Challenge The Food Police
Posted by Paige
Yesterday, a friend asked me how my efforts at Intuitive Eating were going. Honestly, I feel good about my new found awareness of my hunger signals. However, my weight is still fluctuating which sends out mental red flags telling me that I need to get back on a diet – any diet. I have dubbed that annoying inner voice my Fat Critic but you could also call it the Food Police.
As a matter of fact, the the fourth principle of intuitive eating is Challenge The Food Police. If you haven’t read my previous posts about intuitive eating – READ THEM NOW! Just kidding. I have been reviewing the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating – as outlined in the book, “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D.
Challenge The Food Police
Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.
How do you chase the food police away? To find some answers or at least some suggestions, I decided to join the Intuitive Eating Online Community. Their tagline is “Empowering You To Create A Healthy Relationshiop With Food, Mind and Body.” My kind of people! The community is based on the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D. The Intuitive Eating Online Community was created as a safe and nurturing place — free from “diet talk“, “fat talk“, and body bashing. It was also free to join so I did.
What I found was that I am not alone. Everything I have been thinking, feeling and experiencing has been thought, felt and experienced by others before. Everyone has a different method for coping with the food police in your head and in your life. Personally, I like the method mentioned in chapter 8 of the book – “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D.
Self-Awareness: The Ultimate Weapon Against The Food Police
The next time you see yourself eating in a way that feels uncomfortable, unsatisfying, or even out of control, give yourself the gift of remembering what you were thinking just before you took the first bite of food. Examine that thought and challenge it. As you get more adept at the Intuitive Eating process, you’ll be able to catch these food thoughts before they make you feel bad or cause undesirable behavior.
Banish the Food Police that keep you from making peace with food.
By listing to your instinctual signals, you’ll have the opportunity to form a healthy relationship with food.
I have these last two sentences taped above my desk. As I continue to learn more about Intuitive Eating and discover helpful tools and resources like the Intuitive Eating Online Community, I am beginning to understand that slowing down and giving myself time to think about what I am doing rather than racing through life in a reactionary manner is key to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. This is not a simple task but it’s a lot easier knowing that there is a whole community out there doing just what I am doing. I am not in this alone.
Make Peace With Food
Posted by Paige
If you have been reading this blog – and I hope you have been – you know that for the past few weeks I have been reviewing the 10 Principle of Intuitive Eating, as outlined in the book, “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D.
Today I want to write about the third principle which is Make Peace With Food.
Make Peace With Food
Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity that it usually results in Last Supper overeating and overwhelming guilt.
It would be a lie if I said that I had no idea that I was at war with food. There have been times when I have actually uttered the words, “I hate food” when what I really meant was “I hate the food choices I am making and the way these choices are making me feel.” So my question is, how do food and I become friends again?
To find the answers, I asked the experts – friends and family members. They have known food all of their lives. Some have positive relationships with food while others view food as an untrustworthy co-conspirator. Here is what they had to say when asked, “What do you do to make peace with food?”
- “I surround myself with food. I grow a garden, have several fruit trees, have pots of herbs that I grow in my kitchen and I even have a lemon tree in my front room. The sights and smells of fresh food are all around me, constantly. They remind me of how lovely food is” – A.T.
- “I cook. Cooking all of our meals, which includes choosing the ingredients from the store or farmers markets, gives me a closer relationship with my food.” – L.F.
- “I eat only local or regionally raised food. I know where my chicken is raised and by who. I know where my beets are grown and my apple cider is pressed. I think eating local food – including honey – has made my immune system stronger. Knowing where my food comes from gives me a better appreciation for food.” – B.
- “I keep my pantry stocked with bulk foods and I shop for fresh foods each day. When I find myself feeling hungry, it is easier to make good, healthy choices when I surround myself with the foods that I love.” – L.L.
- “When I am really craving a certain food, I go ahead and give myself permission to eat it. It goes against everything I have learned throughout my years of dieting but I find that if I just give in and have that chocolate truffle then I won’t go home and eat an entire bad of chocolate mint cookies instead.” – A.P.
