Had enough of being off track?
If you are getting fed up with yourself for eating all the things
Sick and Tired
I hesitate to use the phrase “sick and tired” while the world comforts and cares for those who are desperately sick. This is the phrase that has come to mind as I think about Dave Ramsey saying about debt, you have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I have thought of his words often in terms of eating poorly and getting fed up with oneself (which we are going to talk about) but from here on out I will be using the phrase “fed up” instead.
This past week my family celebrated my son’s birthday, my own birthday and my wedding anniversary. I always look forward to this time of year as we plan something fun and we reminisce on the years together. However, by the time the week has come and gone, I typically feel fed up with eating so indulgently.
In fact, I thought this year I would get away without as much of the partaking. However, it turns out many people are baking during this time of sheltering-at-home and it also turns out people want to celebrate other people’s birthdays by delivering treats to their door step.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being celebrating and having friends and family think of me. The fact that I had a plate of cookies, a dozen cinnamon rolls and a chocolate cake delivered to my house in the span of one hour certainly makes me feel loved on my birthday. However, you add that to my favorite pizza I picked out for my birthday dinner and a fancy night of takeout for our wedding anniversary and the feeling still came at the end of it all. I feel fed up with all the food.
Our stories our different, our struggles similar
I have gotten several emails recently from members in this same boat. Fed up with seeing the scale go up. Fed up with the snacking and the quick but unhealthy meals.
One thing that has struck me during all of this is that our stories are different. Our circumstances, all challenging, look differently. Families with kids in the house are strapped for time, trying to work and parent for all waking hours of the day.
Healthcare workers (our heroes) are the ones we feel the most concern over. The risks they take on for themselves and their loved ones, the long hours and shifts they push through. The concern they have going home or trying to get groceries of their own, knowing they are not the ones staying at home.
The stories are different, the struggles are similar. How to “stay on track” and eat healthy protein based meals when life has been upended?
Quick note here, during the COVID-19 crisis I have been sending daily challenges out via email as well as posting them in my Bariatric Food Coach members group on Facebook. Starting this week, members who post a photo on the daily challenge thread will enter my weekly drawing for a free coaching call or a free month of membership (winner’s choice).
The domino effect
The thing about the phrase “being on track” is that it leads to the black and white thinking. I am on or I am off. I am good or am I bad. The irony is that as much as I want to encourage us to stop living in the black and white, eating poorly can also be a huge domino effect in our lives.
Again, everyone’s story is different but let’s use an example so I can make my point.
Let’s say you miss breakfast and haven’t had hardly any water because it’s a crazy morning, then find yourself grazing mid-morning and not really hungry at lunch, then eating a bigger lunch at 2 o’clock and throwing together grilled cheese or spaghetti at dinner.
Missing breakfast and not having water was the trigger to unfold a strange day of eating. Yes, that day could have been turned around at any given point! Pause a moment and get yourself some water. Eat a protein snack instead of grazing. Keep your meal times normal even if you aren’t as hungry for it.
The point is, few things about life are in our normal routines right now. What used to feel like black and white no longer exists! Living in the grey areas means staying in tune to what you need most. Not focusing on what you did not do correctly today, but what you need right now.
Try to lay out your dominos in advance, but it is okay if things take a different path.
How to clean things up, when we can’t do the normal?
I heard from a friend who was told by a friend (making this a very official statement) that our brains operate nearly 50% of the time on habit. The decisions we make are often on autopilot so to speak. I find this a good thing as I try to get through my day with a lot of decisions. I like knowing there are some things I can choose quickly and move on.
When we have so many things that are new, unchartered, never before experience going on in our lives, our brains are exhausted.
In the past you may have a little routine of what to do when you need to get back on track. Possibly you make a meal plan, create a grocery list, get to the grocery store. Clear our your pantry and refrigerator.
You might join a gym or at least make a plan of when you will get there. You might create little rewards for yourself if you get to the gym so many times a month.
But what now?
Going to the grocery store feels scary and you don’t know what they will have. Grocery delivery and pickup orders are backed up for days on end.
Obviously, gyms are out of the question.
Your brain is so tired from all the changes, decisions, fears and unknown it makes sense that it would feel overwhelming for how to handle feeling fed up with food. It’s exhausting to think about making a new plan right now. What you used to do to get on track is not the answer for today.
My brain is as fuzzy as yours but I do talk about healthy habits for bariatric surgery patients all the time so just maybe, my brain can come up with some ideas out of its own habits.
My first encouragement for all to hear is to take a deep breath and tell yourself you are okay. It is often our anxieties telling us things are worse than they truly are.
I do think it’s helpful to get to the point of feeling fed up, so that you can really be ready to some things differently. Instead of allowing that feeling of being fed up to be a negative, lean into it and allow it to fuel you to changing things so you can feel more like yourself again.
Secondly, do not underestimate the power of staying hydrated for your body and your mind. Sometimes we hear how important it is to drink water so often it loses its power.
Next, I would take a look at your environment. You could even pretend you are a consultant in your own kitchen here to provide feedback on how to improve the environment for a healthier living space. Take food off the countertops. Seal up tempting foods and put them in the bottom of the back of the pantry (that is assuming you have someone that would be angry with you for throwing it away).
Take an inventory of what food you do have on hand. Make a basic, chicken scratch written meal plan for the next few days.
If you are getting anxious about grocery shopping (when, where, how?) ask friends and family what they are doing. There may even be plans to work together. My family will send a message if they are going to place an order to take a trip and offer to get things so we can limit how often each of us need to go. If you are making a trip (or an order) don’t forget to load up on hydrating beverage options. Not only because of the power of water, but also in the event of getting sick yourself.
Put on some workout clothes and step outside or put on some music. Research good YouTube workouts you can try at home. Consider a free trial to online workouts. My Jazzercise studio now does live workouts on Facebook with our instructors teaching from their homes. There are more options than ever before for at home exercise.
*Note: at home workouts are just not the same. It’s okay to admit that and have lower expectations than hitting the gym. Keep physical activity going through your day for mental and physical health even when the workouts are not the same.
Try not to be hard on yourself but instead be in tune with yourself. This is a great opportunity to grow in our ability to practice self care. Just a simple question of “what do I need right now?” will go a long way for living in the grey and breaking the black and white.
Finally, two last thoughts to wrap this up. Don’t weigh yourself too much right now. Please. Once a week is all you need. And always remember that you are one week away from feeling much better. The first three to five days of getting sweets and starches out of your diet are going to be hard. Drink water, eat a protein snack if you need, step outside and take it one day at a time. Know that after a week you will feel much more like yourself again.
Wishing and praying all my best for you and yours,
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