I have been open with how much my relationship with my body and food has changed since having kids. Recently, with lots of travel and my exercise and sleep schedule being a bit off, I have been reflecting with gratitude on how different my relationship with food really is. And though there are times when my old behaviors want to creep back in, I am sometimes surprised, but also proud on how far I have come. Below are a few ways I know my relationship with food has changed for the better.
*Once I started writing on this topic, I just kept writing and writing so decided to break this blog into two posts. Check back next week for Part II!
- I do not count anything anymore.
For years, especially when I was trying to be ‘good,’ I would record my food in a notebook or food journal. I would try to count calories and macros as I thought that would help me stay on track and reach my goals. Not only was it exhausting to write down everything I ate, it was ludicrous to think that my recording and calorie counting was accurate. I am not a fan of calorie counting or macro counting for many reasons (you can read my thoughts here from a past blog a few years ago) but it is virtually impossible to be accurate. However, I am not completely against food journaling if you are trying to see patterns or figure out a way of eating that might work for you. I do think it can be helpful in the short term to see where your strengths and weaknesses are and I always have my clients complete a three day food recall. But in the long term, I do not think it teaches you how to eat mindfully and can definitely become a bit of an obsession. I still of course read labels and pay attention to what I am eating but I honestly have no idea how many calories or macros I eat each day. I will also probably never keep a food journal again unless I feel it is medically necessary. I have learned to eat when I am hungry, not overeat about 98% of the time and what foods I like and make me feel good.
2. I do not dread nor get overly excited for social events because of the food.
I am a very social person and I love going to parties and different events. However, when it came to the food, I had two very different attitudes. I used to get a bit of food anxiety if I knew there was going to be a lot of delicious food because I would feel that I would not be able to control myself (due to the fact I was always trying to restrict myself). On the other hand, I would be excited that I was going to give myself a free pass to eat anything I wanted and I looked forward to a few hours where I was not restricting. If I did eat whatever I wanted, I would then feel guilt and often shame. Now, I just see these events for what they are, activities to be with my friends and family and chat and have fun. Of course, if I know there is going to be good food I look forward to eating it (our family dinners are amazing since my sister is a professional chef 🙂 ) but I am not filled with pre-emptive guilt, thinking I will eat everything in site. I enjoy myself while still making mostly healthy choices. I do not eat everything and anything but I eat at least a little bit of everything I want.
I love birthday parties and cake. I almost always at least have some of the treats served.
3. I do not look up menus prior to eating at a restaurant for health reasons.
I love trying new restaurants and luckily Denver has an awesome food scene. I used to always check the menu before I would go to make sure I felt there was something healthy that I could eat. And one of those tried and true ridiculous ‘health’ tips on eating out is to look at the menu before you go and decide what you are going to eat when you get there. And make sure you do not change your mind or be tempted by something less healthy. Now, if that works for you, great. But the amount of time and energy and the thought of me deciding what I want to eat three days before I go is so silly to me now but I did it for years. Now, I really know I can pretty much eat anywhere and make pretty good choices. I might still hop on the restaurant’s website to check out the place and see if the menu appeals to me but you can bet I am not deciding what I want to eat in advance.
in my next post, I will talk about the other 3 ways my relationship with food has changed that are even more significant.