my relationship with food

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food. I love food, don’t get me wrong, but I hate feeling guilty after eating foods that I’ve restricted myself from. It used to just be sweets like cake and cookies, but over the past year the list has stretched to foods high in sugar and carbs. For example, I used to make pasta at least two nights a week. I don’t even buy it anymore. While these changes are good, I feel like I’ve been a little too strict. If I eat pasta when I’m eating out, I have to deal with the emotional roller coaster that comes afterwards.

Hunger Directed Eating

Have your cake and your skinny jeans tooI have a pretty good grip on what I’m should eat and how to exercise to live a healthy lifestyle, but I can’t shake the self deprecation after indulging in a treat…or pasta. I don’t want to be obsessed over every calorie that I consume, I’ve even stopped food tracking (I felt it was time to take the training wheels off), so I turned to books. I started reading How to Have Your Cake and Skinny Jeans Too by Josie Spinardi, and so far, I really enjoy it.

Josie’s approach is simple: eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full (she calls it Hunger Directed Eating). I don’t know how something so simple can be so difficult, but her explanation on how it works makes total sense. She and I share the same philosophy of “diets don’t work,” and she has made me realize that I was technically on a diet without even knowing it, because I had been restricting myself from so many “bad” foods.

This is what I’ve taken away so far, and what I hope to accomplish:

  • Only eat when I’m hungry.

  • Eat slowly, and stop eating when I feel full.

  • Only eat at the table. Not in front of the tv, computer, etc.

  • Practice mindful eating. Appreciate each bite.

  • Listen to my body and eat what I’m craving. (only if I’m hungry)

Non-dieters already do these things without even knowing it. They’ve been naturally thin their whole lives and they trust their body to signal when they need fuel, and when they are satisfied. Unfortunately, some of us have lost touch with this ability. We obsess over what we eat and what we don’t eat, and when we restrict, it only makes us want that specific thing more. When we lose control, we end up binging on the forbidden foods. Josie’s approach reverses this effect, and guides us to get back in touch with our body’s natural ways.

What are your thoughts on diets? Have you ever tried a restricting diet, only to lose control?

11 thoughts on “my relationship with food

  1. I used to “diet” all the time and would have minimal results, and only end up gaining back what I’ve lost cause I felt like I was depriving myself all the time. Last year I began tracking my food, and I at first cut out a lot of foods, but slowly learned that if I was more in control how much I ate, I didn’t have to deprive myself. I lost about 15 pounds doing that. What really helped was reading up on foods that not only taste good, but provide your body with energy and foods that promote fat burn…I began reading books by Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels and I stopped “dieting” all together and just began to eat better quality foods, while still indulging once in a while (not overdoing it), and not allowing myself to feel guilty if I had a bad day or two. Since making all these changes in january, I am now at almost a 30 pound weight loss (total, since last January). Sometimes I feel like eating healthy and correctly is almost a mental experience too, the guilt can really take over and affect you. Same with stress…I find it hardest to stay on track when I’m stressed.

    I love this post, because I feel like you took the thoughts right from my head!

    • That’s awesome, good for you! And I agree, eating healthy is definitely mental. I think it might actually be mostly mental, so this book I found is a great tool in helping with the psychology of overeating and eating right. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Every time I tried to put myself on a “diet” in the past I would set myself for failure because that day I would sometimes eat worse. Now I just try to eat healthy, I look at it and ask myself do I really want to eat that or put that in my mouth.

  3. I recently read josie’s book and it made a lot of sense. My only issue after applying her approach is that i often undereat if i only eat when i’m physically hungry (i.e. stomach rumbling, empty feeling, increased sense of smell) and i often end up with a headache and feeling drained and dizzy by 4pm due to eating too little. It’s only been about a week since i’ve started though so i might just be going through an adjustment period. After reading her book though, i realized how obsessed i was with calorie tracking before, its such a waste of time and energy.

    • Oh gosh, I have the opposite of that problem! But I agree, calorie tracking isn’t necessary unless you’re just learning how to manage your portions. I’ll be looking into more books similar to this to compare other approaches to overcoming overeating.

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