What's Better Than A Bagel? 2 Bagels. (2019 Goals - 3)
IT’S ALMOST FRIYAY!
I can’t believe I’m already over halfway through the month and working toward my first goal of the year! A couple of weeks is definitely not a lot of time to make major sustainable life changes, but I want to give an update/reflection on how these weeks have been going. As you know by now, I’m spending the month of January on practicing intuitive eating and moving my body in new, healthy ways.
The three things I really wanted to start doing to change my eating habits are:
Learn to simply acknowledge the thoughts I have around food, rather than reacting by negatively judging myself for those thoughts; e.g. “omg stop thinking about food and just be a normal person!”
Practice having food available and not eating it if I am not hungry.
Use healthy distractions when consumed by food-related thoughts.
Well, as usual, it’s time to make some adjustments to my goals. I have been doing REALLY well with some things, but my progress has lacked for some others.
Let me explain…
For my first goal, I’ve been doing great. I started using a really popular add called Headspace. If you don’t already know, Headspace is a meditation app that includes a ton of different lengths and styles of meditation.
Just an fyi – if you’re not into meditating and you think it’s a bunch of weird, hippie, Buddha shit…. I recommend you try this app. Because it’s NOT like that at all. It’s literally just pausing for three minutes of your life while a man with a beautiful accent helps you briefly divert your thoughts. #beautifulaccent
Anyway! I have been using Headspace to help myself assess the obsessive food thoughts that suddenly (constantly) appear in my head throughout the day. I’m trying to always start by just noticing the thoughts (this can literally take an hour for me sometimes). After I notice the thought, it actually starts to get worse because of the way that I automatically react to it. I usually get frustrated and angry with myself for not being able to just be “normal” and just eat when I’m hungry. But because this is the exact thing I’m trying to change, this is when I put my headphones in and open up the app. It’s hard to treat yourself kindly when you are in the midst of a self-hate episode. The app has a different meditation for basically every emotion, so I just select whatever I’m feeling at the time; usually angry. I typically select the three or five minute option, depending on what I’m doing at the time. Sometimes I’ll do the 10 minute one if I’m on the bus or just relaxing at home (lol relaxing, what is that?).
(lol my typical battery situation^) also how cute is my cartoon guy (the app is FILLED with these cartoon people, I love them)
The app essentially walks you through the process of feeling your body’s emotional, physical and physiological responses to the situation you are in, and helps you to not judge the way you feel. This is helping me a TON in these situations (and basically ALL intense emotional situations I find myself in, food or not food related). I, like many people, am an emotional eater. So when I’m mad at myself, I eat to cope with that self-hatred. Then I get mad at myself that I can’t deal with my feelings in a normal way. Then I’m mad again so I start eating again. As you can see, it’s super easy to get myself into a vicious cycle in these situations (and I’m sure a TON of people can relate to that). Needless to say, I am LOVING Headspace. But I will say, meditation is something that was not easy for me to just pick up. It’s tough to not get distracted during it, especially for someone who has a hard time relaxing (particularly mentally). Slowing my brain down can be tough sometimes but has been very beneficial in these scenarios.
I have also been trying to apply this to the parts of my day where I find myself eating out of habit and not even as an emotional response. It’s really easy to fall into a routine when it comes to food. I always eat breakfast as soon as I get up, I always eat lunch at noon, I always drink a protein smoothie after my workout. But I started to realize that I put zero thought into any of those decisions. I just do them. This is the opposite relationship that I want with food. I want a purposeful, intentional, healthy relationship.
In the morning, when my alarm wakes me up at 5:30am, I typically get up, take my vitamins (gummy obvs – my one non-vegan treat LOL), and make my way downstairs to get a bowl of oatmeal. I’ve always liked oatmeal, I know it’s healthy, and I eat it almost every single morning at the same time. However, since the beginning of the year, I have been working extremely hard to switch up this routine. Instead of automatically going downstairs and making oatmeal at 5:30am, I drink a glass of water (I literally drink zero water so this is another mini goal of mine) while asking myself, “am I even hungry right now?” EVERY day except for one, the honest answer has been no. Not even a little.
When I was in the middle of my eating disorder, I would often feel worried about going somewhere without eating something first for fear that I would pass out in public. I now realize how much this has impacted my eating habits today – this is part of the reason why I always eat breakfast before I leave for work in the morning. But so far, I have started listening to my body in an effort to understand when I am actually hungry, and when I am just eating out of habit. This has been really hard. I’ve definitely noticed some progress, but still slipping up a lot. Like on Sunday, when Jess and I decided to order some hangover bagels. Literally four seconds after eating them… WE ORDERED MORE BAGELS. FROM THE SAME PLACE. We were definitely not hungry after the first round but wow, they were delicious. I’m practicing some self-love and acceptance of situations like this; also bagels are amazing so truthfully how could we not get more.
Overall, I am feeling really happy and proud of my progress toward my goals. I am slowly learning to feel my body’s actual hunger levels (something I honestly don’t think I’ve EVER learned how to do before), and I am learning how to treat myself kindly when I have obsessive thoughts and divert them in a healthy way.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s really fucking hard and I hate it sometimes BUT I’M DOING IT!
There’s one other area in my food-related life that I am SERIOUSLY KILLING IT in and I really want to share - even though it wasn’t part of my original goals. Five years ago, I knew exactly how many calories I ate every single day. Usually, it was around 200/day. Over the past four years, it has gradually increased, and for the past ~2-3 years, I’ve probably averaged about 1400-1800/day. A healthy amount! Throughout my recovery, I have definitely stopped restricting or making any sort of decisions based on what I’ve eaten that day. But I STILL always knew how many calories I had eaten. Even though this doesn’t sound bad because I’m not physically harming myself at all, I am still destroying my mental health. Having constant obsessive thoughts over the number of calories you have consumed throughout the day is truly miserable. It’s exhausting, it’s stressful and it is often times debilitating.
WELL GUESS WHAT BITCHES. Since January 1st, I have not counted a single calorie. I have forced myself (lovingly and kindly) to prepare food with no measurements and no knowledge of the caloric value. This is hard for me since I can recite the caloric value of basically every food at this point. But I’ve been finding ways around this. For example, I’ve been just grabbing a handful of pasta and throwing it into the water. And eating it until I’m full!
JUST FUCKING THROW NUTS IN A BOWL! IS IT A QUARTER CUP? A THIRD OF A CUP? A CUP? I. DON’T. KNOW.
This may sound silly, but it is truly an enormous mountain that I NEVER thought I would even begin to climb.
I am feeling extremely proud of myself this month, even after the double bagels.
Happy almost Friday and I can’t wait to talk about how my weight lifting program has been going! :)