Two years ago, I participated in a weight-loss challenge. I had just had my fifth baby and wanted to lose the baby weight as quickly as possible. I worked hard, I was super disciplined, and I won! And then, in the following year, I gained over half of the weight back.
Last year, I wanted to become healthier and just treat my body better. I joined a challenge that focused on practicing and creating healthy habits rather than focusing on weight loss. I hoped that I would maybe lose five pounds, but I really just wanted to take better care of myself. In the following four months, I lost fifteen pounds, and have now kept it off for nearly a year.
I think that my change in focus was a big factor in my results. But I think the other thing that really changed for me, and I believe is HUGELY important, is the way I think about food.
Do you believe it?
During the weight loss challenge, my main focus was to eat less food. I did eat a lot of healthy foods during that time—really, I have eaten a lot of healthy foods throughout my life. (Thanks, Mom!) But mostly, I just knew that if I was going to lose the weight, I had to eat LESS. While this is true, I didn’t really keep track of what I was eating, and my thinking became very focused on what I wasn’t eating, which of course led to feelings of deprivation. As soon as the challenge was over, it was cinnamon rolls for breakfast, plenty of ice cream late at night, and I went on vacation with a big bag of peanut M&Ms (my favorite!) and ate them all.
Fast forward to the healthy habits challenge. This challenge asked me to do something I had never done before: Food Journal. I decided to use an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal. At first, I felt like this was an annoying part of the challenge and a big time burden. But as I stuck with it, I started to find a powerful thing happening. Not with my body, although things were happening there. But IN MY MIND. My thinking about food was changing. Instead of focusing so much on what I wasn’t eating, I was focused on what I was eating. That change in thinking has continued in me for over a year now, and here is what I have learned and believe in regards to FOOD.
- Our Heavenly Father created our bodies and they are amazing machines! He thought of everything, from the incredible workings of the brain, controlling the function of every part of the body, to eyebrows, for merely keeping the sweat out of our eyes! And guess what else He thought of? How to FUEL the machine. I believe He also created the fuel that we need. So as I choose foods, I try to stick to the foods He created for the fueling of our bodies.
- I want to give my body the right amount of fuel. I have been an overeater most of my life. Never in an addictive, binging sort of way, but a regular overeater. (Those who know me can attest to this!) By journaling, I was able to realize how much fuel my body actually needs. Some people are fabulous at intuitive eating, and I hope to be someday as well. But from years of overeating, I had squashed my intuition when it came to fueling my body. I didn’t know what hungry was anymore, and I had stopped listening to my signals for full. Rather than using food as fuel, I had used food to deal with negative emotions, from boredom to frustration to exhaustion. I ate because the food was there—not because I needed it. Learning to simply fill the tank and not overflow it has been revolutionary for me. It has also caused me to learn how to deal with negative emotion rather than feeding it.
- My body is an amazing machine. (I think I already mentioned that.) But as such, I want to give it PREMIUM FUEL. By journaling, I began to realize that some foods may give me some energy (calories), but that’s all. Other foods, however, can give me energy PLUS an amazing bonus of nutrients that my body needs to run at its best. I have found that I want to eat less and less of the empty calorie type of foods, and more of the premium foods that give me so much bang for my buck!
So if you are struggling with your relationship with food, I recommend two things. #1—Get real with yourself by doing some food journaling. Become a conscious eater and realize what exactly you are eating, as well as when and why. And #2—Examine how you think about food. Write it down if that will help. Are your thoughts about food creating good feelings and a healthy relationship with food? Or are you seeing it as the enemy, a horrible temptation to overcome? Choose thoughts that will help you achieve the relationship you want to have with food.
By practicing the habit of food journaling and changing my thoughts around food, I have learned so much, changed so much, and my body LOVES getting premium fuel in appropriate amounts. It has found its ideal weight and performs more efficiently than ever before. It is happy.
Love your body, and your body will love you. ♥