For the better part of my adult life, I was a Monday through Thursday calorie-counter. Once Friday hit, I’d loosen my belt juuuust a little…and then a little more, and then…by Sunday night, I’d find myself sitting on my couch in baggy sweats staring at the bottom of yet another empty pint of ice cream declaring, “I’m going to be good on Monday!” For me, this cycle was normal. In fact, at the time I assumed that everyone ate their body weight in junk food on Sunday night!
When I diagnosed myself as an emotional eater last year, a sense of self-awareness came over me. I have always prided myself as being an optimistic, resilient person, but I realized that when it came to food, I was quite resentful and angry. Why can’t I just eat a freakin’ cupcake and not have to think about it?! How can she polish off a burger and fries and stay so skinny? (Sound familiar?) Simply put, I was pissed off that making consistently healthy choices always seemed like such a chore.
But then, I decided to take a non-combative approach and accept the process of trying to figure out how to eat healthily and mindfully without being super-restrictive, and it slowly started getting easier. I figured, I’m always going to be thinking about food in some fashion, so why not use that energy in a positive, constructive way? For instance, instead of thinking, “Ugh, I do NOT want a salad for lunch today,” I’d tell myself, “Hmm…OK…so I need to get some vegetables in at lunch—how can I make my salad more appealing?” And then I’d add walnuts, apple slices, hummus, feta cheese and other toppings I enjoy. But by golly, if dinnertime rolls around and you are still thinking about the quesadillas you really wanted to eat at lunch—have them! (Just pretty please don’t forget to incorporate veggies to the meal.)
I also think it’s important to note that I stopped resigning myself to the idea that I wasn’t meant to be anything different than what I currently was. I somehow identified with a girl who just couldn’t pass on fries, or say no to a second (or third!) glass of wine—or didn’t end every meal with something sweet. And I certainly couldn’t identify with the girl who—gasp—ate healthy on the weekend! But that wasn’t really me. At least, it wasn’t who I wanted to be.
So think about it: Who do you want to be? And how will you get there? Does your attitude need a little tweaking?
– ELLEN COLLIS
Ellen Collis is a published magazine writer and Health Coach in NYC, who is currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free health consultation to discuss how she can assist you with your nutrition and lifestyle goals. She would love nothing more than to help you have more energy, feel fabulous in your own skin and live a healthy life that doesn’t require giving up your favorite foods.