A healthy lifestyle
How people love to hate the phrase above. And I am not sure I have yet achieved a healthy lifestyle, despite Mr. Judy once wondering how I could possibly eat healthier: the answer is easy — of course I could.
And you know what? I don’t care how cleanly you eat, you could too. To beat another tired phrase to death, it’s all about progress, not perfection.
That being said, Saturday was a bit of a setback for me. Or was it?
So I finished a hot 5k and they handed me a box of what was once my very favorite chocolate chip cookies. I had a Health Warrior Chia bar with me. I like Health Warrior Chia bars.
Once I opened that cookie box, though, I never touched that Health Warrior Chia Bar. And I consumed far too many cookies, so many that I definitely lost count. So many, in fact, that I never ate lunch at all.
Oddly enough, I’m sort of okay with that. Sometimes when I consume too much of something like that, these days, I literally feel sick. And I didn’t. I won’t be at all surprised if I have a gain at the scale this week, but that’s okay.
The real sign of a healthy lifestyle? You make your choice (okay, I didn’t really choose to eat that many), you enjoy it (I really did), and you don’t beat yourself up for it (well, I can’t say I didn’t feel any guilt).
My history with Freihofers
Chances are you’ve never heard of Freihofers; it’s a northeast thing and I grew up in the northeast. Just think Entemmans chocolate chip cookies, if you’ve ever had those. Very similar.
I wasn’t overweight as a young girl, but somewhere in my teens that changed. And I was a binger. My binges weren’t massive, but remember I’m very petite and it doesn’t take much for me to gain weight.
As a teen, I could polish off an entire box of those cookies in one sitting. Or a 1 lb milk chocolate bar. An entire package of poptarts. Never all of that put together, just one thing at a time. And I would hide the evidence under my bed. I can’t remember how I got rid of it without my parents being aware.
Freihofers were my favorite chocolate chip cookies back then, but we rarely had them in the house. So when we did, I’d go to town on them.
And my mom was an awesome baker. She’d put stuff in the freezer and yes, I’d go down and take stuff out and eat it.
I think the big difference between what I did as a young adult and Saturday’s episode is all my bingeing as a young adult was furtive and definitely guilt ridden. This episode was quite out in the open, I owned what I did and moved on.
Stinking thinking about food
A lot of people suffer from all or nothing thinking when it comes to food, or exercise, or pretty much anything that seems difficult. That would be cleaning for me. As I was writing this on Tuesday, I had every intention of doing some more organizing in our bedroom, which looks like either a storm or a herd of teenage boys threw up over most of it.
And yet it didn’t get done.
It’s the all or nothing thinking: I’ve blown it, so I might as well just finish up that box of cookies (I didn’t, by the way). I don’t have time to run 5 miles today, so why bother running?
This type of thinking really holds you back. One bad meal, even one day of less than stellar eating, will not make you fat (or a bad person). If you don’t have time to get the workout you planned done, do something. Anything is better than nothing.
I wrote about this just yesterday, with my post on the word consistent.
Small steps add up to a marathon, after all.
Or in my case, a half marathon.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
I didn’t have an aha! moment that magically changed me from a binger to being able to handle most foods, most of the time. It’s been a long, slow, steady journey over decades. It is the proverbial marathon, not the proverbial sprint.
For a long time it was a matter of not keeping my trigger foods in the house: nut butters, chocolate, cookies, brownies — even dark chocolate edamame from Trader Joes at one point — if you’ve never tried them, maybe you shouldn’t.
Then it was a matter of slowly allowing most of those foods back in the house, but putting them in a place that isn’t easy to get to.
Most of those foods are things I can have in the house now. You could live off the nut butters and chocolate in this house for quite some time. Store bought cookies are rarely here, although on very rare occasions I bake with them.
In fact, I have a box of sandwich cookies that I think have been in the house for a month and I only used a couple in some overnight oats once. I’ve even had to throw away very old boxes of sandwich cookies!
I do bake cookies, but most of them are pretty healthy and most of the time I have no trouble eating a couple at a time. Occasionally something will call to me, and then it goes into work with Mr. Judy.
I’ve even had to throw away chocolate, because I love trying new things, including chocolate, but I just can’t indulge in it as much as I’d like to.
Occasionally, though, obviously — I have an “episode”, as my WW leader calls it, like I did with the Freihofers cookies on Saturday. I’m not quite sure why it happened — it didn’t happen the first two times I ran this race. But that’s the point — no one is perfect, and you just have to move on and get right back on the healthy lifestyle train.
Here’s a couple of tricks to help you move away from bingeing or mindless eating. They may not work the first hundred times you try, but keep trying. Someday, something will click, and you’ll find them to be useful tools:
- When a craving hits, wait. 10 minutes; 20 is even better. Your craving may disappear.
- Phone a friend. Go for a walk. Pick up your knitting.
- Drink something; we often mistake thirst for hunger.
- HALT: are you hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Only eat if you’re really hungry.
- Are you hungry enough to eat an apple? If the apple doesn’t sound appealing, you’re probably not actually hungry for food. Try some of the activities above.
This hashtag has been also been beaten to death, but mostly because it’s true! While I regretted overindulging in the cookies because frankly that wasn’t the best recovery food, I also don’t feel all that guilty that I did.
I got back to healthy eating quickly. I gave the rest of the box to Mr.Judy, and didn’t have any more cookies. And the truth is — I really enjoyed those cookies!
And that is one of the differences between bingeing and a healthy lifestyle: during a binge you’re not just consuming food, you’re consumed by guilt. Often your eating is furtive and quick and you don’t even taste much of what you’re eating.
Maybe if they’d had some damn bananas, my episode wouldn’t have happened!
Tell me in the comments:
Have you ever binged?
If you used to binge, but no longer do, how did you stop?
What are you #sorrynotsorry about today (doesn’t have to be food!)?
I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her: