If this is your first time reading this series you might want to read these posts first:
As I write this, we’re having our kitchen remodeled. When we were purchasing the new appliances, we thought that our kitchen hood vented through the side of the house and bought a new one that would do the same.
We were wrong. Our old hood has no outside vent. (I know, you’re thinking what does this have to do with food? Keep reading…I’ll tie it all together.)
I had a problem. The old hood is black and ugly. All the new appliances are stainless. I couldn’t keep the old hood. I needed a solution.
Possibilities? Well, I could:
A) put the entire remodel on hold while I waited ten days to have a very ugly recirculation kit shipped
B) find someone to install the new hood by cutting a hole through the side of the house
C) call my husband while he’s busy at work and have him to handle it
I went for option b. The first option wasn’t practical. The second option was more expensive but the solution could be implemented immediately. And, the third solution – though I liked this option the best I know that I didn’t need to cause a problem for him, too. Joe’s busy.
Looking at Your Food Behavior & the Next Step
Last week I talked about spending some time looking at your relationship with food by writing down what you ate and when. I suggested you noticed any feelings you had while eating and write those down too.
If you were willing to do this, you have started the same process that changed my relationship with food. Congratulations! That took some real courage, courage most people don’t have. So, here’s the next step:
Open up that notebook and start reading through your notes. Take a red marker and circle all of the problem areas.
Did you eat too much late at night? Did you eat when you were stressed, angry, sad, bored? Did you go to two different stores to buy your food of choice so that no one would know how much you eat? What about fast food? Do you drive through and gobble up your food, then go home and eat dinner? Did you hide how much you ate? Did you just eat all day long, never really being hungry?
Or, maybe you left certain things off the list hoping you wouldn’t have to admit to them? (I did that!)
What food did you have the biggest problem with? Is there a commonality between the foods?
Once you have gone through and circled all the problems, get a clean sheet of paper and make two lists. Title one list “Problem Behaviors with Food” and the other list “Problem Foods.”
My first experience with this exercise was gut-wrenching. It forced me to finally see in black and white that my behavior was self-sabotaging. Some of them included:
- Buying a sub, a big bag of pretzels, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and a 2 liter of diet soda and locking myself in the bedroom when I was sad and eating all of it. (For some reason the diet soda negated everything else.)
- Sitting down to do some paperwork with a 2 pound bag of animal crackers and eating the entire bag without knowing it, and never really feeling full
- Never letting anyone see me eat large quantities of food – I hid when I ate
- Trying to ‘cancel’ the large amounts of food I ate by not eating enough, which always resulted in me eating too much once again because I was so darn hungry
- Standing with the refrigerator or freezer door open, shoveling food in my mouth, thinking about what I want to eat
- Getting a normal portion of crackers or pretzels, eating them all, and then going back again and again for more until I’d eaten at least half a bag
I also noticed that the foods I consistently had problems with were those containing sugar, flour, and white potatoes. Once I started eating them, there was clearly a lack of control. I didn’t do this with fruit, veggies, or meats.
These are not at all fun things to look at. It’s even harder to admit to another person. But, in the end, these are the old behaviors that were making me so miserable. Ironically, it took this exercise for me to see the connection. Before this, I had no conscious awareness of my insane food behavior.
Bringing It All Together
Let’s go back to my example with the vent hood. I didn’t blame the salesman. I didn’t tell myself I was stupid for not checking how the vented. I didn’t get angry at my husband nor did I make the problem bigger by calling him to fix it. Once I knew what the problem was, though, I could look at it, find a solution, and go on with my day.
Keep this exercise very simple and mechanical just I like I did with the vent hood. Don’t get caught up in your feelings. Simply look at the problems you’re having and then make your list. Don’t worry about weight loss right now. That will come.
If you skipped this step, go back and do it this week. Don’t assume that you ‘know.’ If you knew, you’d be doing something different. The key here is awareness, which is always the very first step. You can’t develop healthy eating habits until you have identified the real problem.
Bookmark this post, come back, and share your insights as the week progresses. Next week we’ll talk about why diets never worked for me.
The recipe I leave you with this week is Fresh Cantaloupe with Double Berry Sauce and Mascarpone Cream. It’s light, simple, and delicious.
To Your Balance and Freedom,