The answer: you don’t! In all seriousness though, how can you overcome food temptation when all you can think about is that jar full of cookies at home?
Food Makes Me Feel _______
I want you to take a second and think about your relationship with food. How does food make you feel? Happy? Content? Guilty? Lethargic? Imagine yourself eating a burger and fries. Are you enjoying the delicious juicy patty and the crunchy toasted bun as ketchup and secret sauce drips down the side of your chin? Now think about how you feel once you finish the meal. Do you feel satisfied, content, and pleasant or do you fall more along the lines of sluggish, guilty, and gross?
My biggest breakthrough with overcoming food temptation was imagining how I would feel after I ate something. I was the girl who would buy a box of Mike and Ikes, and I would finish the entire box in one sitting. You may be thinking, that’s a lot of sugar but not THAT much. Well what if I told you in addition to that box of Mike and Ikes, I also had an entire box of Junior Mints because I couldn’t decide if I wanted fruity or chocolaty candy, so I bought and consumed BOTH?? I would feel SO sick after eating the two boxes of candy that I couldn’t even eat regular food.
Another time, I was house sitting for a family and they had a brand new container of red velvet cookies on the counter. I figured I would try one, and oh my goodness gracious it was the best cookie I had ever tasted in my entire life!! Within two days I had finished the 16-count container of cookies. I had to go to the store to buy the family a new container of cookies!!! I was undoubtedly addicted to sugar.
You may not have an insane sweet tooth like me, but maybe you like savory foods like potato chips, trail mix, onion rings, French fries, and pizza. Fortunately, all of these foods can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, in moderation. Now what in the world does moderation mean? It basically means sometimes but not always. Sometimes for dinner you can stop by Burger King on the way home, but not always. Sometimes you should have peanut butter, but not always. The moderation concept applies to nutrient dense foods too!
You might say I need to know how EXACTLY many times I can eat a burger or fried foods or candy each week. That is a beautiful question that comes with a freeing response: As many times as you want!
You’re thinking there’s gotta be a catch! I can eat whatever I want whenever I want? I am here to tell you yes, that is what is considered food freedom! So how are you expected to lose weight and be healthy if you’re eating fast food everyday?
Now, I never said that. Let’s go back to the idea of imagining how you will feel after you eat that burger and fries. Do you always feel the same way after eating a meal similar to that? How about a meal with lots of veggies and lean protein like chicken or fish? Do you feel the same as when you eat a fast food meal?
My eating habits did not change until I realized how often I felt like total crap after I ate certain things. I would enjoy McDonald’s chicken nuggets while in the moment, but afterwards, I felt sick to my stomach, and I always woke up in the morning with obnoxious hunger pangs. I ate a box of candy and shortly after, I felt like throwing up the entire box.
I started focusing on my body and taking note of how it felt after I ate. I would mentally note if I felt uncomfortably full or if I felt content with my food choice. I started to notice if I felt hungry shortly after eating a meal or if I would stay full for hours.
Do you notice things like that about your food and the way it makes you feel? Do you ask yourself, “How am I going to feel after eating this?” If the answer is not great, then why would you choose to willingly make yourself feel bad? The more you begin to realize how food makes you feel, the more likely you will make healthier choices. Instead of opting for a meal lower in nutrients, you may be more inclined to choose a meal high in nutrients.
If your answer is, “Well I don’t have time to make healthy food at home, or I don’t have the money to buy the expensive healthy foods at the store or at restaurants.” I am here to tell you, you do not need time or a lot of money to make healthier choices for your body. I was a college student living paycheck to paycheck, and I found ways to choose foods that left my body feeling content and satisfied and healthy after eating. For more about living healthy on a budget, read my blog post titled: No Money, No Problem: Healthy Living on a Budget.
Food for the Soul
So I return to my question of, why reach for the carrots when I want to reach for the cookies? The answer: because you deserve to FEEL GOOD every single day. I can tell you from experience that even though I enjoy cookies, and think they are God’s greatest gift to earth, I realize that when I snack on carrots or other nutrient dense, vitamin rich foods, my body feels so much more refreshed and recharged and responsive. Plus you can get creative with it and pair your favorite veggies with peanut butter, low fat ranch, and hummus for a fun and healthy snack.
I eat cookies in moderation because I enjoy them and I am free to eat what I want whenever I want. I understand that vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grain carbohydrates offer my body more of what it NEEDS like fiber, water, protein, vitamins, and lasting energy instead of sugar and momentary satisfaction.
We are not here to diet, my friends. We are here to learn how to make choices that are best for our bodies so that they can perform and function the best they possibly can so we can all live happier, healthier, more confident lives.
Think about how food makes you feel today. Ask yourself how you will feel if you consume that burger or salad or cookie or whatever it may be. If you cannot say it will make you feel content, then choose something else. Change your OH MY, to I’ll try.