Tag Archives: mindfulness

What is a healthy relationship with food anyway?

So i’m working on developing a “healthy relationship with food”.  But i want to explain what that means, both for my own clarification and to see what it means for other folks.

1) Food is fuel.  I can’t not eat and expect to be healthy, energetic or happy, just like i can’t expect my car to run without gas or my computer to run without electricity.  Not eating, or under eating is not a healthy habit.  Yes, in order to lose weight one needs to create some calorie deficit, however it needs to still be in the functional range.  I want to be at my best, and that means ensuring i have enough fuel to do so.

2) Variety is important.  Eating only one food group, color, flavor, shape, texture, temperature or any other characteristic means i’ll be limiting my nutrition.  Eating a variety of things will help provide me with lots of different vitamins and nutrients my body needs.  It will also prevent me from getting bored.  It is easy to fall into patterns, but those patterns need to include a variety of foods.  

3) Foods are not good or bad.  Some options might be better choices – a handful of nuts will keep me satiated longer than a handful of jelly beans for example, but the jelly beans are not evil.  I might feel more virtuous having chosen the grilled chicken salad, but i am not a bad person if i want the cheeseburger, or even if i choose it.  More accurate questions are will this food/meal get me closer to my goals?  Does this fit in with the intentions i’ve set?  How will i feel after eating this?  Do i really want this thing, or is there another reason it seems attractive?  Can i get the same enjoyment with something else that will fit closer with my intentions?

4) Eating should be a conscious decision.  Eating out of habit, emotion or boredom is not a healthy relationship with food.  Recognizing when i am hungry, and eating enough to calm that hunger is good.  Making a conscious decision of what to eat and when is the most important thing I can do towards being healthier.  For me, logging is critical here, as it creates a moment to pause and ask myself if this is really what i want to eat.

5) The numbers are not in control of me.  The scale, my calorie count, my calorie budget, my pedometer, my heart rate monitor and my clothing size do not define me.  I am much more than any of these things.  Numbers are metrics, but do not measure my happiness or relationships.  

6) Portion size matters.  I’m a short woman.  I can’t eat as much as my husband, who is almost a foot taller than me, and a hundred pounds heavier.  I need to be content with what is on my plate and not compare to his (which often has some ‘extras’ as well).  It can feel tedious to measure stuff out, but it really makes a difference!  If i am still hungry (after pausing to drink some water and let my food settle), i can always get something else.  

7) Water is awesome.  Water is necessary for your body to run properly, fills you up, cleans you out and tastes good.  I know folks get accustomed to sodas and flavored beverages, but really, water is probably one of the best things for you.  For me, a healthy relationship with food includes drinking lots of water.

8) Be adventurous.  Try new flavors, recipes and cooking techniques.  Try new restaurants.  Look at different meal plans.  I get stuck in habits, and then the habits degrade to what is fastest, most comforting and easiest.  Keeping things interesting really helps break that cycle.  It also helps the mindful, choice driven aspect of eating for me.  

9) Enjoy whats on the plate.  Whether its a salad of leftovers, a carefully made dish at home or a burger and fries out.  Food is delicious and worth enjoying.  Don’t feel guilty over a meal, even it its not towards your goals.  Guilt just makes you feel bad, and can serve as an excuse to give up on good habits.  Savor what you eat as you eat it.  Enjoy it.  And then, if necessary, make adjustments.  That pie was too good to pass up?  Maybe eat a little less later on, but if not, it’s ok.  A friend of mine likes to quote her WW leader “if you trip on one step, you don’t throw yourself down the rest of the stairs”, yet so often we do with food.  

10) One bite at a time.  This is big, hard stuff, even if it sounds simple.  For me a healthy relationship with food is going to be a long, hard process, but it’s totally possible.  The way to do it?  One bite at a time.  Let meals in the past be in the past, future meals be handled in the future, and focus on what is in front of me now.  It’s not about one big decision, but hundreds, maybe even thousands of small ones.

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Un-deck The Halls

This morning was typical. I woke up, went through my routine, enjoying the sun on the snow as i did my sun breathes. I brought down the box of the Husband’s costumes & SCA clothing to the basement and added mine, consolidating. When i realized this left an empty container, i filled it with the artwork i was given from my Grandmother’s house, as well as some other pieces i had that have not yet found homes on the walls. Then it was off to work.

Work was supposed to be drafting, but I needed to do some site restoration oversight instead.  It was cold, but gave me a chance to be outdoors and muse on things.  The Sister and i have been using the Transform Your Life app.  Today’s quote and assignment was:

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. – Emily Dickinson
Control, which is only an illusion, is over rated.  Life has much better ideas for us than we could ever imagine for ourselves.  
Assignment: Today, allow yourself to be startled by life.

It is amazing how much i ignore in the process of living, and how amazing my world is when i choose to actually see it.  How perfect to be outdoors with this “assignment”, and appreciate things like the sun making my face warm just as the icy breeze came by, or how the snow melted and the puddles evaporated.  Simple, everyday things are fantastic, when we let them be.

Box of Lights

Lights, wrapped with cardboard, and a separate box for bulbs and fuses.

This evening has been focused on de-Christmasing the house. I am organizing the 5 boxes of Christmas items differently this year, which is interesting. The first box is lights. With three strands on the tree, and almost the entire first floor draped with lights, there are a lot. Although they take up more room wrapped on cardboard, i hope it will save me some frustration next year!  I also used a small box just for bulbs and fuses.  I think having them all in one place will make life a little easier.

The second box is garland, which i have less trouble with as far as tangling goes, so it’s really just a pile, along with ribbons, bows and the tree skirt. Soft items, really. The stockings as well.


Maybe i love my label maker too much

The other three boxes are primarily ornaments.  I divided them up into three categories – vintage (which is what my tree this year was primarily decorated with), hallmarks (because my OCD family members kept all the boxes) and crafty, which are mostly things my brother and i bought for my parents or each other as children from our school’s annual Christmas Fair.

Each box is labelled, and i hope that will mean less searching for “that thing” i want.  I also labelled smaller boxes inside the larger, such as “to repair” and “mini ornaments”.  I also made sure to put all the loose hooks into a hard plastic container, so i can find them, and they won’t be tearing holes in plastic bags.

It turns out the local cub-scout pack is doing a fundraiser, and taking away Christmas trees for $10. I could load it into the car and take it to the drop off point for free, but the convenience (and that the money goes to support kids in our town) seems well worth it.  They will come tomorrow.

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