Embracing uncomfortable

Yupp…I’m getting a little insightful on your your know what with this one.

Today I was reading Monica at Run Eat Repeat’s post about her 30 days of smart snacking challenge. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I took her on. I had a granola bar this morning when I’d normally have waited til lunch time to eat…it felt uncomfortable and awkward but I know I ended up making a healthier, more balanced choice (a salad with broccoli, extra chick peas and some feta for protein, healthy fats from sunflower seeds, and fun with cranberries and mandarin oranges) as a result. I also came home and had dinner before I’m heading back to teach bootcamp. Normally, squash was something I ate a lot with my dinners, but I have a weird habit of only “allowing” myself to have it when it’s also dessert and when I feel like I’m “done for the day” (i.e. when I’m home for good). Somehow going out of my house after eating squash with brown sugar and nuts and all the goodies I like in it feels “wrong”. Then I realized, this was the power of Ed. I am so ready to kick him to the curb, it’s not even funny. 

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So, what am I all excited about? I’m going to give myself a 7 day challenge. The idea came to me as I tore open the bag of chocolate chips I had been “saving” for baking. Yeah right, we all know I bought them to eat and admitting that I want chocolate after dinner makes me human. Not fat, gross, weird, or anything like that. So, rather than standing there, eating and feeling guilty about it — I’ve blogged about how frustrated I am with this behaviour and have even brought it up with my dietitian — I decided to make  a change. Ed’s screaming right now, but I am going to just commit to this: for the next week, I am going to eat a dessert after dinner (not hours later, but right after). 7 days. I’m aiming for between 100 and 200 calories, and the logical nutrition student in me knows that this is equivalent to less than a pound of body fat. Why am I doing this? I’m hoping that in a roundabout way, it helps me deal with those urges to keep picking at night, helps me avoid feelings of deprivation that lead me to overeat when I do let myself have something I might consider an “indulgence”, and because I have a cupboardful of goodies that I seem to be “saving” for something.

I am also referring to Nancy Clark’s advice for when food has too much power over you:

“Do you have food(s) that you try to stay away from because you fear you will overeat it once you start with a small bite?

For many of my clients, cookies, peanut butter, and bagels fit into this category of “trouble foods.”  These hungry athletes try to stay away from these “fattening foods.” They believe that eating, let’s say, one cookie will lead to eating 200 cookies, and they will end up  getting instantly fat. Sound familiar?

If a food has too much power over you, try this experiment (as suggested in the book Beating Your Eating Disorder):

• Weigh yourself (first thing in the morning) on Day 1 of the experiment.

• Make one dietary change that you are sure will make you get fat (such as eating a big cookie at breakfast).

• Maintain this one change for 7 days (without making any other food or exercise changes), then weigh yourself again.

• Repeat this experiment for another 7 days. Take the average of the weights. (Weight fluctuates due to shifts in water.)

Have you gotten fat? Doubtful.

Take note: if the scale has gone up a tiny bit, the gain is likely due to replenishment of depleted muscle glycogen (carb) stores. For each one ounce of carbs stored in your muscles as glycogen, you also store about three ounces of water. Hence, do not obsess about a number on the scale. Rather, observe how much better you feel during the day and also during your workout.

While food experiments sound like a good idea, the reality is they can be very anxiety provoking and hard work. Eating more calories is hard because you are giving up control without being sure you will feel better in the long run. To learn how to take the power away from trigger foods, try reading Beating Your Eating Disorder. Other self-help books are available at http://www.gurze.com.

Just imagine how nice life will be for you and your loved ones when you can wake up without food fears and rigid food rules…  this is a change worth making!

Eat wisely and be well,

Nancy”

Have I mentioned how much I love her? I know where I’m at and I know that in a week I will not have ballooned, even if I eat some chocolate on a nightly basis. I know that I might not “need” it every night but that the extra is going to be minimal and this is more of a step forward than anything…and I’m excited.

That being said, I’m also scared. Uncomfortable. Anxious.

…doing it anyway.

Tonight, I went with some Cadbury chocolate:

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Mmmmm! Not the whole bar, about 4 squares. I sat down with it, didn’t read or watch anything while I ate, and sat for a few minutes after. That’s savouring it and I think that’s what I need to do to make this worth it!

