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How to Deal with a Bad Food Day

Today, I had a really rough meeting.  To give you an idea, the meeting started at ten. Two hours later, at noon, we broke for lunch, and we still weren’t done. After coming back from lunch at one, I was released at three.

So, yeah.

My coworkers and I went out to lunch at a bar across the street from us, and I ordered not one but two bowls of french fries as my coworkers lifted their eyebrows and sipped on their alcohol.

It was delicious. But, of course, the aftermath was not. The food high from the fries got me through the next two hours of my meeting, but it is now nearly 8PM and I am still full. This means I ate a LOT.

I have written before about how we ought not to excuse our stress and emotional eating. In that same post, I said that we should not wallow in guilt, either. How do we strike a balance? How can I successfully hold myself accountable for my emotional eating without making myself feel guilty?

Dilute the poison

Often times when I eat starches, especially when I indulge in them, I feel like I’ve eaten a fistful of poison. It sits heavy in my stomach, and that heavy feeling keeps me from moving forward from the slip up. Sometimes I wish I could throw up. Not necessarily because I feel like that’s a great way to lose weight (hint: it’s not), but because I feel like I have put something bad in my body, and my body wants it out.

I totally steal from istock

You can’t undo your mistake, but you can help “water-down” both the logged feeling and the guilt feelings. Two ways to do this:

1) Drink a lot of water — and I mean a lot. Keep a bottle by your side and suck or sip on it until its gone. Then go get another one. There isn’t really a “counter-effect”when you drink water, but drinking water is good for your body. If you’re consistently doing something you know is good for you, it can help mitigate the full carb-logged feeling and help alleviate some of the guilt.

2) Exercise! — Even after I had finished my french fries, I still really wanted to go for a run. If it had been an option for me, I might have done that in the first place. Exercising can help work off the loaded, heavy feeling as you work off the calories you ingested. Additionally, exercise is a great stress reliever and can help you eliminate the shitty feeling that made you go eat in the first place in addition to helping you shake the guilt of going to eat in the first place.

Reflect on the Problem

I ate the two bowls of french fries in full knowledge of what I was doing. I knew that I was stressed, that there was nothing I could do about the situation, and felt I needed a prop to get me through the rest of the day. That made me feel justified in eating the fries, and ultimately why I chomped them down. If you don’t know why you’re stress eating, that’s the best place to start — why are you doing it?

If you do know why, but are doing it anyway, welcome to my boat. Let’s explore some more ways to reflect on the problem.

Often times when I go to eat bad things, it is because I feel justified in some way. Today it was because I “knew” I “needed” it to get through the rest of my day. Both of those assumptions — that I needed the food and that I knew I needed it — should come under some pretty heavy examination. Did I really need the french fries? Am I not a strong enough person to deal with the stress without having to dope myself up with endorphins? Absolutely, if I am awesome enough to handle my own social awkwardness without depending on alcohol, I can certainly handle a little (a lot) of incompetence without having to binge on fries.

Find Solutions

This is something I highly suggest talking about with someone else, more than any of the others. Just like attempting to find solutions for problems in any other realm of your life, you can’t always do it yourself. Find someone you trust, and work with them.

I haven’t gone through this part of the process myself yet, but when I can get my fiance to respond to my gchats, I am hoping to explore the following question with him; “If I were in the exact same situation tomorrow, what could I do differently?” I am going to tackle this idea of feeling justified in going off paleo, and ways to head that feeling off. I am not 100% sure what the best way to approach this is, but I am confident that with his help, I can work it out.

Where you’ve been, where you’re going

Finally, as Hermione says, it’s important to keep perspective. You need to remember where you’ve been and the progress you’ve made to keep yourself from feeling guilty. You need to remind yourself of where you’re going so you don’t get complacent.

I have been trying to do better about this lately. On the my letter of love to myself, I have a chart keeping track of how much weight I’ve lost — 42 pounds!! — and I need to remind myself of that sometimes.

