Do you have a favorite Little Debbie snack? Yes, that is ironically funny to me. I love Oatmeal Cream Pies. Second to that is Swiss Cake Rolls. Growing up, my mom was a big fan of equal treatment. Each of the 4 kids had their own Tupperware container (mine was the yellow one; do you remember those Tupperwares from the 80’s?).
Each week my mom would go grocery shopping and buy various prepackaged treats for us, which would be equally divided and placed into our color-coded Tupperware. We had the freedom to eat those desserts (with permission) either slowly by rationing them out OR inhale the whole container at once; but once it was empty, there was no refill until her next trip to the store. Fair enough, right?
Let me pause and say I love my mom. And she taught us early to eat a lot of protein and live on an overall healthy eating plan.
But the sugary pattern became ingrained early for me. I remember delighting in my Oreos as a little girl; shoot, they still are delightful. And we were the “cool house” when my friends came over as we had a plethora of junky cereals to enjoy.
As I became an adult on my own, I lived on a diet of Fat, Sugar, Starch. I didn’t really drink water or enjoy vegetables. Yes, I want the bun on my burger. Yes, I want 3 bowls of Frosted Mini Wheats….for lunch. Yes, a row of Oreos after dinner makes sense. And all was well in my world. I had no limits because I was not a fat girl. That was my mentality. I was relieved that I needed no restriction.
And then my body revolted against me. My pants were angry with me and saw no reason to slide higher than my knees. The only exercise I needed were squats and lunges….as I played tug of war with my jeans. I’d take a shower then beg those pants to come up, up, up; then I’d stay in a squat to dry my hair and brush my teeth. Are you picturing this with me?
I was so frustrated. How could I have my cake and wear pants too? I decided I should, of course, be so smart and wise and genius and count my calories. I’d gained a lot of weight in about 6 months so my OB/GYN suggested tracking my calories (he also said to ease up on my cookie diet, but I pretended he didn’t dare say that). I found a free online program and was on my way. I decided to reduce my caloric intake to 1,500 calories a day (it sounded like a low enough number to drop some lb’s). I tracked everything I ate and even ate some green foods.
Every night I was still able to have my dessert because it was still under 1,500 calories. This idiotic plan lasted a whole week. Maybe it was actually 5 days. Why? Because tracking calories is tedious. And because I felt restricted (I should insert that I’m the baby of my family and feel the need to never be restricted or told no). It was unfun torture.
Super long story short, my friend Emily gave me a better way to eat. She said I didn’t need to eat less but eat more (my jaw dropped). She said I didn’t have to count calories (my smile widened). She said my pants could fit again (my heart danced).
This was more challenging than I thought. Because I wanted a magic pill, a quick fix. I wanted it to be easy and fast. But what I embarked on was a temporary pain for long-term success; I just didn’t know it yet.
I suffered and struggled and white-knuckled for at least 7 days. I was eating hardboiled eggs (gag) and ground turkey (gross) and more salads than made sense (yuck). My plan had no wiggle room really. It was like a self-inflicted prison for me. I complained and whined and whimpered and cried actual tears. It was like a constant episode of Fear Factor where they eat sheep’s balls. Why am I doing this? Do I hate myself? Is this worth it? Will it even pay off? 12 asparagus spears, are you serious?!
What I learned goes beyond the plate. I loved food. In an unhealthy way. It was gluttony and it was not okay. Food was a friend that I didn’t even know I was consumed by, because I wasn’t a “big girl.” I had myself fooled. Going to restaurants and parties and events were all about the menu for me. Sugar and starch made me happy; vegetables and meat made me angry. I want what I want!!! I had to learn to die to self. That God could get me through this obsession with food that I never realized I had. I am still dying to self. I still struggle with wanting foods that bring that “high” or that comfort. It’s a process, a journey.
That week of torture was worth it. I was refining my body, a machine that God designed to function properly. I couldn’t believe it: I was starting to CRAVE salads and sweet potatoes for crying out loud. I still daydreamed about Doritos, sure, but I knew that would make my pants shrink.
Where are you on your food adventure? Are you lusting after the forbidden? Are you repulsed by boxed macaroni and cheese? Somewhere in between? I want you to be encouraged that change is possible. We can break old habits. The cycle can stop any time we want. Our next meal is our “on track” meal. Our screw-ups are simply bumps in the road toward food freedom. I am no longer in bondage to brownies. I may still ache for them sometimes, but they don’t have as firm a grip. I value myself and my body.
While a part of this is superficial and I don’t want to expand my wardrobe with larger sized clothes, a bigger part is wanting to feel better (feeling sluggish sucks). An even bigger part is wanting to not use junk food to fill voids in my life. I don’t want food to be my anti-depression fix. I don’t want food to undo my boredom. I don’t want food to dry my tears.
Can I help you on your journey, the way Emily did for me? I want to and come abounding with experience and grace. I love helping women realize there IS a way to break free of the body-shaming, addiction to junk foods and guilt over eating. Find out more about my Fit & Fresh nutrition & workout plans or working with me one on one.