Cravings, Binging, Restricting, Overeating- Why ? Why don’t we just eat when we are hungry?

Finding a Balance with Food
For me I tend to see nutrition on a completely black and white spectrum.  On one end I see the only possibility to be skinny, lean, and a good role model for my clients as being someone who eats perfect and clean and doesn’t indulge. No dining out, denying social occasions associated with food, not having a single piece of junk for months and months.  Distracting myself from eating, but slowly going crazy with desire for sweets, chocolate, and chips.  Stressed and anxious overall because of feeling restricted, but justifying weight loss and looking good as reasons to continue.  On the other end of the spectrum I see myself as an indulgent, junk food eater, lack of willpower and self-control, overweight unsuccessful person and personal trainer.  Giving up, dining out, going overboard, eating almond butter by the jar.  Having chocolate chip pancakes three meals a day, ordering pizza, partying.  Eating when stressed, bored, sad, tired, anxious, excited and happy.
Where’s the middle ground?  And why is it so hard for me to find it?  Some people seem to do it so effortlessly.  Where is the line between having snacks and treats in moderation?  It’s funny that I can’t seem to see myself having things in moderation and still looking good.  It’s a process, I am finding balance.

So how do we find a balance between the emotional, physical, and nutritional components of food?  For me I am finding it comes down to a few key factors:

1)   Giving my body what it needs first, then what it wants.  I find when I am properly nourished with enough fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals (including taking the proper supplements for my body)- then I don’t crave/want other foods.
2)   Giving my life what it wants!  My biggest reasons for eating are bored, lack of purpose, anxiety, and loneliness.  So my spending my time doing things I WANT (rather than have) to be doing, by staying focused on my vision and goals, by expressing any and all emotions, and by connecting and having fun with friends I know my temptations to eat are less! Get in tune with my emotional reasons for eating. I have a background of some pretty significant emotional eating issues.  I am not going to go into them in this post, but since working with a wonderful holistic nutritionist I am starting to discover the balance in nutrition in life.  Learning when to have a chocolate chip cookie and when to recognize that the cookie is just a vice to either suppress some emotion that’s coming up, or deal with anxiety.  The more I learn about the reasons why I eat (beside fueling the body) the more in tune I am with my decisions and the closer I come to finding balance with food.  I have heard of some amazing coaches and counselors that work with techniques to teach people to deal with emotions other than with food, and I look forward to continue to learn about them to help my clients.
3)   Finding a way to cook delicious yummy foods in a way that I don’t feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and bored.  Making time to go to the grocery store regularly.  Make cooking enjoyable by playing music, listening to a podcast (Outlaws of Health!!!), or an audiobook.
4)   Physical Aspects of Eating.  There are two parts to this.  Firstly for me, there is something about chewing, and the motion of eating that is habitual and comforting, and something I crave every few hours.  Sometimes I recognize eating as a form of procrastination.  On the other hand there is also something about an over stuffed bloated uncomfortable fullness that I used to desire and achieve by wayyy overeating.  Strange, I know.  So just recognize I might be having a chewing desire, or a desire to feel full and spend some time figuring out where in the heck that comes from!
5)   Stop taking things so personally and seriously!  If I eat a few too many cookies, so what.  It doesn’t mean I am an awful person with no willpower.  It means literally I ate one too many cookies, I don’t do it often, I enjoyed them, end of story.
I am sure to some people this blog might make sense, to others this is just one big ramble.  What I want to get out of this blog is the concept of enjoying food and life while living an optimally healthy life.  We aren’t perfect, and shouldn’t strive to be.  For me I use a lot of tools.  I work a holistic nutritionist, a lot of alternative medicine, a life coach, and have taken a series of self awareness seminars.  I feel as thought the more work I do on myself the more education, advice and coaching I can provide for my clients. 
 

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