An Excuse to Eat

You should hear the kind of rationalization that goes on in my head sometimes. You may read my blog and think I have this weight loss and maintenance thing down! Most of the time I do. But I’m not perfect and I can be just as bad as the next guy who struggles with their weight. Trust me.

One example I can give comes from the time period where I was trying to lose weight. I was probably at 60-70 pounds lost so far and not far from reaching my goal weight. I don’t know what was really going on during this time period that triggered this but I went through a phase of midnight eating. I’m not proud of it. I’m glad I lived alone at the time so I didn’t have to justify to my partner why I was stuffing my face with rice krispie treats at 1 a.m. but maybe that would have been a deterrent. Anyway, I went through this phase and for some reason THOSE CALORIES DIDN’T COUNT. Don’t ask me how I rationalized that. For some reason, anything I ate between midnight and 2 a.m. didn’t count and I didn’t record it in my food journal. Totally bad. I was sabotaging myself (and this is probably one of the reasons I had such a long plateau around this weight).

Think about the last time you ate something and didn’t lot it in your food journal. Why didn’t it “count” for you?

Justified

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I use the word justified?

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Sorry, I’m not talking about Raylon Givens when I used the word “justified.”  I’m talking about all those times we ate something that self-sabotaged our progress and justified our reason for doing so. I am not immune to this! I do it all the time. When I’m cooking dinner with Michael and I nibble and snack and bite on random things while we cook. I’m much better now at including those calories because you BET they count!

“I ran an extra mile today.”

“Work sucked today.”

“I’ve eaten so good all week long!” <–So why don’t we KEEP eating good?!?!

“Swimming in the pool actually burns MORE calories than I think it does because of the temperature!”

The list can go on and on and on as to why we make allowances for the extra snacking. The question to ask ourselves is this: why am I keeping myself from being successful? That damn handful of Reeses’s Pieces don’t taste nearly as good for the 20 seconds I’ll eat them, as reaching my goal will feel!

Entitled

I think this is the biggest trap we all fall into and I think a lot of it has to do with our culture and rituals as a family. How many times have you felt entitled to eat? What I mean by this is the Christmas cookies, the pumpkin pie and extra stuffing at Thanksgiving, the chocolate on Valentine’s Day…what about Superbowl? Or the 4th of July? There are excuses year round we can use to make ourselves feel entitled to overeating.

Check out this post: Emotional Eating: Do You Feel Entitled to Eat? Emotional eating opens up a whole bigger can of worms.

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It’s a vicious cycle. I can’t tell you how many times I got sucked into this cycle when I was a binge eater. Eating half a pizza by myself followed with a carton of ice cream and then wondering why I feel sick and miserable…only to feel even more discouraged and disgusted with myself which leads to more comfort eating.

BREAK THE CYCLE! Instead of focusing on the foods I couldn’t eat or beating myself up for mistakes I made, I focused on my goal and my timeline and I changed my thinking to the positive: I CAN DO THIS. I can lose weight. I can resist the temptation of junk food. I KNOW I CAN. I said it over and over until I believed it and it got easier to resist the junk food.

I’ll Start on Monday

I have a friend that falls into this category. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been starting a new diet on Monday. As a result of this, she often binges before the diet starts. This is a hard habit to get into because not only does it imply that we’ll be starting a super restrictive diet that we’re most likely going to fail at, we’re probably packing on extra pounds before we even start!

What worked for me to stop this mentality was to realize that I was not on a diet, I was changing my life and creating a new lifestyle. This wasn’t temporary and I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I was changing EVERYTHING. That helped me stay “on the wagon” when I was tempted to fall off and just start over again. And you know what? Once I started losing a lot of weight, I realized that I had worked really really hard for that success and I didn’t want to mess up and fail! I wanted to keep moving forward.

Don’t wait til Monday. Start today. You’re worth it!

Change

Why not have the reason to eat be “I’m hungry”?

Simple, isn’t it? It’s a hard thing to retrain our minds to listen to what our bodies are telling us. What helped me was eating more whole, natural foods. Also, running and biking helped me look at food as FUEL. Once I changed my mindset to wanting to eat the RIGHT fuel for my body to succeed in athletics, it became super easy to recognize the right signals.

