So what IS a healthy lifestyle?: TOLT

Danger Will Robinson!

After my little “episode” with my Freihofers chocolate chip cookies (you can read more about it here), I’m Thinking Out Loud about healthy lifestyles, all or nothing thinking, and balance.

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).

Yes, that’s me on the left; I’ve come a long way

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:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

23 thoughts on “So what IS a healthy lifestyle?: TOLT

  1. I like your attitude Judy! I’m glad you enjoyed those cookies because that makes it ok. If you hadn’t enjoyed them but eaten them anyway, then that would have been a binge because some other need would have been driving you. We all have a binge or a ‘blow out’ sometime. Last year at Christmas my husband was on call for emergency surgery Christmas Eve, my sister was on duty at A&E in another hospital and my brother was going to his in laws 300 miles away. So we had our family Christmas meal a couple of days early and decided that on Christmas Day we were going to slob! Stay in our Jammies, watch Tv, eat what we wanted when we wanted, champagne for breakfast – the lot. The alcohol made me fuzzy, blunted my appetite, I ate too much chocolate and after a day of lounging around felt somewhat restless by the end of the day. But we tried it, now we know it isn’t what you might think and won’t be doing that again!😆😆 life’s about having fun, growing and trying new things all your life, not just when you are young, and by trying new things it doesn’t have to be jumping out of a plane or eating cockroaches (2 things not on my list!!). I think that being able to consciously make a choice, accept the consequences / learn from it and move on is part of growing up too and continuing that until we get really old. Sometimes in my work I get to meet people who are in their 90s and above. Mostly they are very open minded and interested in the world around them and I’m sure that plays a part in their longevity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, I’m not jumping out of a plane either. I might try cockroaches — if they were covered in chocolate. 🙂

      My Dad is 90, my mom is 88, and yes, I’d say they’re somewhat openminded — in some ways. Although my mom has zero interest in FB or texting, which is really too bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a shame re your mum and social media. It must be a great way of keeping in tough with grandchildren and so on! Especially if they decide to travel. Some of my friends with grown up children say how great it is to get updates from their back packing offspring. Obvs worries if no news for 2 or 3 days, but compared to 30 yrs ago when my mum had to put up with a weekly aero gram/ postcard- fab!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We gave my dad an ipad last year, which I knew wasn’t a good idea — he’s 90 & his short term memory is terrible.

        I also showed my mom how to use it, and she’s much sharper, but again, she’s just not interested in it. Which is too bad, because yes, it would be a good way for them to be in contact with their youngest grandchild (the rest are all ready living outside the home or just about to graduate college).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bang! You nailed it, Judy. Every point.
    I, too, used to be quite heavy, size 20 dress. I relate to every single word you wrote about secret bingeing. I had not favorite thing; if it was food, I binged.
    I “went on a diet” when I had to by that size 20 bridesmaid’s dress for my brother’s wedding. I didn’t lose weight well, but I lost it and mostly kept it off. After I had my two sons it started to creep back, not to the degree of my younger days, but significant. At age 39 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After the surgery, I decided not to go on a diet, but to change for life my eating habits. As you say, slowly but surely wins the “race.” I’ve kept it off for over thirty years. Constant bingeing doesn’t factor into my life any more, but, also, like you, the occasional slip back is okay. Enjoy every bite and move one. Once in a while….as long as it doesn’t become a habit again.

    #sorrynotsorry: I ate two custard cups of mixed nuts last week, along with an evening shot of brandy. It soothed my soul as well as my stomach. Nope. Not sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I’ve been working through this lately as well. Remember that 30-day no alcohol challenge? Well, I made it 23 days, 20 of those days alcohol free and I realized yesterday that I really wanted a glass of wine, and why was I depriving myself? Was I worried that once I allowed myself a glass of wine, it would become a slippery slope of non-stop indulging? YES, that’s exactly what I was afraid of! I enjoy my healthy lifestyle, I’ve come such a long way, lost a lot of weight, am in the best physical shape I’ve ever been, and I think I’m just scared that if I’m not perfect, that I’ll go back to my old ways. But I won’t. I can have a glass of wine. I can have a cupcake. I can have some french fries. And then after my little indulgences, I can go back to what I normally do, which is eat healthy. After realizing that, last night I had a glass of wine with my healthy dinner. Just one glass. And it was delicious, and one glass was enough. #sorrynotsorry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, the worry about that slippery slope still lurks in my mind, too. Despite several years of maintaining my weight now!

