I wanted to talk about one thing that is constantly foiling my attempts at eating healthy and how I combat it and that’s emotional eating. Growing up, every celebration, reward, loss, or happy moment surrounded food. I come from a large Italian family and no matter what holiday it was or what kind of social event was held, there was always tons of super delicious food and we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted and drink as much pop as we wanted any time of the day. So, for me, food equaled happiness. I remember some of my happiest memories were summer picnics full of really fattening food. It took me a really long time to realize that I was using food as a source of comfort and as a reward anytime I had an accomplishment. I began using food as an excuse and it wasn’t until I got control of it, that I was able to lose weight.
I started with weight watchers, two years ago. I lost around 65lbs and I finally learned what eating healthy and having a balanced diet really meant. I measured my food and counted my points religiously. I started being active and I tried all sorts of activities I never thought I could have done…. And then all the sudden I lost motivation. I stopped going to the gym, I stopped eating right, and I went directly back to those habits which had me topping the scale at 300lbs. The weight came back so quickly it was frightening, it felt like one day I woke up and 30 of those pounds were back, but it didn’t happen overnight and I only had one choice and that was get back on the wagon and start over.
This time, instead of concentrating on just eating healthy, I’m really working on controlling my emotional eating and finding a healthy balance in life. Yes, I will always eat cupcakes and ice cream so how can I balance that with healthy choices? That’s the journey I’m on. Here are some of the things that really help me.
- A support system. I have a great set of people who cheer me on and help me stay on track. From my husband, my mom, my coworkers, and my blogging friends, I always have someone to talk to, and they are always there to cheer me on.
- My Blog. Every day I post pictures of the food I ate the previous day. This has REALLY helped me stay on track. When I’m tempted to eat a 19 point piece of chocolate cake from the grocery store I stop and think that I’m going to have to put a picture of that on my blog, and I don’t want to be that person anymore! I also LOVE reading other healthy blogs like TJ’s Test Kitchen and Loser for Life.
- The YMCA. We joined the YMCA almost a year ago and it’s been of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. I was one of those people who didn’t want to join a gym, and I didn’t want people to see the fat girl working out. Well, I quickly got over that when I realized, nobody cared. I joined classes like Jammin’ Cardio and Cardio Funk. I started walking on the indoor track and even started jogging. It continues to kick my butt, but now I never want to miss an exercise class because I really ENJOY it. It’s fun and that’s what keeps me going back.
- Cupcakes. I’ve learned that I won’t stick with a plan if I can’t eat the food I want to eat. I don’t eat diet food. I don’t eat sugar free stuff. I eat real food, just less of it than I used to and I save my splurges for REALLY special occasions not just because I felt like eating cake that day. I still eat cupcakes, just low fat ones I made myself instead of a dozen from the grocery store.
- Don’t give up! Even if you do splurge on something and go over your calories or points, just jump back on the wagon. Eat a salad for dinner if you splurged at lunch, but don’t deny yourself the things you really want. Don't look at it like a diet; look at it as a commitment to take care of yourself.