Honor Your Hunger
Posted by Brett
Last week, I wrote about the first principle of intuitive eating as outlined in the book, “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D. which is to Reject The Diet Mentality. This week, I thought I would focus on the second principle – Honor Your Hunger.
The word “hunger” itself seems to have negative connotations especially in the wake of the extremely popular novel and subsequent movie, “The Hunger Games.” I find myself stifling the words, “I’m starving.” I remember being told as a child that I didn’t know what real hunger was and that I should just ask those kids in Ethopia with the distended bellies what starvation felt like. It’s true. I have never felt real starvation but at the same time, I am not sure if I can recognize real hunger either. My brain will often tell me that I am hungry when I am actually tired, bored or sad. How can you honor your hunger if you can’t recognize when you are truly hungry?
2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.
Recently, I began keeping a food journal. Pasted on the inside front cover of my journal is a Hunger/Fullness Scale. This guide, based on the scale featured in the book “Health At Every Size” by Linda Bacon – gives 10 categories of fullness. Using this scale has helped me determine how hungry I truly am and what actions steps I need to take.
- Emergency Hunger
Can’t think straight and feel dizzy. I call this my emergency hunger mode because at this point, I am not feeling good at all. I sometimes feel too tired to even eat. This is when I need a small but filling protein meal that will immediately fulfill my needs. I reach for a protein smoothie made with tofu or a cup of yogurt.
- Immediate Hunger
This stage is characterized by very low energy, irritability and anxiousness. I need food immediately. A quick protein snack like a 1/2 of nuts, a slice of cheese or even a hard-boiled egg helps me to feel stable enough to seek a more balanced meal.
- Hungry Hunger
Energy is getting low and am preoccupied with thoughts about food. It’s time to eat. This is when easy meals like burritos or omelets make good selections because I am much too hungry to focus on planning or preparing an elaborate meal.
- Preparation Hunger
At this point, I haven’t yet started to feel Hungry Hunger so it’s a great time to start planning and preparing a meal.
Feeling good and full of energy.
Feeling full and a little tired.
Feeling heavy and lethargic.
Too full. Am very tired with low energy.
Uncomfortable. Need to lie down.
- About To Explode
Extremely uncomfortable to the point of being almost painful. Feel like you are about to vomit. “Wafer-thin mint?”
Reject The Diet Mentality
Posted by Paige
As you know, I have recently become extremely interested in intuitive eating. Intuitive eating, as defined by Linda Bacon, PhD and author of “Health At Every Size,” is an approach to healthy eating that encourages people to trust their bodies to guide them in making nourishing food choices and attaining or maintaining a natural weight.
It’s not a diet – far from it. As a matter of fact, the first principle of intuitive eating as outlined in the book, “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole, M.S, R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D. is to Reject The Diet Mentality.
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.
Yes, I agree but ………shall I say it? Easier said than done. According to the authors of “Intuitive Eating,” some of us have been dieting for so long that we consistently harbor a diet mentality even when we aren’t dieting. That is to say that when I look at a piece of chocolate cake, I immediately think to myself, “Oh, I can’t have that. Too much fat and too many calories.” Or when I plan to go out to dinner with friends and want to feel free to indulge myself, I end up starving my body before I go by avoiding breakfast and dinner so that I can save all my calories or points for a fabulous feast. By dinner time, I am so hungry that I almost certainly over-indulge and end up feeling uncomfortable about my food choices rather than enjoying the experience. This, my friends, is a dieter’s mentality and personally, I have had enough.
I am ready to take the plunge. This is my declaration of independence from dieting. I have officially quite weight watching, undieting and fat flushing. From this point forward, I am going to work on transforming my dieter’s mentality to a paradigm focused on healthy living. Are you with me?
Eating Personality Types
Posted by Paige
Ever since Dr. Oz posted the question, “What’s Your Eating Personality Type?” on his blog last year, there has been a lot of chatter about this subject. Actually, there has been a lot of talk about this subject for several years now. Multiple books have been written on the topic. As a matter of fact, you can even take an eating personality quiz on Dr. Oz’s site to figure out what your eating personality is if you are not sure. Still scratching your head wondering what exactly is an eating personality type? Depending on who you ask or read, the answer to that question can differ. My favorite definition comes from the authors of “Intuitive Eating” – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They breakdown eating personalities as:
- The Careful Eater
Seems healthy and fit but secretly anguishes over ever mouthful of food and worries about it’s affect on the body.
