The Healthy Eating Trap

AnxietyLately some of my food anxiety has been coming back.  It’s the perils of seeing results really quickly that when those instant changes all take place, you’re left with a much slower burn making you think you’re not doing the right things anymore.  You question that avocado because you’ve read it has a lot of fat.  You question the Quinoa because of the carbs.  Suddenly if you eat anything but a raw veggie you think you’ve failed and that meal wasn’t good enough for you.  Without thinking, you’ve dropped right back into deprivation and cravings.

To me, it seems to happen around two-three weeks.  The first week I feel amazing, the second I start to see results!  But heading into that third week I waver on my goals and give way to food obsession.  This is when the cravings come back strong enough that you can fall off the band wagon and down a whole bag of chips or split an entire extra cheese pizza with… yourself.  This is the time to stop and re-evaluate.

What were my goals when I started this?  They were all about feeling good and getting healthy.  After two days of eating vegan I felt so good that I was instantly committed to feeling that way for the rest of my life!  What I’m suddenly obsessing about right now is losing weight.  We all want to look good.  Lately I’ve seen some great changes in myself.  My cheekbones have come out, my collar bones show, my waist is shrinking and my pants are loose.  My ‘being healthy’ goal morphed into a ‘get into a smaller size’ goal.  But getting healthy was taking care of the weight on it’s own.  I focused on feeling great every single day, and the weight was naturally falling away.  So why am I focusing on it now?  And when can I ever justify Quinoa being the enemy?

I took a break from it today.  I showered but didn’t look in the mirror or try on clothes that haven’t fit in awhile.  Instead I made my morning green smoothie, trying a slightly different recipe to taste test.  This one has kiwi in it.  Normally I stick to pure veggies.  I liked it.  It made it a little sweet and sour.  It’s a sunny day so I picked up my camera and went outside, lunch already planned.  I made extra vegan burgers last night.  I’ll pair it with a mango spinach salad.  I already have all the ingredients for a healthy tasty dinner.  Potato wedge pizzas.  It’s like making potato skins only you stuff them with tomatoes, basil, peppers and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.  I can even make them with sweet potatoes if I want.  I have both.  If I need a snack I have fruit.

Now that my food is set for the day, I’m sitting down to really think about things.  My meals today are all vegan, all plant based and all delicious.  But most important, they’re all made to make me feel my very best.  The green smoothie speaks for itself.  With Chia seeds and GF oats, it keeps my full and satisfied.  The vegan  burgers I made have quinoa, yam and chickpeas.  Lots of protein and good veggies.  Dinner is more veggies.  I can really eat as much of these meals as I want and there won’t be enough unhealthy carbs to make me gain weight.  The nutrients involved are going to nourish me so my body works ten times as well as usual.  If I were starting a new diet, this would be an epically successful day.  Only good fast, no meats, lots of veggies and protein.  But part of my brain looks at it and thinks ‘too many carbs!’.  I think my brain might be insane.

What are the things that are important to me besides weight?

Diabetes.  I’ve always had this worry in the back of my head that I’m doomed for diabetes.  Years of candy binging and high white carb living are sure to take their tole.  I even suffered through shaky hunger pains and fluctuating moods due to sugar.  My current diet seems to have cleared all of that up.  Case in point, sitting here writing.  It’s getting close to lunch and my stomach is growling.  I’m thinking of my next meal excited, but I don’t feel hangry or shaky.  I feel… fine, just a little hungry. I’m hydrated and don’t feel thirsty, I don’t get up in the middle of the night to pee and I’ve stopped craving sugar.

Energy.  I’ve always had trouble with energy.  I dip and flow, and my mornings are groggy and barely intelligible.  This morning (on a holiday) I woke up before my alarm, got up, showered, had a smoothie and stretched before I even realized it was early.  It didn’t occur to me to check the time because I wasn’t interested in ‘just ten more minutes’.  I know that after my lunch of veggies that my afternoon is going to feel just like a feel now, up and awake.

Morning BM’s.  No one likes to talk about going to the bathroom, but it’s important.  A normal functioning body gets rid of waste.  Even as a baby I had trouble with this.  I simply just didn’t go very often.  My mom took me to the doctor who said ‘sometimes a persons regular isn’t the same as everything else’.  Through my teens and early twenties I struggled, always counting how many days it had been and worrying that I was too backed up.  I tried to take extra fibre, but it was hard to maintain.  I tried to drink more water, but I’ve never stuck too it.  For the first time in my life (well second time, it happened for a month a few years ago when I went Gluten Free) I’m an every morning easy goer.  I get up and go to the washroom, and then I don’t think about it for the rest of the day.  I feel lighter and less… toxic I guess is the right word.  I just feel cleaner.

Anxiety.  A big reason why I wanted to get my health under control is because I’m tired of stress and anxiety.  I used to wake up in the morning and worry about the day.  I’d get ready in the morning and feel like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do everything that needed to be done.  Or maybe I was going to miss something.  That anxiety wouldn’t go away until I was sitting at my desk with a bunch of stuff already done.  But then it would re-emerge mid afternoon because I hadn’t booked anything yet, or maybe I didn’t have enough auditions.  Now none of that seems to happen.  After a good nights sleep I wake up feeling good and ready, then I get to work and I know I can get through everything as long as I focus.  I can get to the afternoon and if nothing good has happened I will seek out even more and push harder.

Those are four things that matter a lot to me.  If you look at the list and add weight, that means in less than three weeks I’ve accomplished four out of five.  And I’m stressed about one??  It really puts it into perspective.  A little while ago I blogged about not realizing what I’ve accomplished.  I had this same conversation two days ago with my best friend.  What was your goal last year?  Did you accomplish any of them?  If the answer is yes, why do you feel like a failure?  My goals were to have a great apartment, love my job and live the lifestyle I chose.  Today I have an amazing apartment, I love my job and my lifestyle is whatever I make it.  I’ve added wanting to be healthy to this.  In the last year I’ve been incredibly successful. I should feel good about it, not stressed about what I’ve yet to accomplish.

Writing this has helped re-set my mind.  The weight will fall.  I wanted to eat mostly vegan for a month before adding in exercise because that’s what it takes to start new habits.  Once I reach the four week mark, then I’m going to really look at exercise.  That is my goal.  I’m being incredibly successful at that goal right now.  I’ve been hiking with friends and biking for my errands, so by the time I add in exercise I’ll already have a jump on it.  The weight will take care of itself.  It shouldn’t be a focus until week eight.  That’s my goal.  After two months I will have healthy eating habits and healthy exercise habits.  Then I go focus on my weight.  I bet you anything that by that time, the weight won’t be an issue anymore.

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