Additionally, visual stimulation helps. When I went and looked back through this blog, I was shocked to come across these two pictures:

I cannot believe that this was me...

and

And this.

I looked at those and then quickly thumbed back to my Facebook change to see a pic taken of me last week, and I am amazed with what I’ve done the past six months.

I'm the one with the boobs.

I need to keep that in mind to keep myself from slipping into the guilt-eating death cycle of doom. I need to remember how awesome my trip has been, the benefits the paleo has brought to my life, and the great successes that I have had. I don’t drink soda anymore, and really have kicked back tea and juice to “moderation.” I am HUGELY more aware of what I am eating, and more importantly why.

But I still have progress to go. I want to get a manifesto going of what kind of person I want to be physically, so that I have something tangible to work towards. That way, I can keep an eye on my future as well as my past.

~*~

I feel much better after writing this post, and I hope you do too, if you’re having similar issues. For those of you who are also dieting and struggle with emotional eating, how do you bounce back after a relapse?

Some more thoughts

I’m hella sleepy, so this may end up being a short post, but there are a few more things I want to get off my chest.

I am not really feeling better since my “invisible no more” post. Usually when I talk about things, it helps me be aware of them and helps me fix things, but I am having trouble getting over this hill. I am not really sure what to do. Perhaps it is just a feeling that will fade in time.

At the moment, I am really struggling to find reasons to keep going with the weight loss. I started doing this for health reasons, and that is mostly why I am doing this, but I have to work on my mental health, too. And if I’m just  not comfortable in my body, I don’t know if keeping attempting to change it is a good idea.

But perhaps those are just excuses. I think maybe they might be.

The fact remains that I am hitting a mental block, here, and I need to break by it. So I’ve been thinking of reasons for me to focus on to keep doing paleo.

Reasons to keep doing Paleo

1) I’m at 155lbs, only 6 pounds away from being a healthy weight.

Oh good lord, I am SO CLOSE. I really don’t feel like I can stop now. It’s so intense to think about how far I have come in so short of a time. If I gave up before I got into the 140s, I don’t think I could ever forgive myself. I think this is the chief reason why I want to, and still will, keep on this diet and lifestyle.

2) I’ve been happier, generally, since starting.

It’s really easy to get bogged down in the feeling of being oggled, but I have to remember a lot of the great emotional benefits I have gotten from eating paleo. Key to this is that I’ve pretty much cut out my binge eating, and almost entirely negated my stress eating. These are HUGE ACHIEVEMENTS, and I want to keep these habits.

One thing I am really proud of is that when I have been breaking in the paleo, I haven’t binged. Yes, I’ve had ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s, DQ, but it’s been like… a fraction of the container that I get. I have a control now that I didn’t before, and I can only get better.

3) I’m really close to a normal bra size…

I had a really disappointing bra shopping trip yesterday, in which it was revealed that I was a 32DDD, and I’m a “big” 32 at that. If I can get down to a normal weight, perhaps that will come off of my bust and get me down into a standard size bra.

4) I don’t want to give up.

I’m not a quitter, and I realize the ONLY way I will have failed in this endeavor is if I give up, and that’s just… not an option.  If I give up, if I let myself gain weight, then it really is sacrificing control over my body.

If I stop now, in a way, I let those people win (even though it’s not really what they wanted). My body is mine, and I’m taking ownership of it, gods damn it. And if someone wants to stare at me, fine. If I notice, and it makes me uncomfortable, then it’s their fault, not mine, and I have the right to tell them to find a spot on the wall and stare at it, cause if they don’t, I’ll kick their face into it.

Boo  yeah.

Considering Paleo

I  have a lot of thoughts and not a lot of structure to them. Let’s see what we can do with this.

If my weight loss trend continues as it has been, I will have reached my halfway point for my weight loss goal. That mind-blowing concept aside, it is time I started to consider what I would do after I reach my weight loss goal.