It’s not going to become easy overnight, and it will certainly be something you have to work at. But isn’t it worth it? I thought it was!

QUESTION: Do you make excuses for your eating?

Tastebuds

I’m sharing that comment because Daphne made an excellent point and also got me thinking. Can you retrain your tastebuds? Short answer: for sure!

When Daphne described how she weened herself off of putting a lot of sugar in her coffee, it reminded me of just how much I had to ween myself off of sugars, and not just sugars but the way junk food tasted.

That junky food tasted good to me. I was used to drinking regular sodas packed with calories and sugar. Making the change to diet soda was a shock. It was so gross. I hated it and I had to choke it down. Why I didn’t just give up soda entirely is beyond me, but I eventually just got used to the taste of diet soda. Once I got used to the way diet soda tasted, real soda was a sugar shock. Now I drink mostly sparkling water. I got to the point where diet soda made me feel kind of sick (additives and other junk in it) and the sparkling water tasted better.

Same goes for the coffee. I’ve described my go-to coffee dessert many times but for you new readers here it is: white chocolate mocha with caramel syrup and whipped cream. MAN! DELICIOUS! Also a sugar shock and an even bigger calorie shock. Now? I drink black coffee with creamer in it. It’s less than 100 calories and while it’s not quite the same as what I used to get, it does okay. It sounds to me like Daphne has a handle on her coffee and sugar ratio. 🙂 It’s a big change to the taste buds, though, and it definitely takes time to adjust.

You MUST give yourself time to adjust. It may seem weird at first. The food might not taste right. But eventually your body adapts.

When I was trying to lose the weight, I made the switch from high fat, junk food to diet food that was low in calorie. The foods had a lot of fake things in them–so much so that I’d hesitate to call some of it FOOD. Once I got used to how the fake stuff tasted, I didn’t mind it too much. What I did notice, though, is that is wasn’t as satisfying. I think there is a correlation between cravings and hunger with the TYPE of food we eat.

“As fat promotes fullness, if a person is insensitive to fat their body will not send out signals telling them they are full and need to stop eating.” (source)

That quote is from a longer article that has some interesting information is you care to read it. It went on to share some of the results of a study and how people taste fat and what it does to their hunger. It was interesting but inconclusive.

For the last year or so, I’ve been eating more real foods. I have REAL mayonnaise in my fridge instead of the fake stuff that was 40 calories. Sure it’s double the calories, but a little bit of real mayo goes a long way. I don’t need as much. It tastes good and I feel satisfied. I’ve also been adding avocado to meals. I noticed a huge change in my hunger. The avocados are so satisfying and filling, and I don’t need to eat much of it to get that benefit.

Looking into this topic, I found a few articles that were interesting and worth a read:

Adjusting Your Tastebuds, Part One

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Taste Buds

10 Tips To Get Those Taste Buds Working As They Should

So how do you change your tastebuds?

I think the first step is to some sort of cleanse. Get rid of the unhealthy high fats (i.e. junk food) and fast food items and make some small changes today. Buy a bag of apples and eat one for a snack every day. Just get into the habit and even if you don’t crave fruits and vegetables like you do the junk food, give it time for your body and tastebuds to adjust. It won’t happen overnight. (I think it took me about 2 weeks of healthier eating to get used to it.)

Next, try things you’ve never had before. For a really long time I told myself I hated Brussels sprouts and asparagus. I don’t know why I thought that because those two things weren’t something I ever really ate. The veggies in my house growing up were frozen corn, green beans, and peas and carrots. My dad hated anything “green” so our veggie exposure was pretty limited. Guess what? I gave it a try a few years ago and I LOVE asparagus and Brussels sprouts! They are my two favorite vegetables now.

Look at labels when you go grocery shopping. How many ingredients are in that item? Are they things you can pronounce? Is there a bunch of added sugar or MSG? Maybe it’s time to start cooking certain things from scratch to avoid the additives.

QUESTION: Have you noticed your tastebuds changing?