The Joy Of Eating

I did it again to myself. No one to blame but me.

It was a morning I was running at 90 doing a million things before I left the house for the day. Now it was lunch, I was hungry and I pulled out my less than stellar salad I’d hurriedly tossed together.

Hungry, with food that would feed my hunger, but not necessarily bring me joy.

Ugh.

My favorite goof up was tossing salad in my container one night thinking I’d add protein to it in the morning along with a few more veggies.

Imagine my delight when lunch came and I had forgotten to add that and all I had was mostly dark leafy greens.

Go me.

It’s ok to feel good about eating

When I’m hungry, I shamelessly love my food. When my stomach is growling and let’s me know it’s time to eat I want to enjoy my meal.

In the diet obsessive,weight loss focused world we live in there is often an unspoken idea that really, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t enjoy eating, you should obsess or feel guilt, you should eat food that is unexciting because ya know, gotta lose weight.

You should feel deprived and a bit miserable in the process.

Listen, whether you’re working on weight loss or not, you should feel good about eating. Hopefully, you’re making good food choices, but even if you aren’t at that meal I hope there aren’t feelings of guilt that go down with it.

Unfortunately many of us may have grown up with negative behaviors with food, not been shown good eating habits, or used food as a coping mechanism/drug as we grew up.

Working to develop good eating habits, even if it’s slowly, will help you learn to feel good about it.

So about that “joy” of eating

Back to my opening lines. I don’t have much joy when I’ve been haphazard or lazy about putting my food together. When my lunch is ok and basically takes up stomach space, it doesn’t give me joy.

It makes me annoyed I didn’t take the time to put together food I would appreciate more.

We should enjoy our food, we should have food that not only offers our bodies the nutrients it needs for good health, but it should be satisfying to our souls.

Think of things like Thanksgiving or if you were fortunate, amazing Sunday dinners your grandmother whipped up.

Those are often times we may think of that are joyful eating.

True, not every day is like that. Reality might be a sandwich on the run between meetings or whatever we can grab in a busy day.

Joyful eating

I’m surrounded by a lot of men in my family. Men have this tendency to wolf food down. They love teasing me about my “little bites” and being the last one left eating.

I simply inform them I like tasting and savoring my food. 😉

I like taking my time and not rushing.. nothing wrong with that is there?

Some tips for joyful eating

* Be mindful. Really, be in the moment of what you’re eating. Lose the phone, don’t stare at the TV and really focus on enjoying your food.

* Be aware of textures and flavors, appreciate how it all tastes and smells.

* Take your time. Honestly you may have to practice slowing down if you’re used to eating fast. You’ll have a better appreciation if you do.

* Savor the meal and learn to savor the relationships with those you have around the table. Over good food I’ve learned much about my family.

*Prepare foods you really love. Double win if you prepare foods others love as much.

* Leave any guilt you have at the door. Food and guilt have no place together.

* Look for new recipes that give you joy in cooking for you and your family meals.

Tell me…how do you view eating? Is it a joyful thing or one that is mindlessly accomplished ?

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The Cost Of Healthy Eating

Occasionally I can keep things to myself, but not often.

Sometimes I just have a really hard time seeing nonsense and not calling it out… especially when it involves food and nutrition.

This is made harder by the fact there are sheer volumes of nonsense involving food and nutrition in the world today.

It hurts my head.

So in today’s episode of “Are you kidding me” I want to explore this thought about a food post I’ve seen multiple times circulating Facebook. I’ve seen it in other forms, this just happens to be the current edition of it.

Ah yes. The old “they make it so hard to eat healthy because it’s expensive ” line.

Let’s not miss they are comparing a cheap carton of fries available at any fast food place to a prepped carton of fruit in grocery store. ( insert eye roll here)

I’m just gonna cut to the chase on this topic.

What you eat is your responsibility.

Really.

I’m not sure why this is often hard to grasp and far to overlooked. Every single day I’m responsible for what goes into my mouth and the foods I feed my body.

Whether it’s optimally nutritional or not, no one is stuffing food in my face but me.

I call the shots.

Why then is this food post shared around like there are victims who have to eat junk food…or let’s just say…not optimally nutritional food?

You..me…we make a choice to what we choose to eat.

We are individually responsible for our food choices. It can’t be blamed on anyone but us.

So yeah, the first step to being real with this is taking ownership of your eating and the foods you eat as well as what you buy at the store or when you eat out.

With that being said….

Let’s get to the intent of this food post.

That it’s cheaper to eat non- nutritional food over healthy food.

Like anything in this world, there are a variety of price points on lots of things, food iincluded.

I may not often buy meat out of the fancy meat counter, but it doesn’t mean I can’t buy good meat in the other areas of the meat dept. I buy lean meats that are on sale and chicken which is always reasonably priced.

I have a budget to operate in, as do most of us. You can still operate in your budget and make good food choices.