- The Unconscious Eater
Doesn’t even realize that he or she is eating let along how much is being consumed.
This main category includes sub-categories: chaotic unconscious eater, never refuses food unconscious eater and never wastes food unconscious eater.
- Emotional Unconscious Eater
Eats when experiencing various feelings – sadness, loneliness, anger or even happiness.
Always on a diet.
- Intuitive Eater
Tribole and Resch define the Intuitive Eater as “A person who makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma. Honors hunger, respects fullness, enjoys the pleasure of eating.”
When I took the Dr. Oz Eating Personality Quiz, I landed in the emotional eater category. Not surprising. However, looking at these eating personality definitions makes me want to thoroughly explore intuitive eating.
To Track Or Not To Track
Posted by Paige
Lately, I have been reading a lot about intuitive eating which is an approach to balanced nutrition based on the premise that learning how to recognize your body’s natural hunger signals will help you attain a healthy weight and a healthy relationship with food and your own body. This runs counter to what I have been doing which is keeping track of Weight Watchers points. How have I been doing with that you might ask? Not so great. Yes, I have lost weight because I have learned how to play the numbers game but I haven’t changed my unhealthy eating habits. As a matter of fact, I have been eating a lot more frozen Smart Ones and Lean Cuisine meals because it’s easy to calculate points.
Although, I am intrigued by the idea of intuitive eating, I am not quite ready to try it. I haven’t done enough research to understand how to recognize hunger and full signals. What I did decide to do was stop counting Weight Watchers points to see if I could recognize those signals on my own without worrying about how many points I had for the day. Instead, I am keeping a food journal. What’s the difference between tracking points and writing down everything you eat in a journal? My food journal isn’t just a written account of what I am eating but what I am feeling as well. My goal is to connect the dots between emotional eating and the things that trigger this behavior. Once I have figured out the triggers, I can work on strategies to help keep me from emotional over- eating. My other goal for this journal is to help me plan ahead. I not only write down what I have just eaten but what I plan on eating for the next meal or two. This gives me time to try and balance my meals with the proper amount of protein, carbs, fruits, veggies and dairy. I just began writing my food journal so we will see what happens.
Juicing – Where to Begin
Posted by Brett
It’s one thing to be motivated to juice when you see movies like “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” but it’s another to actually juice on a regular basis. Juicing takes planning. That’s why I have become a devoted fan of Joe Cross’s website [www.rebootwithjoe.com]. It’s not only packed with great advice, it features some really good recipes too which helps me plan ahead.
So far, my favorite juice recipes are:
- Joe’s Famous Mean Green Juice
It’s made from some of my favorite vegetables including cucumber, kale and celery. I even add a carrot or two to give a bit more sweetness.
- Australia Gold
I think of this juice as a spicy lemonade. My family took this juice to a picnic concert this last weekend and everyone loved it.
- Bloody Mary
This is my wife’s favorite juice. It’s great for summer because we can pick most of the ingredients right out of our garden like: tomatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini and basil. My wife adds a couple shakes of hot sauce to spice it up.
By far my greatest discovery on the Reboot With Joe website has been his book, “101 Juice Recipes” Like most guys – at least guys I know – I need a recipe in front of me. I can’t just throw things together like my wife does and have them come out edible. I’m just not built that way. This little recipe book has 101 juice recipes broken down by color – yes, color. There are green, yellow, orange, red and purple juice recipes. He also includes a produce juicing guide that explains how to prepare different kinds of vegetables for juicing.
To summarize, my juicing tips for today are:
- Plan Ahead
- Visit Reboot With Joe for answers to juicing questions.
- Pick-up “101 Juice Recipes” for juicing inspiration.
Drink Your Water!
