How I started getting over my food issues, by getting over myself...

I've always been an all or nothing kind of gal, especially when it comes to my eating habits.  It seems as though I either do REALLY well with nutrition, or I fall completely off the wagon and go balls-to-the-wall crazy on some carbs with a side of Moscato.  My brain tells me logically that not only are my weight loss goals important and dependent on eating healthy,  but my body actually FEELS better when it's not running on Ben & Jerry's and tortilla chips.  For real.

I understand it on an intellectual level, so what do I do when I decide I am going to get back on track?  I resign myself to eat nothing but 100% clean and healthy foods with no extra sugar and no carbs after noon and not too many starchy veggies and no legumes or corn or grains or creamer in my coffee and not too much fruit and DEFINITELY no juice or treats or anything like that, and omigod, do you know how many carbs are in this carrot???  I could go on...

I realized I had a problem with this after a recent mini-binge that involved pizza and chocolate for approximately 3 full days.  Yes, 3 days.  My husband suggested we order out, I agreed because I was tired and didn't feel like cooking, and wham - I was triggered, and I started to slide.  One meal of pizza led to leftovers and carb withdrawal and just generally eating whatever felt right at the moment.  A common problem that a lot of us have is that we think that if we can't eat perfectly, we might as well just give it up for today, and get back at it tomorrow.  We slip up and think, fresh start on Monday!  Now where did I put those cookies?  And the terrible double whammy?  The fact that you then feel so crappy about what you just did that you indulge in some comfort food.  Why not, right?  Poor me, I just have no willpower!  Well, that's not really accurate...

What really happens is that, willpower aside, you continue to slip up because food now has a hold on you.  Physiologically, that can be hard to overcome.  Once you've gone "all or nothing" and really started to treat your body like a garbage can for three days, it's hard to come back because your body is now in a state of craving carbs and sugar.  It's a proven phenomenon.  It's not in your head.  (Well, actually it IS in your head, but it's not something you can easily control.)    The solution is to pull yourself up and basically start detoxing again, start to fill your body with good things so there is less room for the bad - and that is another post in itself!

So once you are back on track, how do you make sure you don't get caught in the downward spiral again?  This is the part where I get over myself.  I finally accepted the fact that I am not going to be able to nail every macro every single day.  I am not going to be able to eliminate sugar completely from my diet.  I am not going to be able to forgo a piece of fruit as a snack in the evening because it has a few too many carbs.  The "rules" that I set up for myself have to be able to bend sometimes for my own sanity.  I CAN say that I eat clean and not follow it to the letter 100% of the time.  Saying no to refined sugars, that I can do.  I can limit my dairy consumption to a little grass-fed organic cheese each week.  I can avoid gluten like the plague, especially pasta because it makes me look preggers.  I can handle the big stuff, but I have to learn how to not beat myself up over having a little too much homemade trail mix.  For goodness sake, when did I become so obsessed that I get down on myself over dried fruit?!

Trying to stick to rigid guidelines every single day with no leeway is a recipe for disaster for an all or nothing person.  Tell me I've made a bad choice and in my mind, I have failed for the day!  So it's critical that I ease up a bit and realize that I am still eating healthy, I am still making progress, and one bad day is not going to ruin things.  What good is being hardcore strict when one bad choice sends you spiraling out of control?  I have to find my happy medium, so that my lifestyle MORE than makes up for a little splurge now and then - so I know that my "worth it" treat is just a blip on the radar of a week of awesome choices.  It's a work in progress, but I know I'll get there!