Since they use the idea of fries for 1.00 ( obviously at a fast food restaurant) and the fruit is obviously the prepped and packed kind ( you ALWAYS pay more for that service!) at a grocery store I don’t find that much of a fair comparison.

Here’s what I will compare. Our local Wendys restaurant is a fast food place but they also offer lots of healthy options.

They have value menus with those 1.00 fries for sure, but they also offer 1.00 salads too.

I love their “real” salads on the menu though. They are often a tasty mix of veggies and fruit with nice serving of protein added with grilled chicken. I skip the creamy calorie laden dressings and opt for their light choices. Water is always my standard drink.

I can’t help but note….the salads are similar in price to a burger/fry/soda combo.

So what’s the difference?

The choice I make.

I love fries. They are like…pure deliciousness.

I also understand they aren’t an optimal food choice which is why I limit them to maybe…twice a month as a treat…

I fully understand though if I walk into that fast food business and decide to order a meal with fries then I am doing it because I choose to, not because it’s a good financial move.

We need to stop using that as a reason for poor food choices.

We are individually responsible for how we choose to fed our bodies.

What about the grocery store?

Pretty much a similar strategy applies.

Really, you don’t need cokes, cookies, and cheese puffs filling up your basket.

Is that stuff cheap? Yep.

But so are canned fruits, beans, tomatoes and other veggies. Add to that lowfat yogurts, cottage cheese and lowfat puddings

Eggs are an amazing and versatile food that are economical and can be used so many ways, for meals and snacks.

Buy real cheese in brick form and cut into cubes. Opt for healthier whole grain crackers and breads. Whole grain pastas and noodles are also other healthy low cost meal choices.

I noted the store brand “wheat bread” was 2.00 but for 89 cents more I got a more nutritional bread made with several grains.

What about fresh produce?

As the photo shows in my post, they’ve used a container of prepped fruit. I see this often in the store and it can be handy. However, you do pay for that convenience….quite a bit. Therefore, I really don’t see this as a fair assessment in this food post to eating healthy not being cost effective.

I do buy some prepped items. One of those is broccoli. I buy the huge bag but it’s convenient for me to use in salads, as a snack, or to throw in a pan and roast. I don’t mind paying a bit more for the convenience.

Mostly though I buy fruits and veggies I prep myself. You can buy many of those already prepped but since we are talking about eating healthy and affordable I’ll suggest prepping your own.

And shop seasonal foods! Last year the blackberry crop was amazing and almost every other week the large cartons were like …1.48…

I seriously ate my body weight in them!

Shopping seasonal on fruits and veggies is an economical way to eat healthy.

One thing our store has started doing is bagging produce that needs to move and marking it 50% off.

Let me tell you… I troll that dept heavy now looking for those tags! I’ve also experimented with new foods because they were on sale.

You may check to see if your store offers those mark downs.

Frozen foods

I understand sometimes the fresh stuff can go bad on you. It won’t if you plan meals with it 😉

Anyway, frozen offers healthy foods, and they won’t spoil.

Corn, broccoli, mixed veggies, snap peas, black eyed peas, stir fry mix, edamame and fruits are all good frozen choices. ( I personally do not care for the green beans or cauliflower as I think they are bland and the beans are usually tough) if you can’t get fresh green beans ( the best) canned are a tastier choice.

The bottom line

I buy a variety of foods for my family. Treats are an enjoyable part of life but I also shop to buy nutritionally healthy foods too.

Buying a bag of apples or oranges is usually wthin the price range of a package of Nutter Butter cookies or Oreos.

Do both have an appropriate place? Yes.

Is one more important to a healthy lifestyle than the other? Absolutely.

Can we then suggest eating healthy is more costly than eating food that offers less nutritional benefits?

No. And why?

Because it comes back to what I started with. We are responsible for what we buy and eat. We are responsible for the food choices we make, good or not so good.

There are many, many healthy and affordable food options. We are not victims who have to eat junk food because it’s more “affordable”.

That’s the lie I’m sick of seeing circulated.

Healthy eating is quite affordable, however, you must be willing to eat that way and choose the healthier options that are available.

Tell me, do you think eating healthy is more eexpensive than eating non healthy foods? What are some of your favorite cost effective healthy foods/meals?

Food Isn’t A Reward

nofoodasreward

I heard it again the other day… it makes me twitch… it makes me feel sorry for people… it makes me wanna shake them… I refrain.

What is it you ask that evokes such emotion in me? I shall tell you.

Hearing someone say…. “well, I ate to much yesterday so I really need to put in some extra work out time”

Maybe around the holidays you start seeing these cheesy meme’s pop up with various treats on them and if you ate whatever treat you have to do so many specific exercises to work it off. Often there’s the slogan “Negate what you ate!” over it.

Nonsense.

These thoughts make me nuts.

First of all, you cannot work off what you did the day before. You can get up and start over and keep moving forward.

