The following post is a continuation from my blog last week.
4. I do not make body specific number goals anymore.
At the beginning of every year, my sister and I write and share goal lists. I usually have categories such as financial, career, health etc. I used to always have number goals for my health. I wanted to be x amount body fat or weigh x amount by this date. I associated a certain weight or body fat with success. Ironically, these goals appeared on the list every single year for a long time. So either I had unrealistic goals as I was not achieving these numbers and maintaining or by setting a number goal, I was just continuing my quest/obsession to weigh a certain amount. Now, if I have any numbers associated with my health goals, they are performance driven such as running a 10k in under 55 min or increasing all my max lifts.
5. I do not plan when and what my next meal will be and therefore do not spend nearly as much time thinking about food.
These are game changers. I used to literally always be planning my next meal, usually while eating the meal prior. It was as if I could never live in the present and enjoy the meal I was eating because I was obsessing how that would affect my next meal. For example, when writing this, I was on a plane at 5:15 AM. I woke up at 2:30 AM and had coffee on the way to the airport and threw a few snacks in my bag in case I got hungry before I was able to get a real meal when I landed in California. I was not stressed about it. I will eat when I get hungry. In the past, I would have either packed a healthy breakfast (at 2 freakin AM!) or worst case scenario buy the healthiest thing I could find at the airport so that I would have food with me on the plane in case I got hungry during my 2 hour flight. I would need to make sure I had a meal with me because if I did not eat, then I might be starving when I landed and then not make the best choices and then probably overeat for that meal. Then I would not be hungry for my pre-planned snack but if I did not eat my snack at a certain time, then I might overeat at dinner and then I would be worried that eating too much, too late would mess me up the next day on my regimented eating plan. OMG. I read this now and kind of laugh but also feel embarrassment as this was seriously my mindset. So much time and energy that I want to spend doing other things.
6. I do not do food guilt anymore.
This has by far been the hardest but most significant mental switch for me. Gulit and often associated shame are brutal emotions. I was giving so much power to food that I would literally feel down on myself for consuming too much of this or that. I was associating my worth and self-value based on what I was putting in my mouth. I struggled being a fitness professional who was supposed to have this all figured out. How could I help my clients eat right and have a good relationship with food if I didn’t? I often felt like a fraud. Now, if I over consume or do not make the healthiest choices, I acknowledge the fact that I did not make the healthiest choice and I might not feel great later due to those choices and MOVE ON. I do not keep thinking about my choices or promise myself to workout extra hard or long or that I can only have salad and water the next day. I move on. This shift did not come easily and really did take years to master. I had to come to realization that one unhealthy meal or even one or a few days of unhealthy eating was not suddenly going to make me out of shape and gain 20lbs. I had to consciously decide to not let food have that much power and that I wanted to spend my time and energy focusing somewhere else, mainly my kids and family. Ironically, once I became good at implementing and practicing #1-#5 mentioned in this blog and not restricting myself anymore, the guilt started to diminish significantly. You know what also happened? I have maintained the same weight, the weight I was prior to my pregnancies and the weight I feel is appropriate for my height, genetics and body structure with significantly less effort than ever before.
Though my relationship with food has improved so dramatically there are still times I feel my old mindset creep in and I have to make an effort to not let my old habits and mindset take over. As someone who has struggled with food issues for years, this will probably always be some type of work in progress but work I am happy to do if it means not going back to where food and guilt ruled me.
How was your relationship with food changed over the years? I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below! If you are still struggling with your relationship with food or finding what works for you, shoot me an email! I would love to chat.