It’s a huge huge step for me to decide that I’m going to have something as a treat after dinner. Sure, it’s normal for people to want a treat, but I cannot remember consistently eating dessert. I know people used to bring cookies every day in their lunches or used to have some treat after dinner when we were kids. I can’t remember doing this, except for in elementary school when I can even remember being embarrassed for buying a treat.

The further I get in recovery, the further back I realize my food and weight issues go. Here comes some in-depth self analysis that you can skip over, but yesterday when I was looking for my tax returns, I found my old medical records (like paediatrician) old and had a little bit of a cry when I read them:

3 years old and overweight…

6 and overweight…

9 and overweight…

Funny that I had “trouble with snacking” at age nine, isn’t it? Well, I’m finally dealing with it 14 years later. And if my hip would heal (my fingers are crossed and I’m getting my rest on), I’d be dealing with that whole not having winter activities aspect too.  The “Obesity” designation at the bottom makes me sad. I didn’t see this or know about it at the time (I don’t think), but when you’re a kid and you’re overweight…you know it. When people say “everyone was overweight” they don’t mean obese and I am not sure they know what it’s like to have weight issues and to know about them when you’re in elementary school. This was a totally random addition, but I feel a little better just putting it out there. When you have literally been overweight since you were 3, it’s hard to shed that idea about yourself, regardless of your weight. I know I am not overweight right now, I knew I wasn’t overweight when I was uber light last year, and I know that my weight is just a reflection of a lot of other things. I also know that it will balance out somewhere where it belongs…but if I was overweight when I was three, am I meant to be such? Okay, enough random worrying. I am going back to this: I’m trusting that my body, with plenty of healthy food and healthy exercise, will balance out at it’s healthy weight. It is not in its best interest, if I’m feeding it properly and getting adequate exercise AND rest, to be anything but my ideal weight. Trust is the definition of balance for me, so that’s what I’m going to base my decisions on.

Trust, trust, trust.

Were you “chubby” as a child?
Do you eat dessert on a regular basis? What do you like to have?
What’s a weird food rule you’d like to give up? 

 

 

 

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9 responses to “Embracing uncomfortable

  1. This is such a great idea!! I’m bookmarking this post. I’d love to try this, as snacking has made me feel like food has more power over me and I’m really not liking it. I think I just need to make adjustments like you are and try to confront these things!! I may try this for my next month’s challenge actually!!

  2. “Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are — and aren’t — that you will truly succeed.”

    Even after so long, you never fail to amaze me with your strength and perseverance. (8) You are so beautifullll …. to meeeeee(8) 😉 hahaha I love you. Good luck with your challenge, I know you will own it like everything else you put your heart to.

  3. I love your idea for that dessert challenge. I’ve often wondered about why dessert is so common when we’re kids, but as soon as we hit adolescence, it becomes a big no-no. Why can’t we enjoy dessert too? Especially when you’re an active person, there’s no reason why dessert can’t fit into a healthy diet!

    Also, I adore Nancy Clark. That woman knows the answers to everything! ❤

    I think you hit the nail on the head at the end of the post – our bodies are meant to be at a healthy weight! And once we stop stressing and just learn how to practice moderation, we will naturally get to that weight. It's such a reassuring concept!

    • Thanks for reassuring me about that reassuring concept…it will work! I have faith.

      I wish I could be Nancy Clark. She was a serious inspiration for why I wanted to be an RD in the first place! LOVE HER!

  4. I’ve heard before that people who’ve been overweight as a kid have trouble shaking that image of themselves even when they’ve been at a healthy weight! I can’t say I have experience with that but I’m sure it really makes that “fear” of getting fat from eating even more real. I love Nancy Clark and that snack experiment idea! I have her sports nutrition guidebook, she really is great. I definitely sometimes feel like food has “power” over me, and yeah, all my fear foods are ones that, when I do get my hands on, I eat more of it than I originally intended and subsequently feel bad about myself, out of control etc etc. I also often feel like I “have” to eat at a certain time even if I’m not particularly hungry. And yeah, my normal bedtime snack, peanut butter on toast? its perfectly normal and healthy and yet I feel like I can’t eat it until I’m “done” for the day. weird. But I think practice makes perfect and if you force yourself to do uncomfortable things, eventually they’ll get easier! 🙂 proud of you!! 🙂

  5. Pingback: What’s comforting me | eatplayluvblog

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