First and foremost, I have vowed to myself  ‘never again.’ Gaining this weight back is not an option, and will not happen, so going back to my old diet is not an option either.  With that out of the way, I  have my biggest question to ponder: do I want to continue on with the paleo, and turn it into a lifestyle instead of just a “diet?”

Clearly, I do  not know about this. There are some things that, after having been on paleo, that I never want to ingest ever ever again: soda. There are things that I don’t really miss: pasta. There are things I have discovered don’t taste as good: chips (some), mayonnaise.  I suspect I will find a lot of other things just don’t taste as good as they used to:  bread, french fries, pasta. But there are also some things I do miss (and, sometimes, simutaneously am revolted by): pizza, fettuccine alfredo, rolls, biscuits, sandwiches. Need I go on?

Part of me wonders and suspects if I just have a psychological need/want for these items. That I remember that eating these things made me feel good, or that they tasted good, and so I want them psychologically. Even, as in the case of my chip binges, if I don’t think that they taste good anymore, I wonder sometimes if I have a certain psychological addiction to these things.

So, naturally, going off paleo, even if it’s just a little bit, I am worried is going to lead to a slippery slope where I don’t intend to, but eventually do, get back to my old diet.

But I have also talked very often, on this blog and to people who have spoken with  me, how much I love the food that I eat. This is still true, also (when my fridge is full…). This begs the question that if I am satisfied with what I am eating, do not go hungry and do not really yearn for very many other things, why would I consider going off of paleo?

Well.

To break down this dichotomy, I’m actually gonna sort things out, both for you, my humble readers, and for myself. So let us begin.

Fears about maintaining Paleo

This also covers things I just don’t really like.

1) I’m not really sure if I “buy” it.

Yes. Sorry Tim Ferris, Mark Sisson, Dr. Cordian. I’m  not really drinking your kool-aid.  Eating Paleo has been excellent for my weight loss and for exploring different foods, but I really don’t buy that it’s the cure for everything from acne to cancer.  I’m really not sure that I even buy your basic argument — that humans didn’t have time enough to evolve to digest grains properly. 10,000 years is a long time, and while it is true that evolution is generally seen to take even longer, that is a common misconception and based on a misunderstanding of what precisely evolution is or does. Additionally, one could argue that we had already evolved to be able to eat grains before the agricultural revolution, simply by becoming omnivores. Omnivores, as pigs show us, can eat a LOT of stuff.

For that matter, I  have not seen an appreciable difference in my energy levels or general health since starting this diet. I feel the same, with the exception of my improved fitness from Taekwondo, which has more to do with TKD than the diet, IMO.

2) I am/was afraid that I would keep losing weight till I was unhealthy

Through  much explanation from Avi and Natalie today, I have… sorta… begun to understand/accept that this won’t happen. Basically, my fear was this: I  have been losing weight at 2.5 lbs per week for the past two months. I am/was afraid that if I continued on the paleo that I would continue to lose weight in a way that wasn’t healthy.

In case you were wondering what awesome looks like in graphical form.

Apparently this is not true, and I believe what they told me, but I am not sure if I could explain it back. This is something that I am going to talk to Coach about tomorrow. Perhaps with a third explanation it will make more sense.

3) It’s expensive*

I’ve been over this with you guys before — I spend about $200/month on groceries, and this is largely when I’m just feeding myself. If it takes me a while to get a job, or if I am living off  internship money, especially this summer, somehow buying grassfed free range beef who have had a lifetime of counseling service seems less important. I am gonna see if I can get that down some, but yeah.

4) I like bread*

I especially like potatoes.

*These two are important more within the context of the first. If I really thought it was THAT beneficial to my health, I wouldn’t have a problem dropping the dollars on good food, and I wouldn’t have an issue giving up foods that I like. It would just be something that I wanted to integrate as a part of my life to be a healthier and better person.

On that note…

Reasons to keep on Paleo

Paleo is pretty nommy.

Noms.

