I track all my food daily on the MyFitnessPal app, if you’re trying to lose weight I would highly recommend using this app and getting a food scale. It helps get precise information that you can use to evaluate your diet and the patterns in your eating habits.
Using MyFitnessPal has helped me identify the ways that my nutrition was not working for me and my goals. It also helps keep me accountable in a very important way. One of my biggest set backs when I first got started was not eating enough, I tried to get results quickly and that’s not how long term weight loss works! Eventually I had a food relapse and gained back the weight I lost. I have always struggled with my relationship to food, there’s a lot of childhood trauma surrounding that relationship. I can sincerely say that after getting into AA, I realized that my first addiction was food and I engaged in addictive behaviors because of it.
I was shamed a lot as a child for eating more than I should’ve been, so in my preteen and teen years I developed an eating in front of people phobia. I hated eating in front of people because I felt like they were judging me for eating cause I was overweight. In my late childhood and preteen years I also attempted to hide my food consumption from my mom. I would eat for comfort, over indulge, and then feel ashamed for over indulging, hide the evidence, and repeat.
I spent a long time pretending like being overweight didn’t bother me, I’d make the jokes before giving the opportunity for other people to make the jokes. My food problems eventually bled into one of my romantic relationships. Her and I ate ALOT together… We also did not engaged in a lot of physical activity which led to us both gaining ALOT of weight. This relationship was abusive as well and the dynamic of power was very blatant between us. That same dynamic eventually merged with our unhealthy food consumption and we’d both utilize our being overweight as a way to control the other. We’d say cruel things that made us feel like being overweight would make other people not love us, if we ever chose to break up.
“I’m making you fat so can’t ever leave me. Cause no ones gonna love you if you’re fat.”
This was one of the many ways we’d hurt each other, eventually it ended. Which I used as an excuse to do drugs and lose a ton of weight super fast. The body shame was always present though.
In sobriety, I was able to start a journey that was based on my health rather than my appearance. My goal setting is completely different than it would be if it was just appearance based and I have learned to change my nutrition in healthy sustainable ways. Small changes, progressively over the span of almost a year. I’m not obsessive or restrictive. I eat what I want, pretty much when I want. I just cook 95% of the time. I have learned to eat for fuel and not for pleasure, which has been one the most crucial mental turning points in my fitness journey. There are days where I’ll definitely eat emotionally but I don’t destroy myself over it. I pick up my healthy eating the very next meal. I also don’t punish myself for doing that by trying to “work it off.” Doing that can be so detrimental for somebody that is trying to change their lifestyle because it conditions the brain to believe exercise is a punishment for bad behavior.
Generally speaking I try to mentally divide my plates into 40% green veggies, 40% protein, 20% starchy veggies. That’s for meals. My general daily eating percentage, I try to hit 30% carbs 30% fats 40% proteins. Right now I’m aiming for 2150cals a day, which is actually kind of hard to hit when you’re eating Whole Foods. I also have learned to treat myself in healthy ways. I make myself “ice cream” with frozen bananas and frozen berries with non fat plain Greek yogurt and a splash of unsweetened almond milk. This helps when I’m having cravings for sweets.
I can definitely say that eating healthy has impacted every single aspect of my life. I crave differently now, I don’t ever crave fast food or soda, I don’t crave juice. I don’t really “crave” food anymore. I still have a wicked sweet tooth but it’s not something that drives me to engorge myself with chocolate and cake all the time or at all. Engorging actually isn’t really a problem for me anymore. I also have found that since I’ve cut out processed sugars my anxiety is so much more manageable. I never realized how important nutrition was to every aspect of health.
That being said, when I looked at MyFitnessPal and saw that I was 1,200 calories short after eating three meals, I actually like panicked and tried to eat more to at least hit the minimum amount I’m supposed to eat. That was a mistake and I’m actually ending the day 100 cals over because I wasn’t being mindful as I was eating. That’s okay, I went over today but most days I’m on target. Tomorrow will be a better day! That’s just a mental note that next time I have to be mindful when I am trying to get to my daily goal.
What really sent my calories over by that much was the cupcake I ate at the AA meeting thinking it was only gonna be like 300 cals. Turns out it was 510 cals, which is a decent sized meal usually for me. That was frustrating to see when I logged it because the cupcake didn’t have any nutritional info on the package. I don’t regret the cupcake but now I know that I’m not willing to eat anything without knowing the nutrition facts first.
Just like everything else my fitness journey is a process, a learning experience, a dynamic relationship with my physical self. I am here for it and I am learning something everyday from it.