OR do you flip it with thoughts like this… ” I worked out really hard today I deserve this!” or “it’s been a hard day, it’s my reward”

We have to stop looking at food as a punishment and reward system. We need to stop treating exercise as a punishment for our bad eating behavior, like it’s a necessary chore to be done so we can eat or so we can reward ourselves with food.

Do you see how twisted it all is?

Food shouldn’t be used as a reward and we shouldn’t have a view that exercise is punishment for us.

Yet, it is a common thought for way to many people today.

Food should be used to nurture and fuel our bodies. It should be enjoyed and savored in a reasonable way.

When we over eat or binge there can be a tendency to maybe think we can alter or change what we’ve taken in. We feel bad about what we’ve done so we do things like extra hard or extra long workouts to balance it out. Or we excessively cut our food intake.

Or we THINK we are balancing it out.

We have a distorted view of exercise that it’s a punishment we must endure ( ok, in all fairness, in the beginning you might feel that way 😉

But it shouldn’t be something you churn out to feel ok about having food.

You don’t have to make apologies for having food to nourish your body.

You don’t need to punish your body if you’ve eaten more than you think you should have.

You don’t have to resort to extreme restrictions of food if you over did it at a meal.

Do you see how binging/over indulging/ followed by “must do” exercise to feel better about our choices can become a vicious cycle?

Let’s face it. Food emotionally comforts us. For some of you it’s wine/alcohol or soda. Regardless, we have to stop using it as a reason to comfort ourselves.. or as a reward system.

Whatever the thing is we medicate ourselves with.

You may have never thought of it like that, did you? That “thing” we reach for when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, feeling lost or having a bad day. It medicates our hurts, anxieties and emotions. It calms our stress. It feeds whatever is in us that hurts, is angry, tired etc

Becoming aware of the pattern in your life is the first step to successfully altering your behaviors around it.

Abusing yourself with to much food or drink and then seeking to “atone” for what you’ve done by killing yourself with exercise is disjointed thinking at best.

Nor, is it nurturing to your body.

Practicing a moderate approach in our lives brings health and wellness, but it’s not without some work and discipline.

Learn to develop the practice of viewing exercise as movement for your body that brings health, wellness, and mental clarity. If you have goals beyond that, you will obviously need to increase your game.

Learn to approach all foods in balance and moderation . If you feel the need to over indulge or you are heading to the pantry for a feeding frenzy, try and remove yourself from the situation, that often can break the plans you have. It let’s you regroup and refocus. Or try calling a friend, going for a walk,  or any activity to distract you.

Perhaps have some goals written out that are easily accessible will make you stop and ask yourself if it’s really going to be worth it… because after the rewards or indulgence… we will always mentally feel bad for allowing ourselves to go there.

With practice, mental awareness and a bit of stubborn determination,  you can break the cycle of over eating/rewarding with foods and abusing exercise.

Have you ever found yourself in this cycle? What tips or ideas helped you break away from it?

 

 

The Habit Of Eating

In yesterdays blog I talked about will power vs. habits and their role in weight loss and building a healthy lifestyle pattern.

One habit we all have in common and I’d dare say we all enjoy, is eating.

Food is good. Food is also the source of fuel for our bodies to perform daily tasks and live life. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored!

There are lots of things to eat, and hopefully, you are making choices to eat healthy and nutritious foods the majority of the time.

In the ways of developing habits I’m sure most of us have habits of eating at scheduled times during the day to keep our energy level up.

We have an amazing God given built in system that tells us when we need food.

Ever get that grumbly, growly, tummy ? That’s the signal you need to eat. Once we’ve eaten enough to be (comfortably) satisfied we stop…or we should.

Unfortunately, many can go to either extremes with this. Either the hunger signals are constantly and frequently ignored which can lead to possible eating disorders, or one can eat often and frequently enough to not even remember what natural hunger signals feel like.

I know when I do long runs, my appetite can sometimes hit the roof and I feel like I can’t get it in fast enough. It feels good when it hits bottom!

Why? Because I’m genuinely, truly, hungry. I always joke food tastes so amazing when you are really hungry.

What I want to ask is this… do you eat when you are really truly, hungry? Or do you eat as a habit ? Because it’s a scheduled meal time?

We do need to schedule and eat adequate meals, but we also need to learn when enough is enough to take care of our hunger but not send us into that “I ate to much” feeling.  Balance is what we’re seeking, balance in meeting our needs, but not over doing it.

Get this… you don’t have to eat if you aren’t hungry. Or if it’s a scheduled meal time and you aren’t hungry.

However, if you get balanced, adequate meals in your day you should be experiencing those natural signals before your next meal. Allow yourself to understand, feel, and act on those signals.

Developing a habit to eat, when hungry, and stop when your hunger is comfortably satisfied is a big step towards losing weight and moving into healthy lifestyle patterns.

Is this easy for you to do ? Or will you need some practice to make it a habit ?