Now a days, when I think of healthy eating, I think of mental health, as much as physical health. For example, is an apple healthier than a doughnut? Not always. Actually, if you ask my dad, he would say both are equally unhealthy, but that is a whole different story... If I am in a new city that happens to sell the world's best, melt in your mouth, succulent doughnuts, and I am meeting a dear friend there for a catch up meeting, and I like doughnuts, I believe it is much healthier for me to eat a doughnut, or two, while I am there.
To deny myself of eating anything, has not ever proven to be healthy for me. I used to go on diets, and be strict with myself. If someone asked me out to eat, I would say no, because I could only eat what I had set out to eat. I knew I would binge if I went out to eat, and then I would feel guilty. It would spiral into a horrible event of guilt, mental pain, worry, shame, anger, sadness, frustration, and more feelings that are no fun to feel.
Things that have not worked consistently or long term for me:
- Eating healthfully before I got to a party so I would not eat the delicious "unhealthy" food at the party. I often wound up feeling deprived in the end, and I would often go home and eat junk food to make up for the fact that I missed out on all the good "bad for you" food.
- Plenty of exercise. Exercise has always worked great for adding muscle, making me stronger, making my heart healthier, helping me to curb anxiety, but it never worked for me to help my eating issue.
- Prepping my food ahead of time. This did not consistently work, because the first time I was too busy, or too sick, or too emotionally distraught by other real life events that occur, I would go back to just grabbing as I go, and the guilt of not prepping caused me to eat more and feel out of balance.
- Discipline in following a strict diet plan that I disliked. On that note, it is funny how life takes you in directions. I started this blog update yesterday, and today, my husband asked, "Do you ever wake up with this song in your head?" and he started playing Rainy Days and Mondays, by The Carpenters. That got me thinking of Karen Carpenter, and how she died. I LOVED their music as a kid, and I was old enough when she died, to feel connected to her death, due to my own issues with food. Here is a clip from their website. it was during this time that Karen saw a doctor about her weight. From her early years she had been chubby and by seventeen and weighing 145 pounds (too much for her height of five feet, four inches), she felt she had endured it long enough. The Stillman diet was prescribed in which Karen had to drink 8 glasses of water daily, avoid all fatty foods, and take some vitamins.She hated the diet but adopted it rigidly. Meeting Richard and John after their performances at Disneyland, Karen would go on with them to rehearsals. Following these, the group went to Coco’s coffee shop for milk shakes, onion rings, and burgers – food she normally ate voraciously. But she did not sway from her task and lost twenty-five pounds during these six months in 1967 – and stayed at her new weight of around 120 pounds from then until 1973.
I identify with this. I have been on so many diets over the years, and I was faithful to them. I lost weight because I followed each diet to a T, despite hating it.
- Drinking a lot of water. I have been the water queen in my life time. Picture me in a tiara...Wait, you don't know what I look like, picture YOU in a tiara. Drinking water kept me hydrated, and I am sure I am better off for that. I still drink plenty of water, but not because it helps me eat better.
Things that have helped me consistently and long term (past almost 2 1/2 years)
- That is not a super quick bullet kind of thing. BUT, I will tell you that it is possible, despite me thinking it was not. I would not have believed it, until it actually happened for me. AND, my book is not necessarily a "do this and it will happen for you" type of book, but it is a book all about how I did have an eating issue, for 30 years, and how I had depression and anxiety, and about how I undid all of that, and now live a happy and balanced life. It is my story, up until 2 years ago. My story continues, but the book ends when I was 43. Now, at 45, I love eating, and I eat all kinds of food that is "healthy". Sometimes my healthy food is the typical health food kind of thing, organic, etc... and sometimes my healthy is what is normally considered junk food. It all depends on the circumstances.
- I self published my story, here it is. My hope, is to give hope that, it IS possible!!!