You are sitting at your kitchen table, there is a plate in front of you… Now STOP. It’s time to check in with yourself. Are you hungry? On a scale from 1-5 how hungry are you? When was your last meal? How are you feeling? Don’t be vague, if you feel good, use other feeling words like, happy, excited, curious, relieved. If you feel bad, use describing words like, sad, tired, sick, anxious, angry, scared. Now go back to your hunger scale, and ask yourself if you are hungry because of these feelings, or not hungry because of these feelings.
Now pick up your fork, think about each bite, chew. Taste. Is your food crunchy? Is it salty? Sweet? Wet, dry? How does this food make you feel? Do you feel guilty? At peace? Remember your feelings from before you began your meal, do you feel the same? Better, worse?
Yesterday I was running out the door, I guzzled my coffee, took a shot of Ionix (organic 5 hour energy, basically), grabbed a boiled egg and my water bottle, and ran out the door. We were gone until 5pm and by the time we walked through the door all I wanted was food. At this point I could have eaten anything. It’s a dangerous place for me, or anyone to be in, what do you eat when you feel like you will pass out at any second, you don’t have time to cook, and if you did cook, you would probably be full before it was done because you would be snacking on all of your ingredients anyway. This is kinda naughty, but I’m being honest, I pulled out a bag of flax veggie chips (I have not told you about “girl math” before, but this is a good example, in my brain, at this moment, flax seed and veggie chips counts as eating flax seeds, spinach, and carrots. Even though, I know perfectly well that this is not the case, I did quick girl math in my brain, and rationalized my decision. That is the point of girl math, you know, to rationalize a situation, maybe you are justifying eating those beer battered french fries at happy hour, either you have not eaten all day, or you just REALLY love mustard, and you can’t drink it from the bottle. You have an extra glass of wine before bed because you skipped dessert. You run up and down the stairs a couple times to work off your lunch. It’s all girl math.) and the homemade guacamole (girl math: avacado is healthy fat, and I made it so I know there is no crap in it.) At this moment, as I am pulling a chip from the bag, my 3 year old throws a fit. The combination of starvation, exhaustion, and irritation took over, I replaced the chip, closed the bag and put the guacamole back in the refrigerator. I was done. I had lost interest in my food.
I made a huge mistake, I know better than to let myself get too hungry. When I am hungry, the slightest thing can happen and my mood is shot, I will snap at anyone for almost anything, and I can’t shake it. At this point, food is not an option. I will be sick if I force myself, so I just need to seclude myself, calm down and get over it so I can eat before something else ticks me off.
**An easy way to avoid situations like this: I usually bring a bag of trail mix (raw almonds, raw peanuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips) in my purse, just in case I need a handful, or one of my kids gets cranky, they go nuts over chocolate. Dried fruit is easy, too.**
I know that it’s easy for people to go the other direction. You miss a meal, and the next thing you know, you are binge eating whatever is convenient.
This is why I want to challenge you to take your time with your food. It’s not going anywhere, just sit with yourself for a minute and reflect on your feelings. You may decide that you are not actually hungry at all, you are just bored, or you are sad and this meal will take your mind off of it. You might realize that you don’t want it. Maybe you are trying to change your eating habits, and you know eating fast food, or white bread, or 3 bowls of cereal is not going to help you reach your goals. So many of us will guzzle it down before we think too much. I struggle with that. My situation is a little different, having recovered from an eating disorder, sometimes I will not think about food while I eat, just to get it over with. If you saw me at breakfast, you would hardly know I had eaten, I eat and walk, talk, clean, get dressed, you name it. I do not register breakfast. I do not care for breakfast, I usually feel like I do not have time, I just know that I need it. This is where meal plans come in handy. I know what I am going to eat every morning, it is one of 3 things, either greek yogurt and organic hemp granola with a handful of trail mix (minus chocolate), 2 boiled eggs, or an organic meal replacement shake. those are my options, and it does not take thought. Lunch is similar, I have to REMEMBER to eat, and more often than not, it’s quinoa, black beans and either salsa or guacamole, or a shake. This is another meal I don’t really register because it’s fuel. I am eating out of necessity. Dinner is the tricky one. I can easily skip dinner. It helped when I started making dinner for my fiance and I. I enjoy all of the flavors, and smells, by the time it’s done I usually want to eat it. It can be a problem, sometimes I eat too much because from about 4pm to 9pm life is crazy and I tend to be starving by the time I can make food, but I may lose interest. It’s a fine line.
As you can see, I need to check in with myself, too. Let’s all work on checking in. I think it will make a huge difference, and if anything you will get to know yourself, and learn about your relationship with food, and your willpower.