How I built a Healthy Relationship with Food

Growing up I prided myself on always being “small” my friends and others around me would often make comments “you’re so tiny” etc. I credited this to my excellent genes. Then around my senior year of high school, after I quit lacrosse I slowly started to notice some of my clothes didn’t fit super well. My jeans started to feel a bit uncomfortable and my face didn’t look as cute in pictures anymore, in fact it became hard to find a picture that I felt I looked good in. Still, I was in relatively good shape and attractive I just told myself I had a more “voluptuous and curvy” shape. I went to college and developed what I call “Skinny-Girl” syndrome. This is where you feel you are immune to not ever gaining weight because of your fantastic genes and so called “high-metabolism” I had ice-cream from the BYU creamy almost every day. I would have multiple snacks during the day and my regular exercise turned, well not-so-regular. All of the sudden this “amazing-genes girl” gained 20 pounds (maybe even more) my freshman year of college. I felt like I had to put on so much make-up and always do my hair to feel attractive. I would wear leggings because they were more “comfortable” (no other pants fit well) and would feel self-conscious going anywhere. I started to have this dooming worry that I was just going to keep getting heavier and heavier the rest of my life. Does it sound familiar to any of you?

Thankfully with my college education – Bachelors in Exercise Science. I learned somethings that helped me implement habits into my life that instead of steadily gaining weight I steadily lost weight and feel great about myself. I didn’t have to do a crazy diet, or even exert much self-control. I just noticed my habits and changed my surroundings to cut out bad habits and create good ones. Here is a list of my bad habits and how I changed them. (Your list would be different depending on your habits)

1) SNACKING:

  • I make menu plans. If I know what Im having for dinner I don’t snack as much during the day.
  • I have healthy snacks that I like easily available and I have unhealthy snacks that I love not in my house. When I do have them in my house I only have one available at a time (cookies, or ice cream not both)
  • I also make half-batches of anything sweet, so if I loose self control its not as big of a deal.

2) LARGE PORTION SIZES

  • I look at labels. I like to look at the serving size and the calories. It helped me get a better idea of how many cookies where really worth it to me. or how much ice cream, etc. Also you will be surprised what people think is a serving of things like Ice cream, Oreos, cookies. If you just look at the calories you wont get the whole picture. Spoiler alert- 4 servings in a pint of Ben and Jerrys.
  • Use smaller dishes. Its proved that the shape and size of your dishes affects how much you eat! So I use smaller plates at dinner time, smaller bowls for cereal, big deep bowls for salad, and tiny dishes for dessert. Helps me eat less but I still feel like Im eating a lot.

3) OVER-EATING AT RESTAURANTS

  • I will admit its super hard not to eat too much at a restaurant but I have definitely learned to reduce from feeling super stuffed and bad about myself to feeling good and still a bit indulged.
  • I don’t get everything. I choose one indulgence, occasionally two. Indulgences include: fries, appetizers, desserts, milkshakes, fried entrees, fountain drinks.
  • Using the word “want” instead of “deserve”. Deserve is a terrible word that people only use when wanting to justify bad decisions. I “deserve” a new car, I “deserve” clothes, I “deserve” a pint of double-chocolate blubber butt Ice Cream. When I said want it helps me stay accountable. I am making the decision.
  • I put my napkin over my bread/ breadsticks/chips when Im done eating them. This sounds dumb but it really works. If its harder to see its easier to say no. Before I did this I would tell myself that I didn’t want more and I wanted to wait for the food to come, but if it was right there I would always eat more.
  • Ask for a to-go box early in the meal if you feel you wont eat everything.

4) MY SURROUNDINGS

  • I don’t keep food on the counter unless its fruit
  • I have a blender on the counter to remind myself of a delicious healthy smoothie I can make.
  • I put homemade desserts in aluminum foil (can’t see through aluminum)
  • I don’t eat anywhere but the table, unless its in a very small dish.
  • I try not to eat while I’m watching T.V. – causes mindless eating.

These changes that I have made have given me a healthy relationship with food. I don’t feel deprived- I feel I always get enough food and have treats often enough. I don’t feel guilty- I don’t care if I eat 7 cookies in a day because I don’t make cookies that often and when I do make cookies they are usually the only treat I have in my apartment. I made small changes that I felt that I could make without feeling as though I was restricting myself. Its all about balance! The changes I made work for me. If you too feel you are either always feeling deprived from dieting or guilty about over-eating. I urge you to find the small changes you can make that will make your days feel lighter and brighter! Perhaps it will make you feel lighter and brighter too:)

 

-Sarah Williams

 

Culprit and the Cure: by Steven Aldana. Tells us what to eat

Mindless Eating: by Brian Wainsinck. Shows Why, and How we Mindless Eat

Slim By Design: by Brian Wainsnick. Gives tips for your home, restaurant, work, and school of how to mindless eat less.

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