1) Parts of it fit in with  my life philosophy

I abhor foreign chemicals in the body, for a plethora of reasons that I don’t want to go into right now. I have been called a teetotaler in the past, but I guess I identify more strongly with the straight-edge movement (without the hardcore punk part…). With the exception of tea, I don’t consume caffeine, take pain killers, drink or do any kind of drug. I don’t take hormonal birth control and prefer the “stay in bed and rest” method of getting better.

I  have made exceptions to this in the past. For instance, when I had swine flu and had a fever of almost 103, you bet for damn sure I popped some Aleve.

However, I know that the vast majority of foods that I ate — especially my meat — is filled with chemicals, hormones, and other bad things. I have not had an opportunity to rectify this in the past because of parental and financial situations, but I think going paleo has given me an opportunity to shun processed foods from my diet. While I might not feel a physical difference, I do feel a spiritual one, and this does mean a lot to me.

2) I love the food I’m eating

I’ve talked about this in the past, but going paleo has opened up amazing doors to cooking, improving my relationship with food, and generally eating more tasty things (I think my favorite discovery has been bell peppers —  look for more of those after my grocery trip). I discovered today that mayonnaise is a poor, poor substitute for hot sauce and pretty  much shirked my “need” for it in my diet.

I want the opportunity to try more things, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to do so without my diet being “crowded out” by breads and grains.

3) Slippage

As I alluded to earlier, I am very afraid that if I get off of paleo that I will fall into my old habits: stress eating being the key of these things. Eating paleo has  made me conscious but not hyper-conscious of what I am eating, and that has been good for me. It has also been very good for me emotionally — instead of eating my feelings away, I talk about them. This may be a pretty awful thing for my friends and my boyfriend, but it’s been remarkably healthy for me.  However, I am afraid that if I “allow” breads, grains, and dairy back into my diet, or any combination of these that my awareness will slip and before you know it I’m back up to 185.

Never again.

So these are some of the things I have been wrestling with. Needless to say, I am very surprised that I am conflicted about this. I expected to be chomping at the bit to get off paleo, but I am genuinely conflicted about it.

If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations. You rock. I’d appreciate any input.

Stress, frustrations, and.. other things

Maybe it’s the weather, but I am feeling very down today, and I was yesterday too.  Since one of the main contributing factors to my weight is stress eating, I figure it might be fruitful to try and express some of the feelings rather than keeping them to myself.

Trying to eat paleo at my school is really…impossible. I went into the dining hall yesterday for lunch and the only thing I could eat was chicken soup, and even it had potatoes in it that I had to eat around. I ended up meeting up with my friend Annalise and had a grilled chicken breast over a bed of spinach, but there’s not much I can do about that. I might have the same thing again today. It’s frustrating, even though I have a sense of pride from walking past the pasta and the french fries. Suzie over at Waste and Taste is bringing her lunch to school, which sounds like a great idea … if you can afford that sort of thing, which, I can’t.

Which brings me to the greatest grump-factor in my life at the moment. My school, again in its brilliance, has constructed a situation in which I don’t get paid till March. It is not as if I am going to run out of money, but I still don’t like pulling from my savings, and I don’t like the fact that I can’t spend my birthday money, even though I know that depositing it is the responsible thing to do. I was really happy when I built up my savings last semester, and now that seems to be crumbling at my feet, and I’m frustrated with that.

I’m also switching banks soon, so that is something else I need/have to worry about.

My classes on Monday and Wednesday look to be good, with my T/Th not quite as much. Fiction workshop just makes me feel very self-conscious, and the professor makes me feel uncomfortable. For some reason, I had forgotten these things from when I took intro to fiction with her. I have yet to figure out how I can manage that class and that professor, but I think I need to figure it out soon else my self-esteem will take a nose dive. haha.

As much as I don’t want to admit it and I don’t want to think about it, the fact that I haven’t heard back from the internship that I want this summer worries me. It makes sense for me to be worried because I’ve kinda got most of my eggs in this basket, and it’s past the time that last year they said I had made it to the second round. But at the same time, the application deadline hasn’t even passed yet, so I really, really, need to chill.