Posted by Paige
Weight Watchers encourages participants to drink 6-8 (8oz) glasses of water each day. That doesn’t really seem like a lot in theory, especially when the temperatures have climbed into the high 90s, but over the past two weeks, I have found it really difficult to meet that goal. So I queried family and friends about what motivates them to drink water. Here are the ideas they shared with me:
- Get a really cool water bottle. Recommendation: A glass bottle with a silicon sleeve that prevents shattering.
- Infuse your water with frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries or chunks of cantaloupe.
- Make herbal ice tea which is basically water infused with herbs like mint or chamomile.
- Keep a water log. The Weight Watchers Online points system allows you to track your water consumption along with your food points and activities. There are also free apps – like Daily Water and Waterlogged – that help you keep track of how much water you are drinking and remind you when you forget.
- Set the timer on your phone so that an alarm will go off at various times throughout the day to remind you to drink your water.
5 Tips to Help Curb Mindless Eating
Posted by Paige
While at the movies, do you happened to look down and wonder who ate all the popcorn in your giant, family-size tub? Do the nuts and pretzels you put out for holiday parties evaporate before your guests even arrive? And why is it that the potato chips never make it from the bag to the bowl once you’ve opened them up? Hmm, mysterious. Actually, there is a term for this phenomenon. It’s called mindless eating and it just so happens to be one of my personal challenges.
To help me overcome my mindless eating habit, I came up with 5 strategies that make maintaining portion control and choosing healthy snack foods easier.
- Keep healthy food snacks handy.
This Summer I have begun keeping a bowl of fresh fruit like grapes or berries in the refrigerator ready for snacking. I also have cherry tomatoes and snap peas fresh from the from the garden on the kitchen table to make it easier for me and my family to reach for healthy treats.
- Control portions.
I divide snacks into appropriate portions and place them into small containers on our snack shelf. For example, 20 pretzel sticks has a 1 point value for Weight Watchers so when I am done with the container of 20 pretzels, I know exactly how much I ate and how many points I need to count.
- Choose protein-rich snacks.
Eating beans, nuts, tofu, fish, poultry, cheese, peanut butter or eggs in place of less-healthy options like salty, highly processed carbohydrates or sugary drinks and snacks satisfies my hunger cravings and makes me less likely to continue to eat mindlessly. It also improves my levels of triglycerides and protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in my bloodstream. According to my doctor, this may reduce my chances of having a heart attack, stroke or other type of cardiovascular disease.
- Drink more water.
I am sure that you have heard by now how easy it is to confuse dehydration with hunger. We know our body is craving something so we assume it’s the yummy chocolate bar or bag of kettlecorn in the pantry when in reality our body needs water.
- Plan ahead.
When I plan to go to the movies, take long drives, fly on an airplane or engage in any other activity where I find myself distracted or bored, I make sure I have small portions of healthy snacks with me. I know that mindless eating is a spontaneous act but when I can, planning ahead can mean the difference between eating a small container of grapes and carrots as opposed to an entire bag of potato chips – 10 servings.
Weight Watchers Online/Plus
Posted by Paige
One of the tools that Brett, Lennie and I have chosen to help us reach our weight loss goals is Weight Watchers Online/Plus.
My memories of using Weight Watchers are from many years ago when I was freshly out of college. I remember attending the meetings every week and carrying around a little guide book that helped me figure out my calories. I lost weight on the plan but I quit before starting the maintenance portion of the program which for me meant that not only did I eventually gain the weight back, I gained an additional 15lbs. The reason I quit was because I felt tracking my foods and portion sizes was too time consuming and the meeting dates and times were not convenient for me. At the time, I thought losing weight should be quick and easy. I was young.
Weight Watchers Online/Plus is not that program. Sure they still have the weekly meetings which is one of the things that Weight Watchers does really well – create supportive communities – but the program itself has changed alot. They have a points system now that lets you choose the foods you eat. No more skim milk and plain tuna fish. The online platform calculates your food points, exercise points and adjusts your daily target as you lose weight. In other words, it makes staying on the program as easy as possible and it’s convenient.
Drawbacks? I’m not sure yet. It’s still new. I am not keen on having to count points for the rest of my life but if this tool helps me achieve and maintain a healthy weight, then I will keep on counting.