Food on the outside is fairly simple. Human eat food. Human not die. The End. Cut. Print. Done.
Maybe for some people. I’ve heard rumors of the mythical unicorn that is someone who only eats nutritious foods, only eats when they’re hungry and stops when they’re full. This baffles my strange little brain simply because it is not even close to my own relationship with food.
As I mentioned in my first post, I have spent my life bouncing between “perfection” and “abomination” as far as food is concerned. When I first start eating well, I get very excited. I convince myself that THIS time it will work. That THIS time, I won’t give in to the Devils that are unhealthy foods. And that rush of determination will help me ignore the feelings of denial for a while, typically about 2-4 weeks. Then the excitement ebbs. The will power monster starts to get tired. Reality sets in. I know going in that the process will take time. I tell myself all of those phrases that you see plastered all over anything in the category of “Health and Fitness”. But that gets depressing. That this will be my life now. Forever. My brain starts looking for a way out. So I get self-congratulatory. I decide I deserve a treat. And that’s not a problem in theory but the “cheat” winds up triggering massive amounts of guilt. And shame. I fall into the pit of self-deprecation. And at the bottom of that pit is fried, greasy food. Covered in ranch.
And thus begins the other side of the pendulum swing. I become bitter and angry. I adopt a “fuck that” mentality regarding health. I gain back any weight that I’ve lost, I stop going to the gym and put my fingers in my ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA” at the voices in my head saying that this is a bad idea that will eventually kill me. (Mortality is a tough concept to wrap your head around, especially in your 20’s).
And now I say that it’s time to break the cycle. I’m not going to strive for perfection. But I’m also NOT going to avoid thinking about what I’m eating. I’m not making any rules for food. Nothing is banned. But all I’m asking of myself is to think before I eat. I’m asking myself to TRY.
This may seem simple but when you’ve spent your life in an all-or-nothing state of mind that’s filled with negative emotions when perfection proves impossible, the idea of being kind to myself seems completely foreign. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results. (Albert Einstein) So maybe if I want different results, I need to try something different. So here are the simple guidelines I’ve set for myself:
- Try to pick a natural, unprocessed option whenever possible.
- Try to make my own food versus going to any restaurant.
- Try to be mindful of portions.
- Take a minute to think before eating.
- Support and encourage myself whenever possible.
- Avoid negative self talk. I’m only human, and humans aren’t perfect.
That’s it. It’s not drastic and so my mind keeps telling me it won’t work but it’s different than any mind set I’ve had before, so logically it’ll have different results than I’ve ever had before. Science.
Hopefully we can drop the “enemy” so me and food can be friends. Because that shit is delicious.