      People who haven’t really battled with this just can’t understand why anyone would even think this way.

      That’s the biggest thing — not throwing in the towel.

      I even maintained my weight this week, although you never know, sometimes it doesn’t show up immediately.But it was a one & done. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t keep junk food in the house but every Friday at Mah jongg, I’m like a kid in the candy store. I can’t help myself.

    You look great the way you are now so I wouldn’t worry about the occasional cheat especially if it tastes good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankfully it didn’t result in a gain this week. Dinner was a stromboli & garlic knots, so definitely a less than stellar day of eating, but the rest of the week was fine.

      I don’t really keep much junk food here, but I do keep my healthy baked goods around. Usually I’m just fine with them & if I’m not, like I said, they go in with Lloyd.

      He hasn’t had much to take in lately (those cookies never made it into work like they did the last couple of times I did the race).

      Actually, one time my SIL was here too & I think she helped us with them, although she’s more a salty girl.


  5. Binge, yes I have. Over it….no, but they have most certainly become less and less frequent. Most recently I had one where I wanted something specific that was unhealthy and calorie laden but denied myself and proceeded to eat many different healthy things until I ended up having what I originally wanted. I think if I had just let myself do that in the first place, it would not have been a binge. It was an Oreo and I just had one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve definitely had my fair share of times where I overdid it on junk food… mostly during the times where I was trying to adhere too strictly to a clean diet and denying all my cravings in the process. They’d build up over time to the point where I couldn’t handle it and I’d go to town on the cookies, chocolate, or ice cream. I’ve found that the best way for me to combat those is allow myself to have treats daily. That way they become a normal thing and not such a big deal anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am #sorrynotsorry about not sharing my strawberry shortcake dessert last night while James and Janet split one between the two of them. I had a few bites, then boxed up the rest to bring home, so now I’ll have some for tonight and tomorrow as well! BTW, I never told you, those protein balls were awesome!! Thank you for them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t like to take desserts home, I gotta admit. Sort of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. 🙂 We usually share, too.

      Glad you liked the balls. You notice I just gave you enough so that you could all have one (although I didn’t know Janet would be there). Didn’t want to lead you astray. 🙂

      They really are pretty simple to make. Another way I really like to eat them is crumpled over greek yogurt after a run — usually just one works great for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really like the way you defined a healthy lifestyle with food. Its about making your choice, enjoying it, and not feeling guilty later. I used to have more emotions like guilt connected to my food choices but now I have learned that there is not point in regretting them, and you might as well enjoy it! Ive also been able to recognize when I don’t feel well after eating something or too much of something and then avoid doing that again.


  9. You have made a great transformation! I relate to all of this.
    I try to practice each meal is a chance to start over, but I have been struggling quite a bit, especially with these ailing feet. They aggravate me to death…
    Mostly I have not been stopping when I am full. I had been doing quite well at that and have lost it again. I do great one meal, then I blow the next…
    I do agree with your healthy lifestyle evaluation. We all could do better! I work with gluten free, vegan, paleo eaters and some people feel their method is superior to another…
    I grew up binge eating, I was taught to binge, I really do feel I am past that extreme over eating I use to do, I don’t eat boxes of poptarts like I used too,but I just eat too much portion wise right now. It does cause guilt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, I eat Paleo-&ugly ten free, & vegan – just not all at the same time. 🙂

      I wasn’t taught to binge, but I did. Portion control is hard & people who’ve never had that problem don’t really get it.

      Karen, you can do it- I know you can; you’re so strong & determined. Just keep trying. Dig into what’s really bothering you. Journaling can help a lot!

      And work on letting go of the guilt – I get that, too, I still struggle with it sometimes.

      WW is great if you find the right meeting, but the meetings are really important, IMHO.


  10. I’m the same way…once I think I’ve derailed my day with bad eating, I just go, “Well, I may as well keep at it!” and just continue on from there. I can literally eat an entire box of cookies in one sitting. I am most definitely a binge-eater at heart, and I experienced two or three binges this week because of stress. I think we all struggle with that. But I think a healthy lifestyle/mindset is being able to forgive yourself for doing something destructive (like binging) and then move forward without feeling anger or guilt.

    We have to acknowledge that we’ll all have those bad days or weeks, but it doesn’t mean our entire life is ruined.


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