bad food habits

Things I Don’t Buy in the Grocery Store Anymore

Grocery shopping was one of my favorite things for a long time. I loved going to my favorite store and exploring all the new items and things I wanted to try. I ate a lot of processed foods and had a fistful of coupons to save money on them. The advice that most “lose weight” articles give is to stay in the perimeter of the grocery story: the produce section, dairy, meat and seafood and avoid the middle of the store. The middle of the store is where all these processed, not-so-good-for-you “foods” are found.

I’ve mentioned many, many times that I don’t deny myself things I want now, I just eat them in moderation. I call this my 90/10 Rule. I splurge, I eat treats, I drink beer and go out for pizza. But instead of gorging myself on massive amounts, I do so in moderation. 2 pieces of pizza and 1 beer are the perfect amount of food for a dinner out. I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel like I’m denying myself “Bad Foods” and I enjoy myself. This works for me and has worked well for 4 years now.

While I do not “deny” myself food or label foods as good or bad, there are a lot of things that I just don’t eat anymore. Part of that is because I know how many calories are in things now. It’s honestly difficult to enjoy something knowing that it has like 700 calories in it and it’s double the calories I’d normally eat for a meal.

One of the big things I avoid in the grocery store now is the candy/cookie/treat isle. Don’t get me wrong–I still eat candy and cookies and treats but I eat different kinds now. Instead of getting an entire box of Oreos and eating them all in one weekend, I get the take-n-bake type cookies and only bake a serving at a time. Just last night I made Michael and I some chocolate chip cookies: I baked 6 total and we enjoyed our little serving of cookies for dessert without the temptation to eat 5 more.

The other big one is the juice isle–frozen and bottled. I used to LOVE juice. Lemonade, guava juice, orange juice–I always had my freezer stocked with a few options because I usually had some kind of juice with breakfast every day. I’ve told you before that I had a bit of a “drinking problem.” Now? I rarely have that stuff on hand. When I get sick I usually buy a small single serving container of orange juice and every once in awhile I will make lemonade in the summertime. Usually the only thing I have in the house is the unsweetened iced tea I made.

Finally, the bakery. It’s almost always skipped in the grocery store. In the old days, I used to get the single serving slices of cake or cheesecake a few times a week. I told myself I was doing “good” because it was only one piece. Until I started buying several at a time and eating two slices of cheesecake from the bakery instead of one.

One thing I don’t avoid anymore (but did while I was trying to lose 100 pounds) was the ice cream isle. For 2 years I couldn’t eat ice cream because it was a trigger food–if it was in my house I’d eat all of it and probably in one sitting. After I maintained my weight loss for awhile I realized I was able to eat ice cream in moderation. I COULD have it in my house and eat a little bit here and there and NOT the entire thing!

Of course, now I eat the lower calorie ice creams and not the crazy treats that are high in calories. And my trip the ice cream isle does not happen every time I got to the grocery store! Once a month is about the average now.

You can do so well in the grocery store and make your way to the checkout with lots of fruits and veggies and seafood and other healthy options. And then be faced with this:

The last minute, impulse buy crap! Dang it! Too bad the grocery checkout lines don’t look more like this:

Oranges, apples, and other healthier options. Oh well, in a perfect world I guess. I do pretty well with resisting the impulse buy candy section.

QUESTION: What things in the grocery store do you avoid now?

K is for Keeping Sane

K is for Keeping Sane

The recent #fitblog chat reminded me that there are some other really important aspects to the whole weight-loss journey-thing. It isn’t always about food, counting calories or exercising. A big part of losing weight and keeping it off is also the emotions behind it.

The emotions involved in our weight loss can be positive, negative, they can inspire us to keep going, they can sabotage our efforts if we allow them to. Who here hasn’t let a really bad day lead to an excuse to overeat/overdrink/fall off the wagon of good health? I’m the first to admit that my moods can sometimes be detrimental to my healthy lifestyle. Over the last three years of maintaining my weight loss I’ve come to use exercise as an outlet for frustrations and negative emotions instead of turning to food like I used to. This is not to say I’m successful 100% of the time, but I do my best.

Q1) Do you think that emotions play into your healthiness journey?

Emotions affect how I EAT more than whether or not I exercise. The one thing I can guarantee in my life: I will find a way to work out and that will always make me feel a little better. Food rarely makes me feel better anymore.

It’s so hard to avoid the food trap sometimes. When life is good, Michael and I like to celebrate special occasion with a trip to a nice Portland restaurant. Maybe celebrate with some nice wine, split a dessert we’d normally not eat…And when life hands me lemons I’ve often turned to comfort food to make me feel better. Happy or sad, food is often the choice. It doesn’t have to be though.

Q2) What do you do to take care of the mental side of your health?

I am doing much better with the mental aspect of weight loss and maintaining. I try really hard not to beat myself up if I “slip.” I remind myself that it’s JUST ONE DAY. It’s NOT the end of the world. It’s NOT going to derail everything I have worked for. This works most of the time (of course I have my moments).

Going scale-free helped a lot. I was less obsessed with the number on the scale when I didn’t see it every day or every week. It was on my mind less. When I go back to the scale it also reminds me how negatively it impacts my life. I don’t need to see that number. I know if my eating has been out of control, or if I’ve gained because of how my clothes fit. My strength and fitness are more important than that stupid number. And it’s better for my mental health if I don’t weigh myself often.

Q3) Do you feel healthier emotionally when you work out?

YES! As a reformed-couch potato that was morbidly obese and used food to soothe every emotion, I’ve grown to love exercise. Exercise was a healthier outlet for me and it worked. It got the emotions out that I was feeling and didn’t want to face.

Stress tends to build up in my body and do nasty things to me like cause colds, illness, twitchy eye-ball, insomnia…the list goes on. The biggest stress-reliever for me is swimming. Swimming never causes me stress or injury or anxiety, the water is relaxing and I can zone out. Perfect.

Also, when I was commuting to work by bike this summer, I noticed that whatever work stress I had that day disappeared on my bike ride home. It helped a lot.

Q4) Besides exercise what do you to to keep mentally “fit”?

This is where I struggle. Sometimes I wonder if I have substituted exercise for food as something to soothe/numb/fix my emotions. I also struggle with the fact that the medications I took for so long kind of stunted my emotional growth. My emotions are often right under the surface, ready and raw.

I don’t think there’s any shame in therapy; in fact I think everyone in the world should be in therapy to learn new tools for emotional/spiritual growth. Learning ways to deal with stress, how to communicate raw emotions more effectively can only make us better people.  Therapy helps me vent the emotions that exercise can’t exorcise and I’ve learned some good coping mechanisms that are not food!

QUESTION: So how would you answer these questions?
A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping *