well that’s exactly what we’re going to do.  When we tell ourselves things like that, we bring upon the actions to make ourselves right.  Here’s an example and something I am 100% sure I would have done a few years ago:

I eat the pizza, dessert & drink the wine.  I turn into a Negative Nancy and tell myself how bad I am, what a failure I am, how can I be telling people to eat healthy, or even eat moderately, if I can’t even do it myself?  I’m a failure, I’m a fraud and I suck.

Where does that thought process get me? Most likely…right to my cabinet where the new box of mint Oreos I just bought are.  They’d be gone by tonight.  Then I’d be right, wouldn’t I? I wouldn’t be eating moderately (still) and I’d be berating myself for eating a pizza, having some dessert and drinking some wine. Food is then not something we enjoy, but a punishment.  I wouldn’t be eating the Oreos because I love them, I’d be eating them to spite myself. But this is what happens, guys, when we make ourselves a victim and talk to ourselves like we’re a failure. We prove ourselves right and get stuck in the binge-restrict cycle. Given the feedback I got from lots of people on my post today, I’m thinking a lot of people know exactly what I’m talking about here!

So instead of the above, this is what I actually did:

I ate the pizza, dessert & drank the wine. I went to bed, woke up, put up that post, took a spin class and went on with my day as normal.  As of the time I post this blog I’ll have had my Z-bar, coffee, mango greek yogurt, string cheese, trail mix, chicken & asparagus and 3 mint Oreos.  No restriction, no trying to undo what I did yesterday, just going on with my life.

Because pizza, dessert and wine have no business making me feel anything but satisfied. And I was satisfied.  I wasn’t overly full, I didn’t feel physically or mentally awful, I was satisfied…and I was happy about that.   

The only way what you eat has power over you is if you give it power (power= obsessive thoughts, restriction).  As soon as we tell ourselves we can’t have a certain food, that food becomes the only food we want.  It’s human nature. It’s also human nature to still have those thoughts sometimes.  I’m certainly not free from feelings like “oh my gosh I can’t believe I just ate that!” but that’s where it ends.

Sometimes I eat things that are less than ideal.  Sometimes I eat things that aren’t exactly “physique friendly,” but it’s all a balance.  I don’t go down the rabbit hole of obsession and kicking myself in the butt for overeating.  I just move on. 

Today, my diet isn’t loaded with junk food, but I do give myself a lot of freedom. I eat chocolate and candy without guilt, have a glass of wine or two a couple nights a week, go out on weekends and eat pizza. I’m not looking for next meal plan I should follow or the next exercise trend to try. I feel strong during my workouts, I eat what I want, when I want it and I don’t give it a second thought.  I have never looked or felt better in my body than I do now because I am free of the restrictions and binges and I’m pretty nice to myself the majority of the time.

The reason I share this story is because I know a lot of women suffer from the same things I did.  The obsession, restriction, over exercising, trying the newest diets and the latest hardcore fat shedding fitness trends, and I want to help them stop the madness!  If we can learn to listen to our bodies and shut out all the noise, that’s where the magic is.  We all know what to do.  Our body tells us every day exactly what it wants.  Sometimes it wants pizza, sometimes it wants spinach.  The best thing is, we can have it all if we just learn to shut off the obsessive thoughts and give our attention to things that actually matter.   It can be a long process and it’s not easy, but it’s worth the journey. There’s too much living to do and worrying about food is an incredible waste of time. 

 

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