^^ That is something that I’m embarrassed about being worried about.

I’m also really sick and tired of waking up and having to blow my gods-loving brains out due to the sickness. I can’t WAIT for that to be done.

Now that I’m done bitching …

I’m going to try some of that “positive thinking” that I have said I was going to try.

First and foremost, my boss just brought me a smoothie.

Hell yes. Neta’s the best.

I don’t think I’m technically supposed to have it because I’m “drinking calories,” but I have said to myself that I am going to make an exception for smoothies, as long as they don’t have dairy in them. Anyway, it is tasty, and my boss is awesome. End of story.

I haven’t written about it here yet, but on Monday I broke my board in Taekwondo, which, if you remember, did not go well the first time. I also got my yellow belt!!! 😀 So I am actually pretty stoked about that. I will have to get pictures up here soon, but I can’t at the moment.

I have some other good news that is not yet widely known, largely because I don’t want to jinx it. So I won’t write about it here, but I am thinking about it in my head. Mmmmm…. yay. 😀

I have a wonderful, excellent boyfriend who loves me and is willing to let me borrow his laptop for school, since my netbook’s battery is having issues.

My best friend has been a lot more present this semester, owing to the fact that we have a class together and I have made more of an effort to do my homework (or, you know, not do it) in the living room. I also have more time to spend, having left my second job due to sanity issues (his).

I don’t have to go to Savannah this Wed-Thurs, due to the fact that attempting to sing makes my throat seize up, and no one wants that in a concert.

The weather is nice and chilly even if it is cloudy, and I love the wind on my face.

Monetarily, I am lucky/fortunate that I could save up some money so I don’t have to go into debt or not pay my bills in order to make ends meet.

They haven’t rejected me! 😀

Even though I gained 3.5 pounds, I am convinced that some of it is mucus, and I will be back on track to lose 50 pounds before this coming December!

So there.

Butternut Squash…Fries?

If you haven’t heard, or seen, Atlanta is covered in about six inches of snow, and perhaps another half inch of ice. Observe

Obligatory Agnes Snow Picture

Since I really couldn’t go anywhere (not like I was going to…), I decided to try another new recipe. The butternut squash french fries.

I was particularly eager to try this out, because I love french fries.  Like, way too much. As part of the Paleo-diet, I can’t have them anymore, so I was looking for a substitute.

What you need:

1 med butternut squash.
1/8 tablespoon of salt (or, you know, more…)

The biggest challenge of this recipe is the cutting. Butternut squash is… well… hard. Firm. Ah…  difficult to cut up.

 

Yes, that is a de-boner.

I swear to the gods that this recipe should have negative calories, because that squash is so hard to cut! Either way, you’ve got to split it open and get out the seeds:

 

I triumphed in the first round…

and then you have to peel it. And then you have to cut it up into “fry-shaped chunks.”

The question that I am still wondering, even after having succeeded in making this recipe, is how the hell do you cut something ROUND up into fry-shaped chunks?

Anyway, you bake for 40 minutes or longer, depending on the thickness, and they come out as such:

 

The Finished Product

This dish is really GREAT… if you like sweet potato fries. To my admittedly untrained tongue, these taste exactly like sweet potato fries.

The only trouble is, I don’t really like sweet potato fries.

So I’m putting this recipe in the “fail” list, and I have half of a butternut squash to figure out what to do with sometime this month. I may consider making it for my birthday party if there are folks who like sweet potato fries.

I ate a small handful of these, finished off the last of the easy chicken and basil, and had a pork chop for dinner. No other veggies today, unfortunately. That will have to change tomorrow when I start making the soups. 🙂

Also, I am almost out of fruit…I really should have realized since fruits, veggies, and meat were all I was going to be eating, I would need to stock more of them. I am not sure what I am going to do. I don’t really have the money to go back to the grocery store, and I am afraid that if I run out of fruits, I will turn to the tub of popcorn for a snack when I get hungry.

I must be strong!